No Semicolons Allowed

Illustration of No Semicolons Allowed

Many of us behind We ❤ Health Literacy also ❤ the semicolon. If prompted, we might even gush about its unique and graceful qualities. So it’s with a heavy heart that we must declare — once and for all — that the semicolon has no place in plain language communication. Here’s why. First, many people don’t use the semicolon properly, … Continue reading

Other Things We ❤: The Calgary Charter on Health Literacy

Illustration of person with the Calgary Charter on Health Literacy

We know that you all ❤ health literacy. You probably have some serious health literacy skills, too. But where did you get the ability to understand health information? Did someone teach you that skill? In 2008, The Centre for Literacy hosted a summit in Montreal that set out to redefine health literacy, create curricula, and … Continue reading

Rethinking Readability Scores: Part 1


Readability scores give us a sense of accomplishment. Who among us hasn’t been excited to say, “My material went from an 11th grade reading level to a 6th”? It may be a source of pride for someone who’s trying to write clearly, but what does a reading grade level really tell us? Unfortunately, not much. Readability formulas use … Continue reading

Readability and plain language and health literacy — oh my!

Ven diagram of "Readability," "Health Literacy," and "Plain Language."

What’s the difference between plain language and readability? What about health literacy? Is it all the same? We thought we’d take a quick look at what we’re really talking about when we say readability, plain language, or health literacy. They’re definitely related, but each term means something different. Readability looks at words and sentences to measure … Continue reading