Drop the Officialese, and Write in Plain English
When organizations work intelligently together to reach common goals, they also communicate clearly and thus understand each other. Individually, a writer's communications sometimes fail because he has a fascination with the traditions of officialese
; this is in-grown compulsion to impress the reader with big words, rather than
writing simply and directly to the reader. The writer thinks he has to be "proper" rather than personal.
Many writers in government agencies, big businesses, organizations and academia have false notions about written communications because they fail to read their own writing through the other fellows' eyes.
If we are to succeed in these times of new technologies, new demands and new attitudes, we must improve our communications radically. We must abandon soggy formality and incoherence in favor of modern personal communications
No longer can we allow
clog communication lines. Every writer, worker or employee, regardless of rank or position, must adapt a philosophy of simple, direct, personal communications. "Government gobbledygook
" is what people outside of government refer to as long winded sentences with big words that add no value to what they are reading.
Government, corporate and business writers are trying to carry on the world's biggest, most complex business with outdated, outmoded, tradition-logged language. Their writing skills are based on an outdated,
outmoded, tradition-logged philosophy of communications.
Perhaps this philosophy worked 50 or a hundred years ago. Back then you could finish a job without much paper work. Much of the vast working force of the government and the Nation did not have to know how to read and write to finish a jobbureaucracy, democracy, mass production, mass education, and science had not yet reached the age of puberty. But those relatively simple days are long gone. Yet we go on writing a stuffy, literary-based language as though nothing had changed in the last hundred years.
It's now time
government, big business, and organization writers realized that a revolution has taken place in American prosea revolution that started years ago and is operating today at fever pitch. News writers, magazine writers, and fiction writers and Internet writers have joined in this revolution that demands simple
, clear prose
. But not so, government-type writers! The flossy, pompous, abstract, complex, jargon is the gobbledygook that passes for communications has got to go!
It's too dated to renovate; it's too expensive to tolerate.
average reader demands that today's language reflect today's world and not some sweeter time now past. And they have a right to demand thisunless writing is an expression of its age, it is nothing