Plain Language Commission . Clear English Standard


  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
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News & views

Currently in the process of effecting subediting

[29 May 2013] A letter from a unit-trust company offers some free target practice for subeditors as it says:

‘We are currently in the process of updating our documentation and websites with this change [from ‘FSA’ to ‘FCA’] and anticipate this exercise being completed during August.’

Here is our modest attempt at a wordsaving rewrite:

‘We are updating our documents and websites with this change and expect to complete the work in  August.’

The subeditors at the glossy weekly Country Life normally do a good job, but our resident critic (only one?) noticed a pair of blunders in the 22 May issue. First, concerning the architect Edwin Lutyens and his gardening friend Gertrude Jeykyll, with whom he collaborated on so many projects:

‘It was Jeykyll, whose work and ways he so adored, who affected the introduction to one of his most satisfying and unusual early commissions.’

For ‘affected’, read ‘effected’, meaning made, done or carried out, as in ‘to effect a repair’.

Second, of moles:

‘The miniscule eyes are not blind, although the mole has become a byword for shortsightedness.’

For ‘miniscule’, read ‘minuscule’, the old word for lower-case lettering. A few dictionaries have surrendered to the misspelling and allow it as a non-standard variation.

The article tells us that ‘talpicide’ is mole-killing (from its Latin name Talpa europea), that the little diggers’ fur – though usually dark grey – can range from apricot to albino, and that the males (boars) will happily eviscerate each other in the spring as they fight for mates.

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