Plain Language Act: An Announcement or a Send-up?

by | Oct 22, 2010 | Plain Language Writing Courses, Writing Matters Blog | 1 comment

It’s good to know the folks at FedWeek have a sense of humor, even about plain language. Here’s their tongue-in-cheek announcement about the Plain Writing Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama on October 13, 2010:

Plain Language Act Signed

“President Obama has signed into law (P.L. 111-274) legislation requiring agencies to use plain language in documents directed toward the public and to train employees in clear writing—for example, writing that does not utilize abstruse verbiage rather than use plain words, nor is redundant by making a point more than once (that is, twice or more), nor contains sentences that keep going even when the point at which they should have stopped arrived far before the period, with period in this case referring to a punctuation mark, rather than a measure of time, such as the time it takes to read writing full of unnecessary dependent clauses, sometimes known as subordinate clauses, that make it difficult for the reader to recall the subject by the end of the predicate, and that would not pass the law’s standards.”

Other joyful announcements of the Plain Writing Act:

Yes, the government went and made writing well a law. This is going to be very good for readers!

— Leslie O’Flahavan

Tags: Government web writing, Plain language

1 Comment

  1. Great to hear that, after decades trying to get it passed, a Federal Plain Language Act has finally become law. I’ve been pushing for some time to get government to utilize software tools, such as StyleWriter Software, to aid in writing in Plain English. So passage of this act should finally prompt government to get serious about communicating clearly and concisely with its citizens. Thanks for letting your readers know that government is theirs and must be open and accountable. There’s more about the push to get government to write plainly at our website,

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