Last Wednesday Congress passed H.R. 946, a bill requiring federal agencies to use plain language in their forms, letters, and other documents. The bill passed overwhelmingly, despite a few naysayers who argued that the annual cost ($5 million) was too high for our high government deficits.
Good for Congress. Yes, five million dollars is a high price to pay for simple English. But it seems likely that great amounts of time and (more important) money will be saved in the long run when officials and citizens can understand government documents.
What flabbergasts me is that it’s going to cost $5 million to get officials to do what they should have been doing all along – writing plainly.
This morning I found a marvelous government website that offers many resources to help officials (and, incidentally, you and me) write more clearly: www.plainlanguage.gov.
Way to go, Congress!
(For more tips about clear, up-to-date business style, click here.)