Oxford Guide to Plain English

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2009 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 244 pages
Plain English is an essential tool for effective communication. Information transmitted in letters, documents, reports, contracts, and forms is clearer and more understandable when presented in straightforward terms. The Oxford Guide to Plain English provides authoritative guidance on how to write plain English using easy-to-follow guidelines which cover straightforward language, sentence length, active and passive verbs, punctuation, grammar, planning, and good organization.
This handy guide will be invaluable to writers of all levels. It provides essential guidelines that will allow readers to develop their writing style, grammar, and punctuation. The book also offers help in understanding official jargon and legalese giving the plain English alternatives.
This guide gives hundreds of real examples and shows 'before and after' versions of texts of different kinds which will help readers to look critically at their own writing. It is organized in 25 short chapters, which each cover a different aspect of writing. Clearly laid out and easy to use, the Oxford Guide to Plain English is the best guide to writing clear and helpful documents.
 

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Contents

1 Writing shorter sentences or chopping up snakes
1
2 Preferring plain words
9
3 Writing tight
41
4 Favouring the active voice
50
5 Using vigorous verbs and untying noun strings
59
6 Using vertical lists
66
7 Converting negative to positive
73
8 Crossreferences cross readers
77
16 Using readercentred structure
135
17 Using alternatives to words words words
146
18 Management of colleagues writing
152
19 Good practice with email
161
20 Writing better instructions
166
21 Clarity for the Web
176
22 Lucid legal language
187
23 Writing lowliteracy plain English
197

9 Using good punctuation
79
10 Pitching your writing at the right level
98
11 Six writing myths explored and exploded
105
12 Clearly nonsexist
113
13 Conquering grammarphobia
119
14 Sound starts and excellent endings
123
15 Planning effectively
128
24 Basics of clear layout
208
its time to Proof read
226
commonest words
232
Sources and notes
237
Index
242
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)


Martin Cutts is a writer, editor, and teacher. He founded the Plain English Campaign in 1979, and in 1994 he co-founded the Plain Language Commission. He is a leading voice in the international plain language movement.

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