Positive language makes our brains happier

Posted on Aug 24, 2016 in Plain Language Blog Articles
Positive language makes our brains happier

As plain language experts, we often tell clients to use positive language. Even when explaining a negative situation, we recommend using as few negative words as possible. Many of us use this guidelines based on marketing strategies. However, we now have science to back us up.

Continue reading the article Positive language makes our brains happier

To sign or not to sign … The “Informed” Consent dilemma

Posted on Aug 16, 2016 in Guest blog
To sign or not to sign … The “Informed” Consent dilemma

In the late 1990s my doctor suggested I head over to the local academic medical center where a research project was underway to discover the genes associated with my autoimmune condition. That’s when I came face-to-face with my first consent form and the inevitable tradeoff patients make when presented with pages of gobbledygook punctuated by a signature line: either sacrifice understanding in the name of contributing to the greater good, or politely decline.

Continue reading the article To sign or not to sign … The “Informed” Consent dilemma

How and why to use descriptive link language

Posted on Jul 20, 2016 in Communications, Guest blog
How and why to use descriptive link language

You’d think that people would know better by now than to use “Click here” for links. It’s not like they haven’t been told.

But I still see it on all the sites, all the time–commercial, entertainment, news, and–even considering Section 508–government sites of all kinds, federal, state, and city.

So I’m taking this opportunity to show you why it’s wrong.

Continue reading the article How and why to use descriptive link language

Smarten up – Don’t be a dummy

Posted on Jul 6, 2016 in Plain Language Blog Articles
Smarten up – Don’t be a dummy

A quote (as pointed out by an alert twitter user) variously attributed to Blaise Pascal, John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, Cicero, Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, and Mark Twain states, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Coming across this comment again recently reminded me of the familiar complaint that plain language somehow equals “Dumbing Down.”

Continue reading the article Smarten up – Don’t be a dummy

Legal writing and the alligator tragedy

Posted on Jun 22, 2016 in Legal, News
Legal writing and the alligator tragedy

Plain English can be a life or death issue.

I’ve heard and read about the heartbreaking tragedy at the Disney resort in Florida, where a 2 year old was snatched from shallow water by an alligator. Better legal writing – meaning better signage – could have prevented this tragedy, and could prevent others.

Continue reading the article Legal writing and the alligator tragedy
MENU