Write in plain English

Published 8:20 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2012

To the Editor:

I was surprised by the letter quoted in your March 15 edition where the Beaufort County commissioners were attempting to express their support for the proposed wind farm. Whatever happened to writing in plain English? The purpose of writing a letter is to communicate an idea but if someone walked up to you on the street speaking in the manner this letter was written, you would come away from the encounter with the impression that the person was either a fool or someone who had launched themselves off into bureaucrat nirvana. In any event, the merits of the idea they were attempting to communicate would get lost. Writing in high bureaucratese went out with the 19th Century and that is where it needs to stay.

The next time an issue comes before the board where writing a letter to express the will of the board is warranted, collectively ask yourselves what it would be like to receive a letter written in this manner and what would be your impression of the merits of the idea the author was expressing? Then have the county manager rewrite the letter in plain conversational English before you send it out.