Mathew Stibbe of Articulate Marketing has posted his top ten reference links for writers on his blog “Bad Language”. Some I’ve used, some I haven’t, and some I find more useful than others — but all of them are worth a look.
Another I find interesting is the site of the Plain English Campaign. I don’t use it very often, but they have a nifty little tool called “Drivel Defence” that you can download to your desktop. It analyses plain text or web files, reporting on individual and average sentence length, and suggesting alternatives words from the Plain English list that may improve the clarity of your writing.
It’s by no means foolproof, but if you use it in conjunction with the various Plain English writing guides available on the site it can help you to write in clear, accessible and unambiguous language.
As with all other writing aids, rules and guides… there are no absolutes. What’s important is getting your message across to your target audience as effectively and efficiently as possible.
As long as you’re achieving that, feel free to bend all the “rules” you want.