Bureaucrats Told to Use Plain English
Taking aim at government gobbledygook, Vice President Al Gore announced that bureaucrats will be required to use plain English as of Oct. 1. Common, everyday words are to replace unnecessary technical ones; the active voice will replace the passive voice; and short sentences will replace long ones. The change, ordered by President Clinton, applies to all new federal documents, other than regulations, that explain how to get a benefit or service or how to comply with an agency requirement. By New Year’s Day, regulations will be included. Government rules that took 72 words to explain will be shortened, Gore said, and unfamiliar phrases will be simplified.