Financial Product Legalese – It’s on you

Posted on Dec 7, 2016 in Plain Language Blog Articles, WonderMarks
Financial Product Legalese – It’s on you

The Center for Plain Language had this to say about the legal fine print that overran one advertisement for an investment product: “Once again a financial institution that expects me to trust them with my money makes it impossible for me to know what they are going to do with my money.”

The Center had singled out a Charles Schwab & Co. ad for a Wondermark “award” for unintelligible writing.

Clear Content: Every written word represents your university brand

Posted on Nov 23, 2016 in Plain Language Blog Articles
Clear Content: Every written word represents your university brand

I expect 99.9% of the public wouldn’t understand this information on a university website explaining (I think) that the owner of content on a website is responsible for that content. I bet you thought “assets” meant “money,” but this information comes from the IT unit. “Assets” means web content. To be fair, the intended audience likely is IT people, so perhaps the language is appropriate for them. Perhaps.

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.”

Donald Trump, plain language and some huuuuuge implications

Posted on Mar 28, 2016 in Literacy, Plain Language Blog Articles
Donald Trump, plain language and some huuuuuge implications

No, my headline isn’t just click-bait. This piece really is about Donald Trump.

People in the plain language community have been watching this presidential candidate closely. Specifically, the way he speaks.

It’s been noted that Trump communicates at a lower reading grade level than other candidates. Trump speaks to voters at about a 4th grade reading level. By comparison, Jeb Bush and Hilary Clinton come in around an 8th grade level. Bernie Sanders is at the High School level.

Who you gonna call – Wordbusters!

Posted on Oct 30, 2015 in Plain Language Blog Articles
Who you gonna call – Wordbusters!

After you’ve taken your costumed little ones out to trick or treat the neighborhood and have put them down to bed, you may want to settle down and relax with a book or surf the web for a while. But the terrors of Halloween are only just beginning – beware the many horrors lurking among those pages!

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