Plain Language Commission . Clear English Standard

Current

  1. Fall of Troy
  2. Subeditors a dying breed, says new website
  3. Plain language and the courts
  4. Deceptive language – food from fake farms
  5. Pikestaff 75 – read it now
  6. Jottings
  7. Jargon for grown-ups
  8. English to be Latin of EU?
  9. Large amount of amounts
  10. ‘The reason is because’
  11. Clichés – ‘wash down’, again
Go to archive

News & views

UK literacy rises (a bit)

[8 Dec 2011] A survey for the Government of 7,000 people aged 16–65 has found that 5.1 million UK adults (one in seven of the population) have the literacy ability of an average 10-year-old. This is a slight improvement on the figure from a similar survey in 2003. (Source: Yorkshire Post, 2 Dec 2011)

It's clear from reading company letters that people with low literacy can still get jobs involving writing. Here’s one recent email, sent by a bank’s finance department to a supplier:

‘We have process the below mentioned document and the payment will reach the supplier account with in four working days.
Invoice No: 200908
Invoice Amount: 148
Processed Date: 03/12/2011
Note: The payment might get delayed, if the goods is not receipted by the relevant business units.’

Anyone who can figure out the final sentence must have plenty of time on their hands.

Based on data on the Adult Literacy Trust website, we reckon the average UK adult reads at a level equivalent to that of an average 13-year-old child. We do our best to edit texts to that level (or below) if they’re intended for a mass audience.

Yes, I accept the cookie. No, I decline the cookie.

clearest.co.uk would like to place a cookie on your computer to help us make this website better. To find out more about the cookies, see our privacy policy