What jargon do you hate most?
Do you detest ‘touch base’? Or is it ‘blue sky thinking’ that makes you want to scream? A survey by job site Glassdoor found that the most hated jargon phrases included ‘run it up the flagpole’ and ‘game changer’. For me, it’s ‘let’s get our ducks in a row’ – getting ducks in any kind of line sounds like an impossible task!

Why can’t people simply say what they mean? There’s no need to use jargon phrases. It can simply exclude and alienate people who don’t understand them – which is the opposite of good business communication!

Want to become a plain English organisation?
It can be hard to know how to change the writing culture of a whole organisation – but a new book can help. Rewrite, How to overcome daily sabotage of your brand and your profit  provides valuable advice and inspiration on how to improve your customer communications. It also shows how adopting plain English can affect your bottom line and it gives practical solutions for change.  Available at

Irish government urged to use plain English
Almost 5,000 people recently signed a petition asking the government to ensure that all public information is written in plain English. Using plain English for information, applications forms and reports saves everyone time and money.

Sometimes, it seems that government reports are not written for us mere taxpayers to read. After all, who is going to understand these extracts the first time they read them?

  • The assessment considers whether the intervention is likely to move in the positive or negative direction, or is likely to have no effect (i.e. it is neutral).
  • It is also important to remember that the high level assessment contained within this report is just one input to the DTO’s decision making as to which measures to take forward.

Can you write in plain English?
Take a test to see if you can write in plain English… A Singapore newspaper has created an online quiz, after guidelines were issued to local companies who are writing prospectuses for potential investors. Take the quiz

Gobbledygook prize for council
Edinburgh City Council has won a gobbledygook award – for a report using phrases such as “case review workstream”, “case review deliverables” and “work progressing on the re-programming and re-priorisation”. Can jargon and waffle really hide a multitude of sins? Or does it simply highlight the fact that you could be trying to cover something up? Read more

Ever wondered why you use an apostrophe?
Did you know that in old English, the possessive was shown by adding ‘es’ – just like the plural? So the foxes would be plural (3 foxes lived in the den) and also possessive (the foxes den is over there). This could be confusing – so the apostrophe was added, to show possession: the foxes’ den is over there. Find out about apostrophe errors and how to avoid them.