Oxford Guide to Plain English (Oxford Paperback Reference) Paperback – 15 Aug 2013
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This is a most useful addition to the shelves of anyone who has to write whether it is for the web, report-writing, letters, emails, instruction manuals or legal documents. Here is clarity and common sense - this little book provides it all and for a very reasonable cost indeed. (Reference Reviews, Joan Williamson)
should be on every writer's bookshelf (Susanne Geercken and Alistair Reeves, Medical Writing)
About the Author
Martin Cutts is a writer, editor, and teacher. He co- founded the Plain English Campaign in 1979, and in 1994 he founded Plain Language Commission. He gives writing-skills courses in companies, government departments, and law firms. He is a leading voice in the international plain-language movement.
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That said, my favourite is still the 2nd edition Oxford Guide to Plain English 2nd (second) Edition by Cutts, Martin published by OUP Oxford (2007), which was much easier to read. By comparison, the book is now longer by almost a third (up from 202 pages to 288), and it is a bit larger as well as thicker -- not quite such an easy fit in the hand. The revisions in the later editions do include some more up-to-date examples, but the introduction ("Starting Points") has expanded into a treatise on why Plain English is needed, with an extended history of its development around the world. Much of that could be left out, or moved to the back of the book. The present design is also less clear. The book is printed in a strange purple, instead of the original black with blue highlights, with examples in a weak smaller type, instead of in bold. This is a pity, because a handbook like this should be easy for readers to skim to find what they are looking for. The added length and the new design undermine that.
Perhaps Mr Cutts and his publishers should have followed the book's own advice on writing economically, and using a layout that makes the words more accessible.
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