The plain English writing movement

A look into the plain English writing movement and how this has impacted newspapers, and social media as well as academic, professional and contemporary writing.

Has the plain English writing movement improved writing standards and expectations?

Or has is simplified and ‘dumbed’ down writing skills such as comprehension and interpretation?

  • I did update this but it didn't work. Plain English (or layman's terms) is a style of communication that uses easy to understand, plain language with an emphasis on clarity, brevity, and avoidance of overly complex vocabulary. The movement began in the 1970's to improve legal documents. The purpose was to remove the confusion to the layperson because of the obscurities of the style of writing. Fast forward to today and we are seeing organisation who's sole purpose is to teach anyone involved in writing documents or online content how to write in layman's terms. The movement has penetrated universities, government and others. – mattcarlin 7 years ago
  • I think that depends on what/why you are writing. Plain language is less precise, and is often less poetic and eloquent (although not always- I'm thinking writers like Hemingway). That said, it makes the writing accessible to a larger population. Personally, I find it frustrating that many people would rather have easy content than improve their comprehension abilities, but it's undeniable that in certain circumstances plain English is for the best. There is probably an argument to be made that overuse could lead to an increasing lack of intellectual acuity in the content and in the readers, as well. – Ben Woollard 7 years ago
  • Oooh, there are so many different angles to approach this from. I'd recommend a sociolinguistic one for the reason that form VS function, linguistic shift etc are easier to frame and explore if you look at it from the perspective of how language is commonly used. The prescriptive VS descriptive debate is a longstanding one and there will be a lot of literature on the topic to wade through, but otherwise, should be fascinating to read and write about. – Cat 7 years ago

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