A word about 'plain English.' The phrase certainly shouldn't connote drab and dreary language. Actually, plain English is typically quite interesting to read. It's robust and direct-the opposite of gaudy, pretentious language. You achieve plain English when you use the simplest, most straightforward way of expressing an idea. You can still choose interesting words. But you'll avoid fancy ones that have everyday replacements meaning precisely the same thing.
Bryan A. Garner
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Words in prose ought to express the intended meaning; if they attract attention to themselves, it is a fault; in the very best styles you read page after page without noticing the medium. Works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are, the more necessary it is to be plain.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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In the future there are going to be no pretty girls, for the simple reason there will be no plain girls against which to contrast them. Of late I have done some systematic reading of ladies papers. The plain girl submits to a course of "treatment." In eighteen months she bursts upon Society an acknowledged beauty.
Jerome K. Jerome
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What does purpose mean? It means the deepest desire for our short lives to mean something. . . . To speak a language of purpose is to return to first principles and to be able to answer, in plain English, the plain questions of Why? Why should we chip in to help someone else? Why should we defer gratification? Why should we care about the long term? Why should we trust anyone who seems to be limiting our ability to do what we want?
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I would rather have a young fellow too much than too little dressed; the excess on that side will wear off, with a little age and reflection; but if he is negligent at twenty, he will be a sloven at forty, and stink at fifty years old. Dress yourself fine where others are fine, and plain where others are plain; but take care always that your clothes are well made and fit you, for otherwise they will give you a very awkward air.
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In Africa a thing is true at first light and a lie by noon and you have no more respect for it than for the lovely, perfect wood-fringed lake you see across the sun-baked salt plain. You have walked across that plain in the morning and you know that no such lake is there. But now it is there absolutely true, beautiful and believable.
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This is some fellow,Who having been prais'd for bluntness, doth affectA saucy roughness and constrains the garbQuite from his nature: he can't flatter, he!An honest mind and plain,--he must speak truth!And they will take it so; if not he's plain.These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainnessHarbor more craft, and far corrupter ends,Than twenty silly, ducking observants,That stretch their duty nicely.
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You ask people what their ethnicity is, and a lot of Scots-Irish people either don't know or if they know it they just don't acknowledge it. It's not something they really identify with. They're just plain old Americans, plain vanilla. I don't think they are a self-conscious voting bloc.
John Shelton Reed
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Do you know what I am going to tell you, he said with his wry mouth, a pint of plain is your only man. Notwithstanding this eulogy, I soon found that the mass of plain porter bears an unsatisfactory relation to its toxic content and I subsequently became addicted to brown stout in bottle, a drink which still remains the one that I prefer the most despite the painful and blinding fits of vomiting which a plurality of bottles has often induced in me.
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Would I describe a preacher, I would express him simple, grave, sincere; In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain, And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste, And natural in gesture; much impress'd Himself, as conscious of his awful charge, And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds May feel it too; affectionate in look, And tender in address, as well becomes A messenger of grace to guilty men.
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The physicist may be satisfied when he has the mathematical scheme and knows how to use for the interpretation of the experiments. But he has to speak about his results also to non-physicists who will not be satisfied unless some explanation is given in plain language. Even for the physicist the description in plain language will be the criterion of the degree of understanding that has been reached.Physics and Philosophy
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There's nothing wonderful or interesting about unrequited love. I think it's shitty, just plain shitty. To love someone who doesn't return your affections might be exciting in books, but in life it's unbearably boring. I'll tell you what's exciting: sweaty, passionate nights. But sitting on the veranda outside the home of a sleeping woman who isn't dreaming about you is slow moving and just plain sad.
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What a situation!' cried Miss Squeers; '... What is the reason that men fall in love with me, whether I like it or not, and desert their chosen intendeds for my sake?' 'Because they can't help it, miss, ' replied the girl; 'the reason's plain.' (If Miss Squeers were the reason, it was very plain.)
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Out of the hills of Habersham, Down the valleys of Hall, I hurry amain to reach the plain; Run the rapid and leap the fall, Split at the rock, and together again Accept my bed, or narrow or wide, And flee from folly on every side With a lover's pain to attain the plain, Far from the hills of Habersham, Far from the valleys of Hall.
