Plain English campaign news articles

Unreadable academic writing

We’ve recently received a number of emails and tweets about really poor academic writing. There are few meaningful excuses for the kind of writing in question, but several likely reasons behind it.

So why is academic writing often so unreadable? As our university students return for another year, here are a few suggestions.

Firstly, it’s down to laziness. Trying to make incomprehensible waffle read simply would take too much time. In other words – in academic circles, writing is unclear because it can be. Who is going to point out that it reads badly if it sounds clever? So bad habits continue, and academic writing continues to be full of ‘placeholder’ terminology. In other words, academic writers lean on the same old jargon rather than write something difficult and genuinely insightful.

Read more: Unreadable academic writing

Plain English diploma

Our plain English diploma gives you an excellent grounding in our techniques. It’s a qualification that sets a precedent. If you have one, it gives you the authority you may need to persuade others in your organisation to write clearly. Additionally, you will be in a great position to pass on legitimate expertise. And you will have earned a widely-respected accreditation from the world’s number one plain language organisation.

Read more: Plain English diploma

Plain English report writing course

Once a year we run our special plain English report writing course. The course, presented by Dr Terry Denman, is the only course of its kind in the UK.

This year the course takes place at the Thistle Euston Hotel in London on 20 October, between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

Many of us regularly write reports, and they’re not easy. They need to be carefully planned and take up a lot of time. We can teach you how to cut down on the time and effort you’ll need, and vastly improve the standard and effectiveness of your reports.

Read more: Plain English report writing course

The right side of the law

We’ve teamed up with West Mercia Police to help them rewrite their ‘missing person – risk assessment’ questionnaire.

In West Mercia there are on average around 6500 missing person reports opened up each year. The clarity of the questionnaire is absolutely crucial – it should now be that little bit easier to read.

Read more: The right side of the law

Football gobbledygook generator

You may be familiar with how football managers, players and pundits talk about the game. If so, the football gobbledygook generator will provide you with many examples of the kinds of nonsense they regularly produce.

If you’re not familiar with football jargon, try the generator anyway. See if you can make sense of a typical post-match comment – we doubt it!

Either way, we hope the new gobbledygook generator provides you with a bit of fun – and a reminder of what to expect at about five o’clock on a Saturday.

For more on our football gobbledygook generator, please check our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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