Praxiom's Plain English Approach

Everyone "interprets" what they read. That`s unavoidable. Our Plain English
products are for those who don't have the time to spend hours interpreting
management standards. They just want to get on with the job. And that's what
our products facilitate. That's why we translate standards into Plain English.

Our publications translate complex standards into Plain
English. They are for anyone who is tired of struggling with
sentences that are awkward and muddled, and a writing style
that is bureaucratic and legalistic. They are for anyone who
is tired of poor quality writing.

If you’re not used to the way technical standards are written,
you probably find them hard to understand. This is not your
fault. You find them hard to understand because the sentences
usually contain too much information. They are usually too
long, too dense, and too complex.

Standards tend to be hard to understand because they're
written by committee. Typically, 10, 20 or more people try to
agree on what a standard should say and how it ought to be
written. Inevitably, the need to reach a consensus is more
important than the need to communicate clearly.

In order to make standards easier to understand, we take
these complex sentences apart and re-assemble them
using plain English. In the course of doing so, we try
to comply with the following rules:

  • Write clearly and plainly.

  • Include every single idea.

  • Empathize with the reader.

  • Construct simple sentences.

  • Preserve the original meaning.

The above list points to our definition of quality. For us, good
quality writing is clear, plain, easy to understand, and always
empathizes with the reader. And a good quality translation
preserves the original meaning and covers every aspect of
the original material. In the context of our publications, this
is our special definition of quality. These are the special
characteristics that define the quality of our products.

Praxiom Research Group Limited

"... contrary to prevailing wisdom, increasing the complexity of a text
does not cause an essay’s author to seem more intelligent. In fact, the
opposite appears to be true. ...write clearly and simply if you can, and
you’ll be more likely to be thought of as intelligent"

Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective
of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.

Daniel Oppenheimer, Associate Professor, Princeton University

"Executives and managers at every level are prisoners of the notion that
a simple style reflects a simple mind. Actually a simple style is the result
of hard work and hard thinking; a muddled style reflects a muddled
thinker or a person too dumb or too lazy to organize his thoughts."

William Zinsser. On Writing Well, An Informal
Guide to Writing Nonfiction
, Third Edition, page 154.

"If you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it well.
Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and
may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.
Everything should be as simple as it can be, yet no simpler."

Albert Einstein

"Any darn fool can make something complex;
it takes a genius to make something simple."

Pete Seeger

“Whatever can be said, can be said clearly."

Ludwig Wittgenstein


OTHER RESOURCES

Clarity International

PlainLanguage.gov

PlainLanguage.com

Plain English Campaign

Plain English Foundation

Center for Plain Language

Laurie Meehan on Plain Writing

Plain Language Association International

WriteMark New Zealand Plain English Awards

Legal Writing in Plain English by Bryan A. Garner

International Consortium for Clear Communication

Writing for Dollars Writing to Please by Joseph Kimble

Why Plain Language is Important for Business by Sharon Davis

20 Principles of Good Writing by Ken Roman and Joel Raphaelson

Writing Science in Plain English by Dr Lynn Dicks University of Cambridge


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Updated on May 16, 2016. On the Web since May 25, 1997.

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