Tamsin Constable

2009 Golden Bull awards

Today the Plain English Campaign announces its annual Golden Bull awards for wittering stuff and nonsense. It collects gems throughout the year and then publishes the funniest, the most outrageous or plain pompous.

I find these examples more worrying than entertaining. And is it fair to poke fun when (sometimes) people simply don’t realise there are other ways of writing? I’m more interested to see how some of the winners of these dubious awards will respond. Will they do something about it?

Department of Health website

Primary prevention includes health promotion and requires action on the determinants of health to prevent disease occurring. It has been described as refocusing upstream to stop people falling in the waters of disease.

Translation: Doctors can prevent disease before it occurs.

Balaclava Public School letter to parents about making iced cupcakes

Dear parent/Guardians,

The Grade 7 Science classes are nearing the completion for the unit Pure Substances and Mixtures. In this unit, students have been introduced to the Particle Theory of Matter, and to some of the terminology related to the field of chemistry. They have also been given the opportunity to explore, and conduct experiments related to the properties of solutions and mechanical mixtures.

At this time all students are encouraged to discuss with you the content and expectations of the culminating task along with how it will be assessed. This culminating task allows students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills that he/she has learned throughout the module. Although students are responsible to independently complete this task, we would very much appreciate your assistance for the experimenting component, as students require access to a kitchen and some ingredients to develop their own mixture.

Thank you in advance for your interest and co-operation.

Translation: Your children are going to be making iced cupcakes in your kitchen.

For more, see the PEC’s awards page.

I’ve just realised what my next marketing step should be – I’ll quickly contact the winners and offer some Plain English services.

Leave a Reply