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Gary B. Larson

Plain Language

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Garbl’s Plain Language Writing Guide


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Other plain-English resources

For more information about plain English/plain language, concise writing and global English, check out the online and print resources below. Many of them also provide links to other free resources about plain language. Garbl’s Concise Writing Guide provides simpler alternatives to wordy, verbose, overstated or pompous words and phrases.

U.S. government | Other governments | Other organizations | Print and web

Selected plain-language programs of U.S. government agencies

U.S. Plain Language Action and Information Network--a government-wide group of federal employees working to improve communications from the government to the public. The group originated with a presidential memorandum on plain language in June 1998.

Federal Plain Language Guidelines--Official guidelines for the Plain Writing Act of 2010.

Plain Language: Getting Started or Brushing Up--Use this handy tool to learn about using plain language in your work, National Institutes of Health.

Some other government websites

Other organizations

  • Plain Language Association International--the international nonprofit organization for plain language professionals that promotes clear communication in any language. Founded in 1983 as the Plain Language Consultants Network.
  • Center for Plain Language--a volunteer, nonprofit organization of plain language professionals, practitioners, private business owners, researchers, lawyers, educators, government employees, and students. Founded in 2003.
  • Clarity--a not-for-profit, worldwide, network of professionals who are committed to promoting plain legal language. Founded in 1983
  • International Plain Language Federation--established in 2007 as a joint project of the three organizations listed above.
  • Plain Language Commission--a private organization in the United Kingdom that offers paid courses on writing and free articles on writing, readability, jargon, standards of English, legal English and grammar.

Some other print and web references

  • The Complete Plain Words, Ernest Gowers, revised by Sidney Greenbaum and Janet Whitcut
  • Cut-the-jargon, Cheryl Stephens, co-founder of Plain Language Association International
  • The Dictionary of Concise Writing: More Than 10,000 Alternatives to Wordy Phrases, Robert Hartwell Fiske
  • Edit Yourself: A Manual for Everyone Who Works with Words, Bruce Ross-Larson
  • The Elements of International English Style: A Guide to Writing Correspondence, Reports, Technical Documents and Internet Pages for a Global Audience, Edmond H. Weiss
  • Flimsy Claims for Legalese and False Criticisms of Plain Language: A 30-Year Collection, Joseph Kimble, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Cooley Law School of Michigan and Florida
  • From Plain English to Global English, Rachel McAlpine
  • Global English for Global Business, Rachel McAlpine
  • The Global English Style Guide: Writing Clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market, John R. Kohl
  • How To Write In Plain English: A Writing Guide That Saves Time, Is Easy to Read and Helps Readers Understand Your Message, Nicole Foster
  • Legal Writingin Plain English, Bryan A. Garner, author of Garner’s Modern American Usage | Exercises from Legal Writing in Plain English
  • Oxford Guide to Plain English, Martin Cutts, leader of the Plain Language Commission. An excellent, easy-to-use resource!
  • The Plain English Approach to Business Writing, Edward P. Bailey Jr.
  • Plain English at Work: A Guide to Writing and Speaking, Edward P. Bailey Jr.--includes The Plain English Approach to Business Writing
  • Plain English Lexicon: A guide to whether your words will be understood, Martin Cutts, Plain Language Commission, United Kingdom
  • Plain Language in Plain English and Plain Language Legal Writing, Cheryl Stephens, co-founder of Plain Language Association International
  • Plain Style: Techniques for Simple, Concise, Emphatic Business Writing, Richard Lauchman
  • "Using Microsoft Word’s Readability Program" (PDF)--Michigan Bar Journal, January 2009.
  • Write Tight: How to Keep Your Prose Sharp, Focused and Concise, William Brohaugh
  • Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please, Professor Joseph Kimble

This page updated April 1, 2024.

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