Why plain English makes plain sense
In USA und Großbritannien gilt bei Geschäftskorrespondenz das Ideal einer klaren, eleganten Sprache mit prägnanten Sätzen. Plain English nennt man das. Dieser klare Stil macht Sinn – er ist nicht nur schön; er sorgt auch dafür, dass Ihr Geschäftpartner sofort den Inhalt Ihres Briefs versteht.
When I look at English correspondence written by German native speakers I often come across letters written in an old-fashioned, formal style of English. I see long sentences with subordinate clauses, the passive voice and formalised phrases.
This is not too difficult to understand; after all,many English natives also use language that is far too formal. Non-native speakers pick this up and copy it, thinking it is good English. But in business, complicated language is never good language.
Nobody likes sifting through fancy words, tapeworm sentences, acronyms and jargon to get through to the real meaning of the communication.
In the USA and UK,more andmore businesses are using a style known as plain English. Plain English focusses on the reader’s needs. It avoids jargon, unnecessary terms and long sentences. It talks to the reader directly in everyday language. You can use plain English, too. Follow these six tips.
6 tips for using plain English
1 use everyday language instead of jargon or big words
2 use active verbs
3 use personal pronouns (you, he, she, etc.) that speak directly to the reader
4 use short sentences (less than 18 words)
5 make sure there is lots of white space on the page
6 use bulleted lists
Finally, the test of success is whether a document communicates to your reader. To check this, read it out loud. Is it conversational in tone? Do you speak to the reader directly? Use the examples opposite to make your writing more concise and effective.
|Instead of ...||Use ...|
|at the present time||now|
|as per your request||as you requested|
|in reference to||regarding|
|in order that||so, to|
|due to the fact that||because|
|to your attention||to you|
|involves the use of||uses|
|please find enclosed||I am enclosing|
|please do not hesitate to contact us||please contact me / us|
Is your English plain enough?
Hochgestochene Ausdrücke und verwirrend lange Sätze sind in jeder Sprache schwer zu lesen. Der einfache, kurze und unkomplizierte Stil, der Ihnen hierbei hilft ist ‘Plain English’. Testen Sie hier, wie gut Sie ‘Plain English’ beherrschen.
Turn these complicated, outdated sentences into simpler, modern ones.
1 I’m writing to complain due to the fact that the goods we ordered didn’t arrive in time two consecutive times.
2 Your complaint was received and will be processed immediately.
3 As per your request please find enclosed our special offers for January.
4 We’re not certain if we can accept your offer at the present time.
5 If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
6 The new products all involve the use of blue ray technology.
7 Due to the fact that we received your order late the goods can’t be shipped before Monday.
1. I’m writing to complain because the goods we ordered didn't arrive in time for the second time in a row.
2. We received your complaint and are checking through it right now.
3. As you requested I am enclosing our special offers for January.
4. I'm not sure if we need your services right now.
5. Please contact us if you have any further questions.
6. The new products all use blue ray technology.
7. Because your order was late we can't ship the goods to you before Monday.