Plain Words: A Guide to the Use of English
By Ernest Gowers
Why this book?
I first read this as a teenager, and its wise counsel has stayed with me ever since. Gowers’ book was originally written as a guide for British government workers, to help them avoid the perils of jargon and ‘officialese’ and write in a way that colleagues and (more importantly) the person in the street could actually understand.
The fact that I could immediately apply the ideas to my school essays shows you why this book has been continuously in print since the 1950s, and why generations of writers have found it so useful in shaping their own style.
Practicing exactly what he preaches, Gowers lays down the principles of plain English, in plain English. Read and see why this deserves to be called a classic.
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