A recent blog from one of my colleagues got me thinking.
After reading this post, I started to reflect on some of the writing I’ve done in the past. I pondered on what foolish reasons I may have found to avoid writing in plain English (because you’ve got to have a good one, right?).
I was certain I’d never done this consciously, but somewhere in the back of my mind I also knew there was a confession lurking.
And then it hit me…
I will confess that I’ve avoided using plain English — that is, writing in a way that is easily understood by my target audience — because I liked the sound of the words I’d written.
I liked the aesthetics of the words, both individually and as a group (as in sentences or paragraphs). I liked their rhythmic quality. I liked the images they created.
A desire for poetics had led to a disservice to my intended reader.
Plain English is all about getting your message across to your reader in a clear and straightforward manner. It means letting go of wordiness, clichés, and jargon. It also means being respectful to your reader by putting their reading needs first.