What is plain English?
Plain English is clear English. It is simple and direct but not simplistic. Plain English cuts the complexity and redundancy in our writing to leave a clear, streamlined and flowing style your readers can understand effortlessly.
Plain English is the clear, concise and readable style found in well-written and well-edited, professionally produced newspapers, magazines and books. Why do newspapers such as the Financial Times or the Washington Post; magazines such as The Economist, Time and Newsweek; and best-selling books use the straightforward, plain English style? Because professional writers and editors know a clear style helps their readers understand and absorb the information presented.
Newspaper subeditors spend around 90 percent of their time improving articles by cutting, simplifying and rearranging the words into a clearer style. StyleWriter (and our training) shows you how to write and edit in this polished, professional style.
Which businesses and government agencies use StyleWriter?
Many organisations, after testing our software, buy 1,000+ user licences to change the way employees write. Our corporate customers include:
- City of Los Angeles – 2,400-user licence
- Environmental Protection Agency – 1,000-user licence
- Federal Aviation Administration – 1,000-user licence
- Farm Credit Administration – Agency-wide licence
For these organisations to invest over £100,000 in software to improve writing style, the program has to be good and deliver lasting benefits. StyleWriter is the software organisations invest in to bring about permanent improvement in staff writing skills.
What evidence is there that StyleWriter improves writing style?
StyleWriter’s statistically analyses each document checked. We can use the program’s statistical measures to see the improvement in writing standards.
The graph shows the dramatic improvement in writing standards only occurs if employees use StyleWriter to put into practice the lessons learnt during the training. Without StyleWriter, there is little, if any, long-term improvement.
What are the business benefits of the clear, plain English writing style?
National governments, councils, multinational corporations, major industry bodies and others have adopted the plain English model for sound, commercial reasons — plain English saves time and money. The savings claimed for plain English are remarkable:
- The US Navy estimated plain English could save it between $250–$300 million every year.
- General Electric saved $275,000 by redrafting manuals into plain English.
- The US Department of Veterans Affairs saved $4.4 million redrafting one standard letter into plain English.
- Customers in three surveys of standard letters from banks unanimously preferred the plain English versions.
- British Telecom cut customer queries by 25 percent by using plain English.
- The Royal Mail saved £500,000 by redesigning one form in plain English.
- UK businesses lose £6 billion a year because of badly written letters.
- A UK Government Plain English initiative saved £9 million in printing costs.