List of plain English words and phrases from A to Z

Plain English (also referred to as layman’s terms or sometimes referred to more broadly as plain language) is a generic term for English communication that emphasizes the avoidance of technical language and uses simple, familiar words instead of lengthy, formal words, avoids jargon, prefers positive words to negative words, and prefers strong verbs to be verbs.

Here is a list of plain English words and phrases in alphabetical order from A to Z

Plain English starting with letter A

  • above-mentioned, above-listed, before-mentioned, aforementioned – (omit)
  • abundance – enough, plenty, (or specific amount
  • accede to – allow, agree to
  • accelerate – speed up
  • accentuate – stress
  • accommodation – room
  • accompany – go with, with
  • accomplish – do
  • accorded – given
  • accordingly – thus, so
  • accrue – add, gain
  • accurate – right
  • acquiesce – agree
  • acquire – get
  • additional – extra
  • address – discuss
  • addressees – you
  • adjacent to – Next to
  • adjustment – change, alteration
  • admissible – allowed, accepted
  • advantageous – helpful
  • adversely impact on – hurt, set back
  • advise – tell
  • afford an opportunity – allow, let
  • aggregate – total
  • aircraft – airplane (USA) / aeroplane (UK) (“Plane” can also mean “flat surface” and a woodworking tool; the word “airplane” avoids this confusion. The word “aircraft” can be used if you need to specifically include balloons, blimps, gliders, etc.; it’s the simplest word for the whole category of aerial vehicles.)
  • alleviate – ease, reduce
  • allocate – divide
  • along the lines of – like, as in
  • alternatively – or
  • ameliorate – improve, help
  • an absence of – no, none
  • and particularly – particularly
  • and/or – use either “and” or “or.”
  • anticipate – expect
  • a number of – some
  • applicant – you
  • application – use
  • apparent – clear, plain
  • apprehend – arrest
  • appreciable – many
  • appropriate – proper, right
  • approximate – about
  • arrive onboard – arrive
  • as a means of – to
  • ascertain – find out, learn
  • as per our telephone conversation of this date – as we discussed this afternoon
  • as prescribed by – in, under
  • as far as … is concerned – (omit)
  • as to– of, on, with, for, to, by, in, into
  • as yet, as of yet – yet
  • assist, assistance – help
  • at its discretion – can, may
  • attain – meet
  • attempt – try
  • at the present time, at this time, at this point in time, at the moment – now
  • attributable to – because
  • at your earliest convenience – as soon as you can
  • authorize – allow, let

Plain English starting with letter B

  • basis, on a – (omit)
  • be advised – (omit)
  • because of the fact that – because, since
  • beg – ask
  • belated – late
  • beneficial – helpful, useful
  • bestow – give, award
  • by means of – by, with
  • by reason of – because
  • by virtue of – by, under
  • beverage – drink

Plain English starting with letter C

Plain English starting with letter D

  • deem – believe, think
  • delete – cut, drop
  • demonstrate – prove, show
  • depart – leave, go
  • designate – choose, name
  • desire – want, wish
  • despite the fact that – although
  • determine – decide, figure, find
  • disclose – show
  • differentAfter a number, this word is often unnecessary.
  • discontinue – drop, stop
  • disseminate – give, issue, pass, send
  • does not have – lacks
  • does not include – excludes, omits
  • due to the fact that – because, since
  • duly (authorized, signed) – (omit)
  • during the period, during the time that – during, while

Plain English starting with letter E

Plain English starting with letter F

  • facilitate – ease, help
  • fauna – animals
  • feasible – workable
  • females – women
  • finalize – complete, finish
  • first(ly), second(ly), third(ly) – first, second, third
  • first and foremost – first
  • flora – plants
  • following – after
  • for a period of – for
  • for example,______etc. – for example, such as
  • forfeit – lose, give up
  • formulate – plan
  • for the purpose of, – to
  • for the reason that, – to
  • forward – send
  • frequently – often
  • function – act, role, work
  • furnish – give, send

Plain English starting with letter H

Plain English starting with letter I

  • identical – same
  • identify –find, name
  • identify with –agree, understand
  • if and when – use either word; not both
  • immediately – at once
  • impacted – affected,changed
  • implement – carry out, start
  • in accordance with – by, under
  • in addition – also, besides, too
  • in all likelihood – probably
  • in an effort to – to
  • inasmuch – since
  • in a timely manner – on time, promptly
  • in between – between
  • inception – start
  • in connection with – with, about
  • incumbent upon – must
  • indicate – say, state, or show
  • indication – sign
  • individual – person
  • in excess of – more than
  • in favor of – for
  • initial – first
  • initiate – start
  • in lieu of – instead
  • in light of the fact that – because
  • in many cases – often
  • in order that – for, so
  • in order to – to
  • inquire – person
  • in regard(s) to – about, concerning, on
  • in relation to – about, with, to
  • in some instances – sometimes
  • inside of – inside
  • institute legal proceedings against, bring action against – sue
  • inter alia – (omit) or use “among others”
  • interface – meet, work with
  • in terms of –(omit)
  • interpose no objection – don’t object
  • in the amount of – for
  • in the case of – when
  • in the event of – if
  • in the majority of instances – usually
  • in the nature of – like
  • in the near future – shortly, soon
  • in the process of – (omit)
  • in view of – since
  • in view of the above – so
  • regardless – regardless
  • is applicable to – applies to
  • is authorized to – may
  • is in consonance with – agrees with, follows
  • is responsible for – (omit) handles
  • it appears – seems
  • it is – (omit)
  • it is essential – must, need to
  • it is requested – please, we request, I request
  • it is important to add that, in this regard it is of significance that, it may be recalled that, it is interesting to point out that – (omit)

