Could you say it more simply?

At Doris and Bertie, we hate annoying jargon and pretentious gobbledygook.

So we were delighted to discover the Up-Goer Five text editor. This online tool challenges you to describe an idea using only the most common 1,000 words in English.

The name “Up-Goer Five” comes from an attempt to describe a Saturn V rocket in this way (“rocket” is a no-no – hence “up-goer”). Check out this charming diagram of “the only flying space car that’s taken anyone to another world”.

And here’s an example of someone in the pharma industry describing drug discovery according to the Up-Goer Five rules.

Even for plain speakers like us, it’s not easy to describe what you do using only the most common 1,000 words. We can only wonder how people who use phrases like “integrated delivery solutions” and “driving operational excellence” would cope.

Our Doris and Bertie homepage failed the Up-Goer Five test so we rewrote it using the Up-Goer Five text editor. Tell us what you think:

We are people who help businesses build stronger relationships with other people: the people who buy the things the businesses make, the people with the money to help the businesses make the things they make, and the people who make the things for the businesses.

Our writing is clear, simple and to the point. No hard words and boring talk. Just words other people will want to read.

Because most of the businesses we work with do things with money, we write like Mr Buffett, who is the greatest money man in the world. Well known for his simple talking, Mr Buffett writes all his business papers as if he were talking to his sisters. Like most people, his sisters know about lots of things, but they do not know about money.

Talk to us today for help with writing and word changing.

Could you describe what you do in simple words? Have a go and post the results in the comments below.

6 Responses to “Could you say it more simply?”

  1. I write about things that the people who work for us do at work and at home. I take pictures of them too so that everyone else can read about the things they do and see what they look like.

    PS I found the drug discovery post patronising and although I hate and avoid corporate jargon, in my example above I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to use newspaper or magazine or weekend – yet everyone knows what these are. A good exercise though.

  2. Will says:

    Good writing is good business

    Words matter. Whatever your business, you have to write things. Writing well leads to working well with the people you work with and with the people who pay you to write things for them. That’s good business.

    We are good at writing. We will help you write all your normal words, words for talks, books, news words and more. We will read your world computer group place words and help you write better ones.

    If you’d like training in how to write good words or a world computer group writing learning course, call on us.

    Whatever you want to do, we will give you the best words for the job.

    If you’d like a free talk, please get in touch with us.

    (The above was taken from the Clarity home page. The only problem with this is that you repeat yourself a hell of a lot. That and describing a webpage. I think ‘world computer group place’ is as good a description as I can manage.)

  3. James says:

    Love it! Don’t think I’ll be pasting it directly onto the homepage, but I’ll certainly use it to point out the amount of nonsense written by other people (and maybe occasionally for editing my own nonsense…):

    “We let children and young people try new things in order to find out what they’re good at.
    We’ve been doing it since 1940, and today we do it by:
    – Doing exciting things outside
    – Helping people to help young people where they live
    – Training young people and the grown ups who help them”

  4. I enjoyed this game as much as anyone, but don’t find this useful. The average person knows at least 3000 words, so why not have a tester with 3000 words?

  5. Liat says:

    I actually think that it’s not that easy to read. The focus is too much on using simple words. I’ve been writing and re-writing my simple about.me bio for months (every time I see the page, I see a sentence that could be re-written).

    Here it is [about (dot) me / liatgat]. It fails the Up-Goer test, but I think it makes the reader think less and gives the right idea faster, which I think is what simple and clear writing is all about:

    ***

    KNITFreedom with Liat Gat is the site people go to for excellent knitting videos.

    Liat believes that to be a confident and happy knitter – a “Knitting Superstar” – just like her thousands of fans and devotees – all you need is a good teacher.

    Use KNITFreedom’s free video library whenever you need to look up a knitting technique or term and see a great video on exactly how to do it.

    Liat also teaches step-by-step classes just like at your local yarn shop, with downloadable video classes on almost every topic.

    The most popular classes are about how to knit with Magic Loop and how to do toe-up socks.

    Get Liat’s top ten video tips free when you sign up at xxx

    ***

    What do you guys think?

  6. Clare Lynch says:

    Liat, you’re copy is great! I ran it through the Writer’s Diet online tool and it comes up “lean”, which is praise indeed. I agree, the Upgoer 5 text editor is a fun but rather limiting tool. Given that it doesn’t allow the word “knit”, you’d struggle to use it to your advantage!

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