Well, it's not just error-free writing.
In fact, Word's spellchecker lets HARD-to-understand text slip right through.
Plain English is all about clear. All about not confusing your readers.
My good friend Simon wants to tell you a joke – in plain English:
[Make sure to turn on your speakers. Then, click on his nose.
(It's OK, he doesn't bite!)]
Here, watch how Bill discovers why no one understood his eloquent E-mail:
When I started my first business, I wasn’t sure how to write effective letters.
So, I took a business-writing course.
To my surprise, the textbook was The Art of Readable Writing, by Rudolf
Flesch. I remember thinking: "How is this going to show me how to write
serious business letters?"
But I was wrong.
This little book teaches all about clear and interesting. And that was what
I needed to write effectively. Not just for business, but for most EVERY type
of writing I've done since.
Flesch gives loads of advice on making your writing readable. For me, the
highlight was these few simple readability statistics, that check if your writing
is EASY-to-read. And INTERESTING.
After the course, I stopped boring readers with long sentences, complex words,
and the passive voice. Yes, my writing got clearer. more interesting. Today, I almost
never send documents or E-mails without first checking my readability statistics.
According to Flesch, if you want your readers to understand, write at below a
9th-grade level. While reading the following text, think if YOUR readers will find
"This sentence expresses itself by utilizing complicated words with an abundant
number of syllables, is communicated in the passive voice, and is overly long
relative to the point it desires to make.”
The statistics show that to understand this text, you need about 18 years of schooling!
Not a good way to make friends!
These statistics show you that to make your text EASIER-to-understand, you need to make
it SIMPLER. So you need to figure out what IS plain English. And what's NOT.
They don’t tell you HOW! It’s like a teacher giving you a bad grade on a test. Without telling
you what mistakes you made. And how to correct them.
Go to Step #3: StyleWriter 4 – Plain English Writing Software.