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Simple & Plain English

Every journalist agrees that the newspaper writing should be simple, plain, and easy to understand. After all, the language is meant for a common reader who is in a hurry. There are definitions and Readability test formulae. These are provided and used in different sections of this website. Without getting into these here once again, let us explain what we mean by Simple and Plain English for Indian newspapers:

We expect journalists to write small and brief sentences that a reader can read and understand quickly, in ‘one go.' The reader should not be required to go back to read the same sentence once again because it was too long, complex, or complicated.

A reader should be able to understand a word without referring to a dictionary.

A journalist will do a great service to the readers if he/she follows these two simple rules.

There are more rules, more principles and more guidelines for the journalists. Robert Gunning's following ten principles of clear writing are some among these:

•  Keep Sentences Short.
•  Prefer the Simple to the Complex.
•  Develop Your Vocabulary .
•  Avoid Unneeded Words.
•  Put Action Into Your Verbs.
•  Use Terms Your Reader Can Picture.
•  Tie In With Your Reader's Experience.
•  Write the Way You Talk.
•  Make Full Use of Variety.
•  Write To Express, Not To Impress.

 

If you have some such suggestions and examples of good or bad English from our newspapers, please mail it to us: simple&plain@newsmansenglish.in . Do not forget to mention the name of the newspaper, date, and place of publication.
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