Plain English

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What is Plain English?

Who uses Plain English?

Rules for Plain English





Telecom Examples

What is Plain English

Who uses Plain English

Rules for Plain English


How to write Plain English

Converting Complex Text into Plain English

    text analysis
    standardizing the vocabulary
    simplifying the grammar

Converting German into Plain English

Writing Presentations



How to answer difficult letters - by paraphrasing

You receive a complex text which is not clear
 - you are not sure what they mean

If you answer in the same style
 - they will not be sure what you mean
 - there is a lot of room for future misunderstandings
 - the lawyers will make a lot of money

So do it this way:
 - say what you think they are asking, in Plain English
 - ask them to confirm your version
 - answer what you have said is their question
 - ask them if they are satisfied with the answer.

This has a lot of advantages
 - your understanding is clear both in your own company and to them
 - your answer is clear
 - they may start using your words and Plain English too!

Example - contact for further information


See the course description for English for Technical Communication
Section 8. Readability and language style
Contact for an in-house course


Web Sites


Telecom Examples

How to get from the original to the plain version? Contact the course leader.
Roaming: Original Version Plain English Version
17. Has the Inquiry Recommended Mandatory Roaming Across All Existing Mobile Networks? 

No. "Roaming" refers to the ability for mobile phone users to make or receive calls on other service providers' cellular networks when outside the coverage area of their own service provider's network. 

In the near future, Telecom and Vodafone will be offering enhanced and high-speed data services over mobile phones. These services (known as "2½G") will be an important stepping stone to the next generation of mobile technology ("3G"), which will become available in about 3 years. 

The Inquiry has recommended that Telecom and Vodafone should be required to offer roaming on their 2½G networks on request, but only to those new  entrants that have acquired sufficient spectrum (2½G or 3G) to roll out a national network. Roaming would only be available for a limited period while these new entrants rolled out their networks. The price for such services would be a matter for commercial negotiation. These recommendations recognise the importance of 2½G and 3G services to the future of the mobile market and the detriment to efficient competition that would likely occur if the services were not offered. 

17. Does the Inquiry recommend that roaming be permitted across all existing networks? 

No. "Roaming" is when mobile phone users can make or receive calls on the networks of other service providers when outside the coverage area of their own network. 

Soon, Telecom and Vodafone will offer "2½G" services, enhanced and high-speed data services.  In about 3 years, providers will offer "3G," the next generation of mobile technology. 

The Inquiry recommends that  Telecom and Vodafone must offer roaming on their 2½G networks, when requested by providers new to the market who already have sufficient spectrum (2½G or 3G) to start a national network.  This offer can be terminated at the time when their network is up and running. The price must be negotiated between the providers. 

This recommendation recognises that 2½G and 3G are the future of mobile networks.  Without roaming services, competition is disadvantaged. 

There is a mix of definitions, background information, and recommendations here.  The aim of this text is to define a recommendation, the rest should be done elsewhere. Our discussion revealed that two critical terms are not defined: "sufficient to start" and "up and running." These must be defined in terms of spectrum and coverage - or else the lawyers will be needed anyway.

A Second Example

from complex legal German to Plain English


ISO 9000 and 9001 in Plain English