Wikipedia:Examples of simpler English
|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia users. Essays may represent common ideas, or ideas that many users would not support. They are not rules. Think carefully about what they say before following them.|
This page is for examples of how to write simpler English.
|Difficult English||Simpler English||Why is it simpler?|
1. Some countries, including Britain and France...
2. The Nearctic Ecozone includes most of North America
|for example, in etc.:
1. Some countries, for example Britain and France...
2. Most of North America is in the Nearctic Ecozone.
|"include" is not a common word, see the lists here.|
|like: Fish like cod live in...||for example: Fish, for example cod, live ...||"Like" has a lot of different meanings. It can also mean "love", "similar", and "similar to". "For example" has one meaning.|
|like: Carpets are like rugs.||similar to: Carpets are similar to rugs.||"Like" has a lot of different meanings. It can also mean "love", "similar", and "for example". "Similar to" has one meaning.|
1. He is known as...
2. It is considered...
3. It is made of...
4. It is used for...
5. The name given to...
6. Planets are divided into three sorts.
1. People know him as...
2. Many / some people think it is...
3. There is ... in it
4. We use it for...
5. The name which we give to...
6. There are three sorts of planets.
|If you can use the active form, it is easier for learners.|
|reduced relative clauses:
1. The man walking past the door was Bob
2. The man given the letter was Bob
3. Antigua and Barbuda is an island nation located in the eastern Caribbean Sea
|full relative clauses, or rewriting:
1. The man who was walking past the door was Bob
2. Bob got the letter.
3. Antigua and Barbuda is an island nation in the eastern Caribbean Sea
|This can make confusing sentences: "The horse raced past the barn fell". |
It is also difficult for learners to guess what is missing.
1. The chalk comes out of the eraser so it can be used again.
2. Since we can use geometry to describe geometrical shapes...
1. Because the chalk comes out of the eraser, it can...
2. Because we can use geometry ...
|"Since" has another meaning: "He has lived there since 1989". |
"So" can have many meanings: "He washed the eraser so the chalk would come out"; "The eraser was so chalky that...".
"Because" has one meaning. Learners usually learn "because" before "since" or "so".
A book with such a cover is a paperback.
A book with this sort/type of cover is a paperback.
|In books of English as a foreign language, "such a" with this meaning comes quite late.|
"Such a" can also mean "very", e.g.: It's such a big book!"
John Brown used to live in London, but now he lives in York.
|In the past/Before:
In the past, John Brown lived in London...
Before, John Brown lived in London
|"Used to" can also mean "we use it to...":|
Nickel is used to make coins.
"Used to" as a past form comes very late in books on English as a foreign language.
As a boy, John Brown would go fishing in the river.
|past + often:
When he was a boy, John Brown often went fishing...
|Learners usually know "would" as in these examples:|
Would you like a cup of tea?
I would buy one if I had enough money.
This past construction with "would" comes very late in learners' books.