is plain language?
the difference between plain language and plain English?
plain language a new thing?
types of documents should be written in plain language?
What is plain language?
Plain language involves making sure that documents
are written in the most direct and clear way so that readers can
easily understand and use the information. It removes jargon and
unnecessary official, legal or bureaucratic wording. It replaces
lengthy, complex sentences with concise ones. It pays attention
to design and layout of documents to make them as accessible as
possible. Plain language is a vital tool for clear communication.
What's the difference between plain language and
Very little. When this concept first came into
being it was commonly referred to as plain English. But English
is just one language among many in countries that have put the principles
of clear communication into practice. For instance, there is a plain
Swedish movement. As an international impetus grew, the term plain
language became more common.
Plain language is an inclusive term. It provides
scope for languages other than English and it also encompasses aspects
of clear communication such as good design and layout of documents.
Is plain language a new thing?
No. Plain language has been advocated and used
for over two decades in Australia and internationally. One of the
first companies in Australia to promote plain language was the NRMA
(one of the largest motoring associations in Australia) who introduced
a plain English car insurance policy in 1976. It got rid of the
old style legalese and turned it into a user-friendly, understandable
document. In 1977, the New South Wales Real Estate Institute produced
a plain English tenancy agreement. In 1986 and 1990, the Law Reform
Commission of Victoria produced two landmark reports on plain legal
language which had significant community impact.
A wide range of Australian and international
organisations have adopted a plain language approach to their communication.
It has been applied to insurance policies, finance agreements, legal
contracts, legislation, public information distributed by government
departments, and forms of all types from credit card applications
to hospital admission forms.
What types of documents should be written in plain
When written in plain language, all types of
written communication stand a much better chance of getting their
message across effectively. These documents are improved through
the use of plain language:
Words for the
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