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  • recent happenings in the international plain language community
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An office worker carries a box of items from their desk.

2018 was a particularly poor year for corporate doublespeak and spin. When our national public broadcaster used the phrase 'external career development opportunities' to discuss firing its staff, it joined a long list of institutions incapable of using simple English to describe something difficult.

Star-shaped confetti spills out of a golden cup trophy.

When the Department of Human Services asked us to evaluate their website, we were delighted to find a government website that lives up to its name. It focuses on the humanss and makes it easy for them to find the services they need!

A White House podium flanked by two United States flags

Political doublespeak dominated our 2017 list as things became seriously Orwellian in the US. At the top of the heap was the worrying ‘alternative facts', suggesting that politicians can be right even when they're wrong.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt pose together at a gala. Brad wears a tuxedo and bowtie and Angelina wears a formal gown.

Noxious Frankenword 'Brangelexit' topped our 2016 list. Combining Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's celebrity moniker 'Brangelina' with the recent 'Brexit' vote, this elevates a celebrity divorce to the level of a major world event.

In a particularly bad year for corporate spin doctoring, 'possible emissions non-compliance' topped our 2015 list. Volkswagen’s CEO used this phrase to describe what was actually cheating when regulators tested how much pollution its cars emit.

Headshots of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin

'Conscious uncoupling' was our 2014 winner. Gwyneth Paltrow used this phrase to describe her separation from husband Chris Martin.