Plain English starting with letter L

  • liaison – discussion
  • -ly (doubtless, fast, ill, much, seldom, thus) – (omit)
  • last will and testament – will

Plain English starting with letter M

  • magnitude – size
  • maintain – keep, support
  • majority – most (except for voting)
  • make a mockery of – (omit)
  • make an attempt, make an effort – try
  • make reference to – refer
  • maximum – greatest, largest, most
  • mental attitude – attitude
  • merge – merge
  • methodology – method
  • minimize – decrease
  • minimum – least, smallest
  • modify – change
  • monitor – check, watch
  • month + of + year – March 2013
  • moreover – what’s more
  • multiple – many

Plain English starting with letter N

  • nature, of a – (omit)
  • necessitate – cause, need
  • nevertheless – still, besides, even so
  • notify – let know, tell
  • not able – unable
  • not accept – reject
  • not certain – uncertain
  • not unlike – similar, alike
  • not many – few
  • not often – seldom, rarely
  • not the same – different
  • not…unless, not…except – only if
  • not…until – only when
  • not later than 10 May – by 10 May, before 11 May
  • notwithstanding – in spite of, still
  • now comes – (omit)
  • null and void – use either “null” or “void”
  • numerous – many

Plain English starting with letter O

  • objective – aim, goal
  • obligate – bind, compel
  • observe – see on a _________basis (omit)
  • obtain – get
  • off of – off
  • on request – if you ask
  • on a daily basis – daily
  • on a X basis – Xly (where X is an adjective)
  • on the basis of – by, from
  • on the contrary – but, so
  • on the grounds that – (omit)
  • on the other hand – (omit); but, so
  • on the part of – by
  • operate – run, use, work
  • optimum – best, greatest, most
  • option – choice, way
  • orientate – orient
  • …out (calculate, cancel, distribute, segregate, separate) – omit
  • outside of – outside
  • overall (unless it means the garment) – (omit)
  • oversight [v] – oversee
  • owing to the fact that – because, since

Plain English starting with letter P

  • parameters – limits (except in mathematical and computer-programming uses)
  • participate – take part
  • particulars – details
  • pass away – die
  • per annum – a year
  • perchance – perhaps
  • perform – do
  • permit – let
  • pertaining to – about, of, on
  • perspire – sweat
  • peruse – read
  • PIN number – PIN
  • place – put
  • portion – part
  • possess – have, own
  • point in time, particular point in time – time, point, now, moment
  • potentiality – potential
  • practicable – practical
  • preclude – prevent
  • preowned – used
  • preliminary to, previous to, previously, prior to – before
  • preparatory to – to prepare for
  • prioritize – rank; set or make priorities
  • proceed – do, go ahead, try
  • procure – (omit)
  • proficiency – skill
  • promulgate – issue, publish
  • provide – give, offer, say
  • provided that – if
  • provide guidance for – guide
  • purchase – buy
  • pursuant to – by, following, per, under; in response to, in carrying out, as required by

Plain English starting with letter Q

  • question as to whether, question of whether – question whether
  • quite puzzling – baffling

Plain English starting with letter R

Plain English starting with letter S

  • said, some, such, same – the, this, that
  • selection – choice
  • separateAfter a number, this word is often unnecessary.
  • set forth in – in
  • shall – must
  • should you wish – if you want
  • similar to – like
  • solicit – ask for, request
  • state-of-the-art – latest
  • strategize – plan
  • subject – the, this, your
  • submit – give, send
  • subsequent, subsequently, subsequent to –later, next, after, then
  • substantial – large, much
  • successfully complete – complete, pass
  • sufficient – enough

Plain English starting with letter T

  • take action to – (omit)
  • terminate – end, stop
  • than was formerly the case – now
  • the month of – (omit)
  • there are – (omit)
  • therefore – thus, so
  • therein – there
  • there is – (omit)
  • the undersigned – I
  • the use of – (omit)
  • this activity, command – us, we
  • timely – prompt
  • time period – (either one)
  • to be violative of – violate
  • took advantage of – preyed
  • to wit – (omit)
  • transpire (unless referring to plant transpiration) – happen
  • transmit – send
  • type – (omit)

Plain English starting with letter U

  • under the provisions of – under
  • until such time as – until
  • utilize, utilization – use

Plain English starting with letter V

  • validate – confirm
  • variation – change
  • various different – “various” or “different”
  • very – (omit)
  • very angry – enraged
  • viable – practical, workable

Plain English starting with letter W

  • we are in receipt of – we’ve received
  • whereas – because, since
  • whether or not – whether
  • whosoever, whomsoever – whoever, whomever
  • with a view to – by, from
  • with reference to, with regard to – about
  • with respect to – on, about
  • with the exception of – except for
  • with the minimum of delay – quickly (or say when)
  • witnessed – saw

Plain English starting with letter Y

  • you are requested – please
  • your attention is drawn – please see, please note
  • your office – you

Source: List of Plain English words and phrases Wikipedia

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