Martin Cutts founded the Plain English Campaign over thirty years ago, and his book, with its fourth edition published by Oxford University Press, is one that every writer should study. It comprises twenty-five practical guidelines to help you improve your vocabulary, style, grammar and layout. In the process, it also helps with good writing style for emails and web material – something that so many books largely ignore.
Some guidelines, dealing with word choice, and sentence and paragraph construction, you may feel you already know about, but you would be surprised the insights that Mr Cutts can deliver. Other guidelines, such as Reduce cross-references to a minimum and Using reader-centred structure, may well take your writing to new levels of clarity.
We are often exhorted to keep our writing ‘tight’ but many people find themselves confused by this concept, so another of Mrs Cutts’ guidelines looks at this question of tight writing, examining what it is and how to achieve it.