The federal government is rolling out a new official language of sorts: plain English. A communications overhaul is under way as federal employees learn how to make more sense in their writing to the public. Their guide is the Plain Writing Act signed by President Barack Obama last fall after decades of effort by passionate grammarians in the civil service to jettison the jargon.
By July, each agency must have a senior official overseeing plain writing, a section of its website devoted to the effort and employee training in motion. The law takes full effect in October, when federal agencies must start writing plainly in all new or substantially revised documents produced for the public.
The government, though, will still be allowed to write nonsensically to itself.