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Plain English campaign news articles

Large degree of small-print difficulty

Research by consumer group Fairer Finance has found that a third of insurance policy small print is only understandable to degree holders.

The research suggests that none of the 280 documents tested could be understood by anyone with a reading age of 11. An estimated 16% of UK adults have a reading age of 11 or less.

Fairer Finance’s report goes on to say that failing to understand financial jargon costs UK consumers £21bn in a year – £428 for every adult.

Read more: Large degree of small-print difficulty

Plain English Day 2015

December 1 is a big day for Plain English Campaign.

On that date, we once again celebrate Plain English Day. And, this year, it’s also when we’ll announce our 2015 award winners.

So not only will it be a day of following events centred around all things plain English, it’s also when we’ll reveal our Foot in Mouth, Golden Bull and Kick In The Pants award winners, among many others.

Read more: Plain English Day 2015

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

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.

Updated web site

We have updated our website - we hope you find it easier to use.

If you find something that doesn't work, or can't find what you are looking for, please email us on info@plainenglish.co.uk.

Jobbledygook

How often have you read a job advertisement and wondered ‘what do they want, exactly?’

Jobs-market jargon may even have turned you away from a potential appointment. The Daily Telegraph’s Sophie Jamieson has provided a guide, and a quiz, to help you understand some of the terminology.

Read more: Jobbledygook

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