Plain Language

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  • Language that is more readily comprehensible to the public replacing the language of law and government. For some decades there have been attempts to demystify the specialized vocabulary of bureaucracy, and on June 1, 1998, President Bill Clinton signed a presidential memo requiring that the federal government's writing be in plain language. The memo came in the wake of a judgment that the difficulty of the documentation of the U.S. Immigration and Naturali zation Service had violated the civil right to due process of certain aliens. Plain language avoids excessive use of acronyms and abbreviations, Latin phrases, and long noun clusters; it emphasizes directness, clarity, concise ness, and the use of everyday rather than arcane or highly specialized vocabulary (unless needed for technical precision). ...

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