Friday, January 23, 2009

Does 'Bill Clinton' ring a bell?

If I say Bill Clinton, what comes to your mind first? Monica? Hillary? Cigar?

Hey, "plain language" comes first to my mind! Why? Well, Bill Clinton sent an executive memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies on June 1, 1998 and told them they must use plain language. This makes the guy a hero in my book, cigar notwithstanding.

Bill said, "(Al Gore and I) are determined to make the Government more responsive, accessible and understandable in its communications with the public. The Federal Government's writing must be in plain language."

Bill went on to say that plain language saves time, money and effort and helps its users send clear messages about what the government is doing. Wouldn't that be nice?! Bill even gave the bureaucrats a grammar lesson. He said "Use: common everyday words, 'you' and other pronouns, the active voice and short sentences." Better grammatical advice was never rendered by a president!

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