Plain Language Commission . Clear English Standard

About us

  1. Team members
  2. Why use plain language?
  3. Our business principles
  4. Frequent questions about our range of services
  5. Before-and-after examples
  6. How we test and apply our standards
  7. Words or figures?
  8. Our spelling choices
  9. Errors on the site
  10. Our terms of business and our privacy policy
  11. Cookies

Before-and-after examples

When we edit into plainer English there are bound to be some gains and losses in meaning – exact equivalence is almost impossible to achieve. The trick is to get as near as possible to the original meaning, and we often find we can bring out the meaning more clearly by using different words and reorganizing the information.

Plain English or bussed

A bus-driver in Derbyshire took matters into his own hands when confronted by a bemusing company manual. Here are two of the 183 rules he transformed:

Before Ensure the potential impact of non-routine factors and problems and other services are assessed and details notified promptly to an appropriate person.
After Inform the depot if you are stuck in traffic or involved in an accident.

Before Ensure machinery for issuing and endorsing tickets is confirmed as in working order and is set in accordance with approved procedure.
After Check the ticket machine is showing the correct date and price.

Clear as a fire bell

Before In our endeavour to ensure guest safety at all times, can visitors please note that fire bell testing is carried out every Monday at 9.30am.
After We test the fire bell every Monday at 9.30am.

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