It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

But forget “the parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow” because it’s time for ClearMark nominations!

Once again, the Center for Plain Language will honor the best of plain language in original documents, revised documents, websites, legal language, and multimedia. We’ve streamlined the process this year to make it even easier to enter.

View the nomination form »

But why should you nominate an entry for a ClearMark Award?

Here are 6 good reasons: (more…)

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Send us your plain language victories!

Submit a ClearMark award

Your clear communication could win a ClearMark award.

We know it’s not always easy to institutionalize plain language – navigating multiple contributors, priorities and layers of approval is a challenge. That’s why we want to hear about your plain language successes.

Have a publication, form, website or policy document you created using plain language principles? Nominate it for a ClearMark award!

Send us your plain language victories, and let us know about the positive impact of your work: improved response rate? lower costs? better compliance? reduced questions into your call center?

Let your clear communication be a model for other organizations!

Submit a ClearMark Award here. Nominations are open until March 3.

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New Zealand Gives Plain English Awards

Christopher Travers, Chair, WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust

Plain English winners (photograph)The 2010 New Zealand WriteMark Plain English Awards have been completed. These Awards, and others given internationally, honour the unsung heroes who strive to communicate clearly and are a testament to the the thriving movement to help citizens of every country understand critical information whether from government or business. (more…)

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The Center for Plain Language Goes Viral

The Center for Plain Language has now hit the big time. I’m sure most of you interested in plain language know by now that our awards’ banquet was a smashing success (details below). What you may not know is that we have gone viral. After the ceremony, we were mentioned in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, at least three dozen blogs, hundreds of Twitters, and on and on and on. We are so happy about all the publicity both for the Center and, frankly, for the “cause” — getting government and business to take seriously consumer and citizen needs for plain language. So, I’m going to give you the details of the awards below assuming there might be a few people left who haven’t heard. But the most important thing to know is that people are learning more about who we are, what we do, and what we stand for. That’s the best award of all! (more…)

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There’s still time to nominate

Annetta Cheek, Chair of the Board of the Center for Plain Language, recently spoke on Federal News Radio on the importance of plain language and our ClearMark | WonderMark Awards event. You can listen to the podcast online.

When asked about the preponderance of legalese in government and business documents, Cheek stated

“I think our tradition of writing that’s grown up in this country, particularly in bureaucracy and especially in the government over the last, let’s say, hundred years is what’s the cause. You can make just about anything plain and, in fact, the plainer it is, the clearer it is, probably, the better it is legally.”


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New deadline for ClearMark and WonderMark Awards’ Nominations

The Center for Plain Language has extended the deadline for submitting your nominations for the ClearkMark and WonderMark awards to March 1st. There’s still time for you to help reward, rebuke, and, hopefully, change the state of language in the U.S. For the past few weeks, we have received many nominations in both categories: ClearMark represents the best of public, private, government, or non-profit writing. WonderMark, well, not so much. (more…)

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ClearMark Award for Plain Language

The Center for Plain Language just announced its first annual plain language awards. (more…)

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The Center announces Plain Language Awards: The Public’s Turn to Tell Us What’s Plain (and What’s Not)

Mark card_tabloid_28oct09

ClearMark awards poster

It happened again. I sent a copy of a rental agreement to my lawyer and asked him to look at this fairly simple four page lease. He wrote back that this simple, plain language document just “wouldn’t do” because it was too simple! He attached a 16 page document that he recommended we use. I painstakingly went through it to simplify it, translating convoluted phrases, and sent it back. His response? No good… because it doesn’t match the precedent of legal leases. “Susan, when the rest of the legal field changes and the courts change, then I will.” (more…)

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Center for Plain Language (

Printed April 18, 2014


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