Technical writing newsletter 39: January 2011

Document status: archived


Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language contains interesting stories about the history of English. Unfortunately, the book does not clearly explain what Globish is or how Globish is different from English. Some text is not clear, such as the example that follows. "At the interface of technology and global capitalism, the world's English responds to specific, local imperatives…"

Guidelines for plain language

Plain Language in Plain English explains how to design and how to write a document. The book deals with topics that are related to plain English, such as audience analysis, cognitive impairments, international readers, and usability testing.

Some content is vague. Frequently, the writers tell readers to 'think about this' and to 'consider that'. The writers do not give sufficiently precise guidelines about how to write plain language.

Plain Writing Act of 2010

In the US, the 'Plain Writing Act of 2010' requires that government documents for the public must be clear.

The 'Plain Writing Act of 2010' specifies 'plain writing' as "writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience."" (

Congressman Braley introduced the bill that became the 'Plain Writing Act of 2010'. Congressman Braley wrote that a plain-language version of a letter decreased costs to the Veterans Administration by approximately $8 million.

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