Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Non-circumlocutory, oral communication...what?

“….non-circumlocutory, oral communication dispensed by an orator who has no predilection for verbiage and is far from prolix or magniloquent in manner…”

These weighty words – I had to look up three of them in the dictionary – feature in a very clever advert by legal firm Macroberts – http://

The company follows them with the comment “Straight–talking” and emphasises in the ad that they offer straight-to-the-point business law.

I’m all for plain speaking so the ad appeals to me. I came across it as I ploughed through an insurance policy following another water leak episode in my bathroom where floorboards had to be ripped up to trace the source of the problem. The policy is, you’ll not be surprised to learn, classically confusing. It sucks the will to read on, each sentence a barrier, each paragraph formed to sap all energy.

Even in day-to-day business, people speak or write in needlessly, long- winded ways that really grate. The Plain English Campaign http:// and fine bloggers such as Marian Dougan at http:// write in interesting ways - and most eloquently - about words and language, subjects that intrigue me.

I liked this list from the folks at the Plain English Campaign. They say the words in brackets are just as – or even more – effective and I homologate. Sorry, that means I agree.

additional (extra)

advise (tell) 

commence (start)

forward (send)

in excess of (more than) 

in respect of (for) 

in the event of (if) 

on request (if you ask) 

particulars (details)

per annum (a year) 

persons (people) 

prior to (before)

purchase (buy) 

regarding (about) 

terminate (end)

whilst (while)

I’m keen to learn any examples people my have of gobbledygook or drivel, as some might suggest.