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Happy Plain Language Day

We celebrate the international Plain Language Day on 13th October. This year, 13th October is a Friday. Some people believe it to be a very unlucky day... That's why we need plain language - so that understanding is not a matter of luck.

one complicated arrow and one straight arrow
Complicated does not mean smarter

Plain language is a tool to make communication more accessible. Let's go through the most typical features of plain language:

  1. Everyday phrases instead of specialized vocabulary

  2. Short sentences instead of complex ones

  3. Only the most important details instead of repetitions

  4. Clear calls to action instead of vague instructions

  5. State the point immediately instead of lengthy introduction

  6. Tables and bullet points instead of complex descriptions

What are the benefits of plain language?

  1. More people get the message, regardless of their literacy background

  2. Reading takes less time

  3. More people comply with the call to action

  4. Less misunderstanding means less need to fix problems

Different target groups benefit from plain language communication. People with low literacy skills or people with concentration problems benefit from plain language. Second language speakers may need plain language only temporarily, until their language skills get better. But even advanced speakers benefit from plain language because it is designed to deliver the message quickly and efficiently.

Even though the popularity of plain language is growing, still too many people are unaware about how to write accessibly. While plain language writers should attend training by a professional, here are some resources to get started:

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