The Power of Plain English

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Published: 26th October, 2018

LCF Law | Power of Plain English | Words on typesetPersonal Law Partner, Mark Jones, extols the virtues of  using plain English, especially when the meaning of words is not entirely obvious.

On my way to work the other morning I was travelling behind a bus which had a sign on it which said “the more you ride the less you pay”.

Presumably this means that if I ride enough there will come a point when it will be free. If I take more rides after that the bus company must pay me. Great – I will give up my job and become a professional bus rider. Or am I missing something?

Well maybe yes or maybe no. I was reading recently about a restaurant in America that promises to give you a discount on your birthday equal to your age. So if you go on your fiftieth birthday you get a 50% discount and so forth. This is particularly good value for a lady in the town who has just passed her one hundred and twelfth birthday. Sure enough, over the last few years on each of her birthdays they have paid her to eat at the restaurant.

This is not, in fact, quite as generous as it might sound. Like many one hundred and twelve year olds she has a large family who go to the restaurant to celebrate with her and pay the full price.

What this shows is that the meaning of words is not always entirely obvious. This is why at LCF Law we are passionate about using plain English.

We are real people just like you with real lives and we understand that life is not always easy. People often come to us at a stressful time.

Going through a divorce, losing a loved one, even more exciting things like buying a house can be stressful. It is therefore important that we make everything understandable and that if there is something you do not understand we ensure that you are not afraid to ask. This is indubitably to the benefit of all parties to the circumstances hereinbefore referred to. Erm, or good for everyone (another advantage of Plain English is that it tends to save ink).

We know that the language used by solicitors does not always seem to make sense (such as the phrase “many one hundred and twelve year olds”).

At LCF Law at stressful times our aim is to be clear and understandable and to make your life easier. In the meantime, I am off to get my bus.


Mark Jones - Wills & Probate Solicitor - HarrogateThis article was written by Mark Jones. Mark is a Partner in our Personal Law Department and is based in Harrogate.

Mark specialises in the creation and administration of trusts, tax planning and wills as well as probate work, particularly those where the family has fallen out and contentious issues have arisen.

Further advice please contact Mark Jones on 01423 502211 or