Plain English

Optimizing Readability

We employ Plain English to optimize readability.  Rudolf Flesch popularized the notion of readability in his 1949 book The Art of Readable Writing (out of print). This book introduced a calculation called: the Flesch Readability Index.
Caterpiller pioneered Plain English in the corporate world with Caterpillar Standard English, used for English instructions around the world. This standard allowed only 600 words. The aviation industry converted Caterpillar Standard English into Simplified Technical English after analyzing verbal miscommunications responsible for plane crashes. This standard allows less than 10,000 words and is managed by the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe as an international standard.
The British pioneered a country-wide campaign called the Plain-English Campaign, which publicly ridicules obscure corporate and government writing with The Golden Bull Awards and The Foot-in-Mouth Awards. Margaret Thatcher once scolded a tax bureaucrat who was resisting Plain English, saying: “If you can’t write in Plain English, you’re either confused or you have nothing important to say.”

After decades of consideration, a bipartisan US Congress passed the Plain Writing Act of 2010. President Obama signed the act into law in October 2010. Believe it or not, our federal government published one of the best English style guides available to support the new law: The Federal Plain Language Guidelines.

We strive to make every sentence we write or speak comply with our own blend of Plain English. Compare what you read here on our website with other writing.