Brand guidelines

Plain English

For an organisation that promotes English around the world, it is important that we speak and write clearly. We sometimes use lots of unnecessarily complex and flowery language or, even worse, the dreaded ‘management-speak’. Guidance can be found on the intranet to provide staff with:

  • a Plain English charter
  • tips for writing clear English
  • examples of good and bad practice
  • jargon to avoid and alternative words to use
  • email etiquette
  • links to further resources.

But don’t I already write in plain English…?

Research suggests:

  • most people think they do write clearly, although at least 80 per cent of documents in organisations are reported to be badly written and full of poor style faults
  • managers believe the problem is never with their writing style, but with the style of their staff
  • most writers are so close to their jargon and style they cannot see their writing faults
  • the culture of business and government encourages poor writing
  • many people falsely believe the long-winded, complex style of business and government is the expected and agreed style.