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The Complete Plain Words  
Cover of 5th impression, 1958
Author Sir Ernest Gowers
Country United Kingdom
Publisher HMSO
Published in

The Complete Plain Words is a style guide for British English written by Sir Ernest Gowers and published in 1954. It has never been out of print. It comprises expanded and revised versions of two pamphlets that he wrote at the request of Sir Edward Bridges (then head of the Civil Service); Plain Words, published in 1948 as a two-shilling pamphlet aimed at civil servants and An ABC of Plain Words which was published in 1951.[1] [2]

The Complete Plain Words was revised by Sir Bruce Fraser in 1973, and by Sidney Greenbaum and Janet Whitcut in 1986 (ISBN 0-11-701121-5).


  1. ^ Burchfield, R. W. Gowers, Sir Ernest Arthur (1880–1966). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.  
  2. ^ Gowers, Ernest (1958). The Complete Plain Words (Fifth impression, with amendments ed.). Her Majesty's Stationery Office. pp. iii, 1.   "The purpose of this book is to help officials in their use of written English as a tool of their trade."

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