International Plain Language Day!

Did you know October 13th is International Plain Language Day? 

Plain language – or everyday living room language – is communication your audience understands the first time they read or hear it.  They don’t have to go back and try to define words they don’t understand.  Plain language helps you to:

  • find what you need
  • understand what you find
  • and use what you find to meet your needs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following techniques to ensure you are using plain language:

  • What’s your point – put the most important message first.
  • Mind your jargon – choose words and numbers your audience knows.
  • Cut it out – delete unnecessary words, sentences and paragraphs.

Below are some examples of medical jargon replaced by plain language:

Instead of… Use this…
Cardiologist Heart doctor
Urine Pee
Hypertension High blood pressure
Referral Send to another doctor


Think about the last time you took your car into be fixed.  Did you understand everything the mechanic told or did they need to use plain language?  A rule of thumb is to think about how you would explain something to a friend or relative and use those words.  Everyone benefits from plain language.


Post by Jane Meyer


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