plain language

Show plain language your sensitive side in our multilingual society

The Media Online recently challenged you to write the best limerick encapsulating the concept of a plain language verbal detox™ . While Karen Jeynes penned the winning limerick, Gus Silber’s entry, although not considered because of its departure from the rules, is worth a read for his ironic take on the task. There once was a writer, a scribe, a […]

Verbal detox™ – an aid to digestion (in fewer than 50 shades)

We had a great response to our verbal detox™ limerick challenge and I urge you to read all of the entries in the comments section of my previous column. The editor and publisher of The Media Online chose Karen Jeynes as the winner of an African Cream Music CD of her choice and one of their stylish Madiba T-shirts with his face […]

Verbal detox™ – the shortest cut of all

In my last column I unveiled my verbal detox™ concept, which involves using as few words as possible to convey your meaning. I promised some practical examples and an introduction to the man I credit with planting the idea for the verbal detox™ in my mind.   Once written, twice distilled To recap, going on a verbal detox™ […]

Plain language: a verbal detox

It’s been a while since I used this column to beat the plain language drum. In October last year we published a special International Plain Language Day edition of The Media Online. I put together a two-part unofficial plain language guide which you can access here and here. I had so much ground to cover in the guide that […]

New tricks for old dogs – converting legalese into plain language (Part 2)

Following the story on my move from legalese to plain language, I explore further the need for plain language in the legal world and the challenge this presents to lawyers. The Consumer Protection Act, that requires written legal communications to consumers to be in ‘plain language’, came into effect on April 1, 2011.

New tricks for old dogs – converting legalese into plain language (Part 1)

Plain language – two words guaranteed to terrify even the most competent attorney. Both the National Credit Act and the Consumer Protection Act now require written legal communications to be in plain language. The problem is that conventional legal language is anything but plain. It is formal, punctilious and often antiquated.