When it comes to writing within an industry, it can be very easy to get bogged down and distracted by the complex jargon that is often thrown around and over used within that industry, but this is best avoided at all costs. There are a hundred ways to frame a sentence, convey a meaning or explain an idea verbally but, when it comes to writing, the most important practice is to write in plain english– simple to read, and easy to understand.
The main goal is for your readers to understand what you are trying to tell them, or sell them. They want to be able to read what you are saying and grasp a good understanding of it without having to put in any extra work of trying to work out what it is you are trying to say.
Using plain english in writing isn’t about ‘dumbing’ down content, or about being less creative when it comes to writing. It’s about making sure that the content you write is accessible to a wide audience. It’s about acknowledging that not everybody has the literacy skills of a PHD student from Oxford University, and then doing your best to present your writing as simply, but still as engagingly as you can.
So for example, don’t say; “you can utilise this app…”, when you could cut the readers time and effort and say; “You can use this app…”. The difference in word choice may not mean much to some people, but for others it’s extremely beneficial and it opens the writing up, making it easier to read. In an average day, would you ever say “you can utilise” something? Probably not, so why write it!
“You achieve plain English when you use the simplest, most straightforward way of expressing an idea,” says Bryan Garner, author of Legal Writing in Plain English. “You can still choose interesting words. But you’ll avoid fancy ones that have everyday replacements meaning precisely the same thing.”
Ironically, Garner himself could have simplified his own language in the above comment, swapping precisely for exactly, which means the same thing. But you get the point. Writing in plain english is about being accessible to many and straightforward to understand.
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