Can you, like, write, like, totally clearly?

2nd September 2005 at 01:00
First you, like, take, like, the bread. Then the, y'know, cheese. Then kinda put them together.

Such vague teenage language has prompted the Plain English Campaign to launch a competition asking pupils to describe clearly and concisely a simple task - such as making a cheese sandwich. Ben Beer, of the campaign, said: "Most of the time children use a shorthand way of speaking and writing: text-speak, or slang. But once it affects how you speak and write in everyday life, it is a different matter."

The best entries will form part of a new plain English guide. The winner will also be presented with a plaque by a TV celebrity on October 5, national plain English day. A parallel competition for adults will require entrants to translate official correspondence into comprehensible language.

Examples include the translation of "high-quality learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation of the on-going learning process" to "children need good schools if they are to learn properly".

Trevor Millum, of the National Association for the Teaching of English, said pupils were already taught to write in clear English as part of the curriculum.

The deadline for entries is September 20.

comps@plainenglish.co.uk

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