SEC English.

G S C gscole at ARK.SHIP.EDU
Wed Jul 7 16:16:35 UTC 1999

In the Wall Street Journal of 6 July 1999, pp. C1-C2, is a story
titled:  Paper chase: SEC is tough grader, push for clarity slows
offerings.  The article focuses on the SEC's concern with the writing
style of organizations who are trying to raise money for stock and bond

"Like a high-school English teacher wielding a powerful red pencil -- or
perhaps, a cranky newspaper editor -- the SEC has been reviewing,
grading and, in some cases, kicking back filings from hundreds of
companies since October.  That's when it instituted its 'plain English'
rule, which requires all prospectuses filed with the agency to be
written without legalese and jargon, and to be displayed in a readable
format."  According to one lawyer, "There are lawyers all over America
and bankers all over America who are highly educated, who are now being
told by a group of bureaucrats how to write sentences that don't add to
a better understanding."  One company, VerticalNet, was "asked for a
clarification of the term 'e-commerce,' a term that came up 45 times.
The company's CEO responded "That's like asking to define gravity."
More details in the article.

George S. Cole   gscole at
Shippensburg University

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