Plain English - Details

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Towards more picturesque speech


Plain English in ten words

George Orwell on plain English | SEC guidance on plain English Plain English Anatomy Noun | Verb | Adjective | Adverb | Preposition | Conjunction | Latin | Germany | Flannel | Legal triplicate | Nominalisation | Murder your darlings

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Not this: (real-life example):

any and all tangible and intangible information disclosed or provided by or on behalf of the client to us, whether before or after the effective date of this agreement and whether orally, in writing or in picture, in electronic form or by any other means in connection with the Project and including without limitation, commercial, financial, operational, technical and/or organizational information, any information relating to products, services, technologies, projects, operations, business plans and business affairs, business and product research and development, know-how, trade secrets, market opportunities, financial statements, as well as all reports, notes, analyses, compilations, forecasts, data, summaries, studies and other documents derived from, containing or otherwise reflecting such information prepared by the client.”

This:

“All information you give us about the Project.”

Stage 1: Tidy up

Remove laboured constructions and replace by simple, direct, active verbs:

Chargor hereby agrees to will indemnify Secured Party on demand (on an after tax basis) the Secured Party in respect of for any payment made by the Secured Party makes...

Remove technical details and replace with descriptive language. Say Article IV(1)(c) of the Control Agreement is the indemnity provision. “Article IV(1)(c) of the Control Agreement” means nothing to a reader who is not infinitely familiar with the Control Agreement. Describe it, instead, as the indemnity provision.

... to the Custodian (IM) under Article IV(1)(c) of by way of indemnity payment under the Control Agreement ...


Expressions

Discretion

  • sole discretion
  • entire discretion
  • sole and absolute discretion
  • reasonable discretion
  • in good faith discretion

Have

Why say “shall have” when you mean “have”?
Why say “there are [strict policies] in place” when you mean “we have [strict policies]”?

Must

Why say “be required to” when you mean “must”?

Do not have

Did not

May

This section must go AFTER "Discretion". Why say “has the potential to” when you mean “may”?
Why say “have the right to” when you mean “may”?
Why say “have the right but not the obligation to” when you mean “”?
Why say “have the right but no obligation to” when you mean “”?
Why say “have the right (but no obligation) to” when you mean “”?
Why say “have the right, unilaterally and with immediate effect, to” when you mean “may”?
Why say “may, in [your] discretion,” when you mean “may”?
Why say “may in [your] discretion” when you mean “may”?

Need not

See: I never said it was

Why say “shall not be obliged to” when you mean “ .... just don’t say it”?

May not

Must

Must not

If

Why say “in the event that” when you mean “if”?

Includes

Why say “shall include” when you mean “includes”?

Relating to

Why say “in respect of” when you mean “relating to”?
Why say “with respect to” when you mean “relating to”?
Why say “in relation to” when you mean “relating to”?
Why say “in connection with” when you mean “relating to”?

Before

Why say “prior to” when you mean “before”?

Because

Why say “by reason of” when you mean “because of”?
Why say “as a result of” when you mean “because of”?
Why say “on the basis of” when you mean “because of”?
Why say “on the grounds that” when you mean “because”?

Given that

Why say “the provisions of [the ...][clause]” when you mean “the ... ][clause]”?
Why say “on a regular basis” when you mean “usually”?
Why say “make a winding-up order in respect of” when you mean “wind up”?
Why say “have regard to” when you mean “consider”?
Why say “take the view that” when you mean “decide”?
Why say “it is [possible][likely] that [...] would” when you mean “[...] may”?
Why say “the [ability][capacity] of [the] [...] to” when you mean “[the] [...]'s [capacity] to”?
Why say “applicable or relevant” when you mean “relevant”?
Why say “includ[es][ing], but is not limited to” when you mean “including”?

Miscellaneous

Why say “(s)” when you mean “s”?

Strikethrough!

Template:Plaindel Template:Plaindel Template:Plaindel Why say “you acknowledge and agree that” when you mean “{{{2}}}”?
Template:Plaindel Template:Plaindel Template:Plaindel Template:Plaindel

Strikethrough with wildcards

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