Wednesday, 24 July 2013

"We will be dynamically proactive in disseminating this exposition of grammatical methodology, composition and authorship to all generators of communications"

The words you WON'T see in Government press releases

Officials have been issued with an online style guide that tells them, for the first time, what unacceptable Whitehallese is.

‘Writing is an instrument for conveying ideas from one mind to another; the writer’s job is to make the reader apprehend his meaning readily and precisely.’ - Sir Ernest Gowers in The Complete Plain Words

The basic fault of present-day writing is a tendency to say what one has to say in as complicated a way as possible. Instead of being simple, terse and direct, it is stilted, long-winded and circumlocutory; instead of choosing the simple word it prefers the unusual, instead of the plain phrase the cliché. (Gowers, 1954)

After the second world war the Treasury invited Gowers to write a pamphlet on English usage for use in civil service training courses. Plain Words (1948) became an instant success, not only within the civil service, but internationally. It was followed by the ABC of Plain Words, and the two books were later combined to become The Complete Plain Words.


The Thought Gang said...

Civilservantese (which is equally prevalent in the private world) seems to be 10% due to people who are clever trying to show how clever they are, and 90% due to people who aren't especially clever trying to make it appear as if they are.

A pox on all their thesaurus'

Ben Jamin' said...

"generators of communications"?

I wonder if they meant this?