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The genius of American culture and its integrity comes from fidelity to the light. Plain as day, we say. Happy as the day is long. Early to bed, early to rise. American virtues are daylight virtues: honesty, integrity, plain speech. We say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no, and all else comes from the evil one. America presumes innocence and even the right to happiness.
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No one in this world, so far as I know--and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me--has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has any one ever lost public office thereby. The mistake that is made always runs the other way. Because the plain people are able to speak and understand, and even, in many cases, to read and write, it is assumed that they have ideas in their heads, and an appetite for more. This assumption is folly. They dislike ideas, for ideas make them uncomfortable.
H. L. Mencken
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You deal with me very frankly, and I thank you for it, ' said I. 'I will try on my side to be no less honest. I believe these deep duties may lie upon your lordship; I believe you may have laid them on your conscience when you took the oaths of the high office which you hold. But for me, who am just a plain man-or scarce a man yet-the plain duties must suffice. I can think but of two things, of a poor soul in the immediate and unjust danger of a shameful death, and of the cries and tears of his wife that still tingle in my head. I cannot see beyond, my lord. It's the way I am made. If the country has to fall, it has to fall. And I pray God, if this is wilful blindness, that He may enlighten me before too late.
Robert Louis Stevenson
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Her father sat her down and spoke to her with great seriousness. "You are not a witch, Katerina. There is magic in the world, and some of it is wholesome, and some of it is not, but it is a thing that is in the blood, and it is not in yours. "The foolish will always treat you badly, because they think you are not beautiful, " he said, and she knew this was true. Plain Kate. She was a plain as a stick and thin as a stick and flat as a stick. Her nose was too long and her brows too strong. Her father kissed her twice, once above each brow. "We cannot help what fools think. But understand, it is your skill with a blade that draws this talk. If you want to give up your carving, you have my blessing." "I will never give it up, " she answered.
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All of those things - rock and men and river - resisted change, resisted the coming as they did the going. Hood warmed and rose slowly, breaking open the plain, and cooled slowly over the plain it buried. The nature of things is resistance to change, while the nature of process is resistance to stasis, yet things and process are one, and the line from inorganic to organic and back is uninterrupted and unbroken.
William Least Heat-Moon
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Plain Kate greased her boots and bandaged her feet, and soon she would walk like a Roamer born. She helped Drina with the water and the wood, and in the long, wet evenings she carved objarka burji. Plain Kate carved fast and learned slowly. She was bewildered most of the time, but Daj called her mira again, and when she asked Drina what it meant, the girl replied, "It means she likes you. It means your family." Family. It could have kept her walking for a hundred miles. And she did walk far.
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Anyone moderately familiar with the rigours of composition will not need to be told the story in detail; how he wrote and it seemed good; read and it seemed vile; corrected and tore up; cut out; put in; was in ecstasy; in despair; had his good nights and bad mornings; snatched at ideas and lost them; saw his book plain before him and it vanished; acted people's parts as he ate; mouthed them as he walked; now cried; now laughed; vacillated between this style and that; now preferred the heroic and pompous; next the plain and simple; now the vales of Tempe; then the fields of Kent or Cornwall; and could not decide whether he was the divinest genius or the greatest fool in the world.
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We are a generation of lovers who long to be loved. We spend exorbitant amounts of money to compel others to delight in us. We construct our ideal life on Facebook because we are unsatisfied with our real life, which is tainted with boredom, loneliness, insecurity, and a lack of friends and followers. We do not enjoy the person God created us to be or the life God has gifted us with. We think we are overweight, underweight, too pale, too dark, too plain, or just plain boring. Yet we crave to be delighted in by a significant other. So we pursue misguided avenues to make ourselves delightful, to satisfy our craving to be loved. Charis: God's Scandalous Grace for Us (pp. 118-119).
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Be faithful and true of word; let thy walk be plain and lowly: thou wilt get on, though in savage land. If thy words be not faithful and true, thy walk plain and lowly, wilt thou get on, though in thine own home? Standing, see these words ranged before thee; driving, see them written upon the yoke. Then thou wilt get on.
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