Writing text that can be understood by as many people as possible seems like an obvious best practice. But from news media to legal guidance to academic research, the way we write often creates barriers to who can read it. Plain language—a style of writing that uses simplified sentences, everyday vocabulary, and clear structure—aims to remove those barriers.
6 min read · 2021-04-05 · I learned writing from The Economist. Back home, it wasn’t easy to learn English. No one in my social circle was fluent in the language and I couldn’t afford a private tutor. The best I could do was…
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That’s why it helps to rewrite and proofread—with the intentional goal of cutting what doesn’t belong to what you’re trying to say.
10 min read · 2020-08-13 · Last year, I put together this list of the most iconic poems in the English language; it’s high time to do the same for short stories. But before we go any further, you may be asking: What do…
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6 min read · From 2017 · When a new strain of flu jumps from birds to pigs, the next stop may be humans. Fortunately, when this happened in 2004 with the deadly strain of avian flu H5N1, Chinese scientists caught the change early. Unfortunately, no one took notice of their research, despite its vital importance. Why? Because the research was written in Chinese and published in a Chinese journal. The text wasn’t translated until 8 months later – a fatal delay for a deadly flu. This article from the Smithsonian will interest anyone concerned with the dissemination of our most vital resource: information.
10 min read · 2021-12-11 · We typically operate under the assumption that most Americans speak either English or Spanish. Though this is true in the broadest sense, the U.S. is a culturally diverse country, home to a plethora…
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