News

Plain English campaign news articles

Chilcott and UN1441

UN 1441 was not crystal-clear, but it should have been

Plain English Campaign was shocked to hear the frequent mention of the words ‘lack of clarity’, ‘unclear’ and ‘ambiguity’ during the Iraq war hearing. The investigatory panel and Lord Goldsmith were referring to the wording in documents, central to decisions for participation in the Iraq war.

The lack of clarity in the documents was not helped by the use of jargon like ‘automaticity’ and inappropriate use of legal terms like ‘material breach’. According to Lord Goldsmith, the ambiguous interpretations from translating the French words ‘se prononcer’, to either ‘consider’ or ‘decide’, had a major bearing on the need for a second resolution.

Read more: Chilcott and UN1441

Maddening instruction manuals

Great guide or maddening manual?

Did you get a lovely new electronic gadget this Christmas? Have you bought one in the January sales?

Was the manual a masterpiece of instruction or did you give up the will to live on the second page?

Read more: Maddening instruction manuals

Parking sign sins

The English language is often misused to aid and abet all manner of deceit, dubious money-making and generally dodgy behaviour. Parking tickets can be the stuff of fury and contention at the best of times, but misleading or evasive parking signs compound an already simmering issue.

Do you have any examples of confusing, deliberately vague or rage-inducing parking signs? If so, please send them to us at info@plainenglish.co.uk and we will publish the best photos.

Read more: Parking sign sins

Plain English Day

On Friday 10 December we will be celebrating Plain English Day from Manchester. We will be shredding examples of jargon and gobbledygook to commemorate the start of the campaign 31 years ago, and inviting members of the public to use our 'Jargon - I can't stick it' stickers to make sure that any jargon or gobbledygook they receive is returned to the sender with a request for plain English.

We will also be holding our 30th Annual Award ceremony to recognise the good examples of clear communications and expose the winning examples nominated by members of the public for our dreaded Golden Bulls.

We will reveal the winner of this year's infamous 'Foot in Mouth' award, given for a baffling comment from a well-known person, and our 'Kick-in-the-pants' award for an organisation that needs to get their act together to improve their communications.

The Plain English Campaign Annual Awards 2010 will be held in Manchester.

Jargon to ‘clean up’ crime

Victim-support groups and members of the public are urging Plain English Campaign to tackle the kind of language, as used in a recent Metropolitan Police report, that appears to be used to 'clean up' crime.  Detective Chief Inspector Yexley, author of the report, claims that the term 'gang rape' is too emotive and that 'multi-perpetrator rape' is more appropriate.

Read more: Jargon to ‘clean up’ crime

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