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What Facebook could learn from Orwell’s language rules

Beware of those who dogmatically trumpet "Plain English"—except where it counts

By Sam Leith   December 2017

One of the pieces of advice you most often hear, when it comes to writing, is to use Plain English. It’s usually capitalised that way. And there’s even a Plain English Campaign, fighting the good fight against bureaucratic obscurity and evasive legalese.

The reasons to use Plain English are fairly obvious. If you use commonly understood words and short sentences, and avoid long subordinate clauses, you will be easier to read and understand. You minimise the cognitive load on the reader, and by pitching a document at its least literate readers, you…

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