What is plain English?

Clear. Readable. Accessible. No jargon. No gobbledygook. No waffle. Professional.


Did you know?

  • 45% of us find official documents difficult to understand
  • 95% of people are in favour of plain English

Many consumers find jargon, terms and conditions, and financial information challenging.  Many of us also hate wordy writing full of business-speak, legal-ese, waffle and buzz words.

What’s the solution? Write in plain English.

Plain English is language that all your readers can understand the first time they read. It isn’t ‘dumbed  down’ though. You can write in plain English and still appear polished and professional.

The opposite of plain English is gobbledygook . . . and no-one wants to read that.

Why use plain English? Research shows that using plain English can save time and money. Read some case studies.

We can train you how to use plain English – or we can do it for you, with a plain English makeover of anything you write.

The definition we use comes from Clarity, the legal journal: ‘A communication is in plain English if its wording, structure, and design are so clear that the intended readers can easily find what they need, understand it and use it.’

The key words are ‘intended readers’. We know plain English isn’t ‘one size fits all’. What’s important is that your writing is suitable for your target audiences.

For example, if you’re writing a pensions brochure, you’ll need to use everyday language and clearly explain unfamiliar terms. But if you’re writing a report on pensions for financial advisors, you can use complex sentences and technical jargon because it will be clear for readers.

If you would like to find out how your organisation can use plain English, get in touch. We’re happy to help.

Want to see some plain English ‘translations’?