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Gary B. Larson


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Plain English

Your Reader and Purpose

Organization

Clear, Effective Paragraphs

Clear, Simple Sentences

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Testing for Clarity

Other Resources

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Other plain-English resources

For more information about plain English/plain language, concise writing and global English, check out the online and print resources below and Garbl's Concise Writing Guide, which provides simpler alternatives to wordy, verbose, overstated or pompous words and phrases.


U.S. government | Other governments | Other organizations | Print and web

Plain-language programs of U.S. government agencies

U.S. Plain Language Action and Information Network--a government-wide group of federal employees working to improve communications from the government to the public. The group originated with a presidential memorandum on plain language in June 1998.

Federal Plain Language Guidelines--major guidance document of the U.S. Plain Language Action and Information Network to help federal government employees write plain-language documents that readers understand on first reading.

Plain Language: A Handbook for Writers in the U.S. Federal Government, Richard Lauchman (PDF)


Other government websites


Other organizations

  • Plain Language Association InterNational--a volunteer group of plain-language advocates and professionals in public, nonprofit and private organizations. PLAIN's website provides free articles, tutorials and web links about writing, government programs, legal resources, literacy, and other related topics.
  • Plain Train: Plain Language Online Training--hosted by Centre international de lisibilité Inc. for Cheryl Stephens, helpful tips and techniques for improving your communication skills with the use of plain language.
  • Center for Plain Language--a U.S.-based nonprofit membership organization of people in government, academia and business who are dedicated to promoting and supporting the use of plain language in the public and private sectors.
  • Clarity--an international association promoting plain legal language.
  • Plain Language Commission--a private organization in the United Kingdom that offers fee-based services and free articles and guides on writing, readability, jargon, standards of English, legal English and grammar.

Other print and web references

  • The Arguments Against Plain Language Have Been Refuted, Professor Joseph Kimble, Thomas Cooley Law School
  • The Complete Plain Words, Ernest Gowers, revised by Sidney Greenbaum and Janet Whitcut
  • The Dictionary of Concise Writing: More Than 10,000 Alternatives to Wordy Phrases, Robert Hartwell Fiske
  • Edit Yourself: A Manual for Everyone Who Works with Words, Bruce Ross-Larson
  • The Elements of International English Style: A Guide to Writing Correspondence, Reports, Technical Documents and Internet Pages for a Global Audience, Edmond H. Weiss
  • From Plain English to Global English, Rachel McAlpine
  • Global English for Global Business, Rachel McAlpine
  • The Global English Style Guide: Writing Clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market, John R. Kohl
  • Legal Writing in Plain English, Bryan A. Garner, author of Garner's Modern American Usage | Exercises from Legal Writing in Plain English
  • Oxford Guide to Plain English, Martin Cutts, leader of the Plain Language Commission and co-founder of the Plain English Campaign (free guides available). An excellent, easy-to-use book!
  • The Plain English Approach to Business Writing, Edward P. Bailey Jr.
  • Plain English at Work: A Guide to Writing and Speaking, Edward P. Bailey Jr.--includes The Plain English Approach to Business Writing)
  • Plain English Lexicon: A guide to whether your words will be understood (free PDF download), Martin Cutts, Plain Language Commission, United Kingdom
  • Plain Style: Techniques for Simple, Concise, Emphatic Business Writing, Richard Lauchman--author of Plain Language: A Handbook for Writers in the U.S. Federal Government (listed above under Plain-language programs of U.S. government agencies)
  • "Using Microsoft Word's Readability Program" (PDF)--Michigan Bar Journal, January 2009.
  • What is plain language? Cheryl Stephens, Plain Language Wizardry, co-founder of Plain Language Association InterNational
  • Write Tight: How to Keep Your Prose Sharp, Focused and Concise, William Brohaugh
  • Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please (PDF), Professor Joseph Kimble, Thomas Cooley Law School

This page updated Feb. 4, 2020.

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