Plain English = Limited vocabulary

Food or drink supplied on or from any premises is ‘hot’ for the purposes of this Schedule if the food or drink, or any part of it,- (a) before it is supplied, is heated on the premises or elsewhere for the purpose of enabling it to be consumed at a temperature above the ambient air temperature and, at the time of supply, is above that temperature, or (b) after it is supplied, may be heated on the premises for the purpose of enabling it to be consumed at a temperature above the ambient air temperature.

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Nine things that make no sense

The Plain English Society’s list of gibberish use of language is really struggling this year. It had this extract from the new licensing law at number 4. I fail to see why they consider this to be so difficult to understand (or some of the other ‘winners’, for that matter). I don’t even think that this should be considered clumsy or inelegant.

Is the society therefore guilty of dumbing down, by lowering the complexity which a passage needs to attain in order to be dismissed as incomprehensible? For my part, I think that they have had their day, and should be replaced with a movement which champions adherence to the rules of grammar and encourages a certain sophistication. Please don’t think I’m being snobbish here, I’m only asking for people to use such outdated techniques as writing in sentences.

P.S. The reason this article caught my eye is that my employers Wanadoo were (rightfully) caught in its sights. Hopefully this will give someone a wake-up call!

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~ by bouncysteve on 14 December, 2005.

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