Simple writing is best for everyone

Rachel Muenz Writes About Simple Writing - Photo Courtesy of
Rachel Muenz Writes About Simple Writing – Photo Courtesy of

Rachel Muenz - Writing - September 12, 2009

By Rachel Muenz

Every English teacher I’ve ever had has always said using plain, clear language is best in any kind of writing. Authors don’t make readers think by language that’s impossible to understand, but by the complex themes and ideas, they write about.

Recently, ABC Canada, an organization that promotes adult literacy, announced it will be launching a series of books by Canadian authors for adults learning to read. The series, called Quick Reads Canada, will cover adult characters and themes and – above all – will be something learners actually want to read. Apparently, most books for adult learners do not focus on adult issues and are not interesting.

This is a great idea but the writing in these books follows the same basic rules I’ve been told all writers should follow. If simple language is the best kind of writing, there should be many “regular” adult books that would be perfect for adults to learn to read with.

For example, I think learners would find books by the late Timothy Findley, a great Canadian author, very accessible. His novels build strong characters, hit you with overwhelming emotions and make you think deeply about human problems, all with clean, simple writing.

So, while I’m not against Quick Reads Canada at all, I hope any reading lessons for adult learners will also include “regular” adult fiction and not just books for students.

– with files from


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