for writers and readers….
I think this memo was quite tactfully worded by Winston Churchill. Had to deal with a lot of form filling over the last few months and can report that obscure officialese is alive and well and flourishing in local government pension departments. I’ve offered to go in and help translate it into English…
This is a memo to the War Cabinet headed “Brevity”. It is a bit depressing how little progress has been made.
‘To do our work, we all have to read a mass of papers. Nearly all of them are far too long. This wastes time, while energy has to be spent in looking for the essential points.
I ask my colleagues and their staff to see to it that their reports are shorter. The aim should be reports which set out the main points in a series of short, crisp paragraphs. If a report relies on detailed analysis of some complicated factors, or on statistics, these should be set out in an appendix.
Often the occasion is best met by submitting not a full-dress report, but an ‘aide-memoire’ consisting of headings only, which can be expanded orally if needed.
Let us have an end of such phrases as these:
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