Great Books About Plain Language
Joseph Kimble's 2006 book (Carolina Academic Press), Lifting The Fog Of Legalese: Essays On Plain Language, combines the strong evidence and myth-busting arguments for plain legal language with much practical advice and many useful examples. And no other book is more likely to open lawyers' eyes to the emptiness of legalese.
Richard Wydick's Plain English for Lawyers is one of the first and still one of the best books about plain language, written for lawyers but helpful to everyone. It's still the best seller of the Carolina Academic Press.
Bryan Garner's 2001 book, Legal Writing in Plain English, sets a new standard for plain legal writing and is very readable by non-lawyers. It covers all the most important plain language techniques. Bryan is one of our most important experts on legal writing. The book is from the University of Chicago Press. Bryan has several other important books on writing, including Garner's Modern American Usage.
Tom Murawski wrote an excellent book called Writing Readable Regulations. Like Wydick's book, it is available from the Carolina Academic Press.
Robert Eagleson's Writing in Plain English was developed for public servants but is invaluable for anyone who wants to write more clearly. It provides a step-by-step guide to planning, writing, designing, and testing documents. It was published by the Australian Government Publishing Service and is available online.
Plain Language for Lawyers, by Michèle Asprey, is another excellent book targeted at legal writing. The author is from Australia. You can get the book from the Federation Press in Australia or online.
William D. Lutz is an English professor at Rutgers University. He is also an attorney. In addition to helping the Security and Exchange Commission develop their plain-English program, he has published a number of excellent books on doublespeak, including Doublespeak Defined (1999), The New Doublespeak (1996), and his original book, Doublespeak (1989). Some of these books are out of print, but you can find them from used-book sources on the web.
Britain's Plain Language Commission, a private-sector organization, has published a number of excellent books on plain language. Visit their website for information on Lucid Law, Clarifying Eurolaw, and other publications.
Martin Cutts's Plain English Guide provides 20 easy-to-follow guidelines covering plain words, sentence length, active and passive voice, punctuation, grammar, planning, and good organization. The author advises writers not to be bound by common "non-rules" such as "never split an infinitive." You can get the book through The University of Oxford Press, US, or on the web.
The Plain English Campaign, another private-sector organization in Britain, published The Plain English Story in 1993, with sections on writing plain English, design and layout the plain English way, and the results of a plain-English approach.
Lee John's The Writing Coach is a well-organized book on writing in plain language.