What is Clear Language?
Clear language is language that is plain and concise. It is a way of presenting information so that it is easy for everyone to read and understand.
For example, here is a sentence in clear language:
Clear Language helps your readers understand your message.
Compare it to this version:
The use of Clear Language (also called Plain Language) is capable of helping you to ensure your message is fully comprehended by your intended audience.
Which one is clearer?
Clear Language usually consists of:
- Short sentences with one point.
- Simple graphics that are easy to understand.
- Headings, sub-headings and bullet points.
- Some bold type to highlight important things.
- Lots of white space.
Why use Clear Language?
- It is fair, inclusive, and reaches people who don’t read well.
- For 42% of Canadian adults, low levels of literacy may keep them from fully participating in society.
- It puts the reader first and focuses on action.
How does clear language help?
- Saves time, and money because it gets the job done the first time.
- It reaches more people.
- It increases understanding while decreasing misunderstanding.
A Guide To Clear Language and Design by Tracy Defoe from The Learning Factor
If you are involved in communications, you may find these resources helpful:
- Plain Language Checklist for the Web, by the B.C. Government.
- Plain Language Course by the B.C. Government.
- Plain Language Guide by the Public Works and Government Services Canada Translation Bureau.
- The Five Steps to Plain Language by The Center for Plain Language.
- How to Write Clearly by the Publications Office of the European Union.
- The Canadian Encyclopedia has a large collection of Plain Language articles.
- The “Simple English” Wikipedia
- Clear Language Resources in the Burnaby Public Library book collection: