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Plain English campaign news articles

Christmas holidays

We will be closed for Christmas from 12:00 noon on Friday 22 December 2017, and open again at 9:00 am on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

2018 diploma course

Our first diploma course in 2018 will take place on 21 and 22 February in London. Limited places available.

Phone 01663 744 409 and ask for Terri, or email her at info@plainenglish.co.uk.

Child-friendly Facebook Terms and Conditions

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has produced ‘child-friendly’ plain English versions of Facebook’s terms and conditions.

We’ve often highlighted the need to simplify online terms and conditions on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. Many users of those sites probably still don’t realize how their images and footage might be used once posted online.

Read more: Child-friendly Facebook Terms and Conditions

Hurricane of misinformation

Right-wing media representatives in the US have been rightly criticised for peddling dangerous misinformation about Hurricane Irma.

“There is a desire to advance this climate change agenda,” suggested Rush Limbaugh. “And hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it.”

Read more: Hurricane of misinformation

Yet more obvious jargon

Every so often we see a list of ‘most hated jargon terms’ and job website Glassdoor have provided the latest. There are many (sadly) familiar terms on there. ‘Touch base’, ‘Blue-sky thinking’, and ‘Thought shower’, to name three, continue to thrive among office dullards.

Why are these awful terms so enduring? We think there are two main reasons.

Read more: Yet more obvious jargon

To be clear, or not to be...

We regularly bang on about lengthy terms and conditions, in the hope that they’ll eventually disappear. But instead, they seem to be getting longer and more and more absurd.
 
Amazon is the latest culprit. Their Kindle terms and conditions are 73,198 words long. If you wanted to read them, it would take you about 9 hours – but why would you, or anyone, bother?
 

Read more: To be clear, or not to be...

Legal rulings judged 'overlong'

For many years we’ve struggled to influence the language of the courts. Legal language is still very much how it’s always been – largely archaic, Latin-heavy and pretty much impenetrable to non-experts.
 
There’s never been a justifiable excuse for this – just as there’s absolutely no reason why barristers and solicitors don’t use plain English rather than language very few can understand. But perhaps changes are finally afoot.
 

Read more: Legal rulings judged 'overlong'

Why ‘teenage-ready T&Cs' could benefit us all

Supporters often contact us to complain about horrific terms and conditions. A recent report from the Children’s Commissioner for England provides a perfect example of why companies often hide behind gibberish.

The Commissioner, appointed by the Government to ‘represent the interests of young people’, presented their findings as part of their ‘growing up digital’ campaign. The Commissioner lays out their aims with the following statement.

Read more: Why ‘teenage-ready T&Cs' could benefit us all

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