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The Power of Global Plain English: Avoiding Colloquialisms for Clear Global Communication

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Clear global communication is crucial in today's world. When engaging international markets, adapting our messaging to the local language is essential, especially in regions like mainland China. However, in bilingual regions such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, using plain Global English becomes vitally important. At Mandy Queen PR, we prioritise Plain Global English and simplicity in our international PR and marketing campaigns to engage diverse audiences.


What is Plain Global English?

Plain Global English is straightforward and free from jargon, slang, and idiomatic expressions. It focuses on clarity and simplicity, ensuring the message is easily understood. I learned about Plain English as Head of Communications at Seafish in the 2000s. A team member referred me to it, and I found it extremely useful while working in Hong Kong.


Why Avoid Colloquialisms?

Colloquialisms are informal expressions often specific to a particular region or group. While they can add colour to language, they can also lead to misunderstandings, especially in international contexts. For instance, phrases like "close of play" or "jump on it" might confuse non-native speakers.


Benefits of Using Plain Global English

  • Clarity: Your message is clear and unambiguous.

  • Accessibility: More people, including non-native English speakers, can understand you.

  • Professionalism: It creates a more professional tone, especially in business communication.

  • Efficiency: It reduces the need for clarification and follow-up questions.


Common Colloquialisms and Their Plain Global English Alternatives

  • Close of play: Use "end of the day" or "by the end of business hours".

  • Jump on it: Use "address it immediately" or "take action quickly".

  • Ballpark figure: Use "approximate number" or "rough estimate".

  • Give the green light: Use "approve" or "give permission".

  • Hit the nail on the head: Use "accurately describe" or "exactly right".

  • Bite the bullet: Use "face the challenge" or "accept the situation".

  • On the same page: Use "in agreement" or "understand each other".


How to Write in Plain Global English

  • Know Your Audience: Understand who you are communicating with and tailor your language to their level of understanding.

  • Be Concise: Use short sentences and avoid unnecessary words.

  • Use Active Voice: Active voice makes your writing more direct and lively.

  • Avoid Jargon and Technical Terms: Unless necessary, avoid using industry-specific language that everyone might not understand.

  • Use Simple Words: Choose words that are familiar and straightforward.

  • Provide Examples: When explaining complex ideas, use examples to make them more understandable.

  • Test Your Writing: Read your text aloud or use readability tools to ensure it’s easy to understand.


Using plain Global English and avoiding colloquialisms can significantly improve communication, particularly in international contexts. Focusing on clarity and simplicity ensures your message is clear, professional, and accessible to a broader audience. This can avoid misunderstandings and help you communicate more effectively.


At Mandy Queen PR, we champion this approach in our PR and marketing campaigns, ensuring our clients’ messages are understood worldwide. By focusing on simplicity and clarity, we help our clients connect with diverse markets and avoid misunderstandings arising from colloquial language.


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