Down below are some examples of incorrect, sloppy or thoughtless English.  Some have bad grammar, some use the wrong version of a word, and some simply don’t look right at all!  Try to work out what’s wrong in each sentence.  Then think about how it could be so much better if said in plain, clear and concise English. 

See if you agree with my plain English versions (click on the grey boxes to see).

1. I discussed the proposal for restocking all 500 freezers with my colleagues.

2. There were less visitors than usual.

3. Try our sausages. None like them.

4. Please leave your values at the front desk.

5. How will a driver - of a furniture van - on a motorway - perform in a strong-gusting side-wind?

6. The project, having been approved, the firm began to recruit the necessary staff.

7. The decision to computerise the accounting system has badly effected our relations with our customers.

8. The renumeration received by the subordinate officials of this organisation exceeds by a very considerable proportion what is generally placed on offer by other comparable firms.

9. It was certainly him, and not the owner of the car, who now came running along the drive.

  • What’s wrong with this sentence?

    I can’t tell which person is running along the drive!  Who is the subject in this sentence?

  • See the plain English version.

    I could clearly see that it was him now running along the drive, not the owner of the car.


    I could clearly see that the owner of the car was now running along the drive, not him.

10. In this day and age, while industry is grinding to a halt, one can feel the wind of change heralding the arrival of a new climate of opinion.

If you have any examples from websites, emails or publicity material you’ve seen recently – send them to me!  I’m always looking for little gems to share!