Remember coming out of that conversation wherein your first thought/ response was “Plain English please?”
When speaking or writing, the use simplified sentences, everyday vocabulary, and clear structure seems common sense. But, as we all know, it is far from common.
Think news articles, legal documents or research papers. Do we care about the comprehension as much as the communication? Do we write to express or impress?
It’s interesting to note the implications of the barriers we inadvertently set by our choice of sophisticating our writing patterns. Exactly – that sentence 😉
Plain language is helpful for everyone. But it is really good for people who may find other kinds of writing hard to read. That includes:
-People with learning disabilities.
-People with intellectual disabilities (ID).
-People who are learning to speak English.
-People who did not go to school or went to school less than they wanted to.
Today, Mathematical models that measure the “plainness” of the text, assign numerical scores to text, indicating how understandable they are.
Military engineers, medical professionals and textbook manufacturers use readability checkers to cater to their audience.
“We can’t just use technology to make writing easier to read. We have to think about who we are writing for. We have to include people with disabilities when writing in plain language. It is like disabled people say: Nothing about us without us.”
Plain language is practical.
It’s Accessible Writing. It’s Responsible Writing.