Students on our English writing skills course sometimes struggle to write simply.

Some believe it is ‘dumbing down’. We call it ‘writing appropriately’! In other words, we encourage our online English writing skills course students to write for their target reader. We need to write in their language, not ours.

We also need to recognise that language changes according to what the target reader is reading.

For instance, I have a friend who has PHDs in Classics and English Literature. But that doesn’t mean I must write her a memo in perfect prose. She’s a busy person, and prefers memos, reports and mailshots to be expressed simply and clearly.

Yes, she has a wonderful grasp of English. But it isn’t appropriate for her to use it, or read it, all the time.

Our writing course teaches quality … and simplicity

This doesn’t mean compromising on quality.

Any writer’s work must be excellent, but there is little room for ‘purists’, who prefer to write in the Queen’s English. Being a purist won’t pay your bills. So anyone considering taking a writing course to facilitate a commercial writing as a career should consider carefully whether they are able and willing to adapt.

One student told me: ‘I am not convinced that my “old school” nature and style of writing is entirely suited to the modern and regrettable era of, to put it bluntly, dumbing down.

‘This approach does not sit comfortably with me and I do not like to see and in fact have quite an aversion to my language being corrupted in this lazy, complacent and objectionable way.’

But I pointed out that he would have to make major compromises with his writing style to stand any chance of securing a job or getting his work used.

I did in fact agree 100 percent with his comments about the demise of the English language. I am firmly of the view that the rise in violence and aggression in society can partly be attributed to the fact that people do not have the vocabulary to express themselves in a non-confrontational way.

But we also have to live in the marketplace as it is. Selling involves delivering what the customer wants, in the way they want it. And for writers, that usually means using simple language that anyone can understand.

See our English writing skills course