Government bans Latin abbreviations on its websites to avoid confusion

The Telegraph is reporting that the government is to ban all Latin abbreviations on all its websites to avoid confusing non-English speakers.

Phrases such as etc, ie, and eg will be phased out from all GOV.UK sites because foreign speakers find them “difficult to read”.

A spokesman added the phrases could even confuse English speakers who were “under stress or in a hurry”. Campaigners said the decision was to give up Latin was “short-sighted” because they have been part of common parlance for hundreds of years.

Writing on the blog Inside GOV.UK, GDS content manager Persis Howe explained: “We promote the use of plain English on GOV.UK. We advocate simple, clear language. Terms like eg, ie and etc, while common, make reading difficult for some.

“Anyone who didn’t grow up speaking English may not be familiar with them. Even those with high literacy levels can be thrown if they are reading under stress or are in a hurry – like a lot of people are on the web.”

Roger Wemyss Brooks of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, which teaches Latin language courses, condemned the move. “Latin is part of our cultural heritage and it’s part of the basis of English. It unites us with other cultures throughout Europe and the world who have a connection with the Romance languages.”

More at: Government bans Latin abbreviations on its websites to avoid confusion

Do you agree with this move to remove latin abbreviations  Or is it an important part of the English language? Let us know  your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Girls less confident as they grow older
Teach First calls on new government to tackle inequality in education
Categories: News.


  1. Talkloads

    SchoolsImprove but like anyone, if EAL readers can learn to read English they can surely pick up quickly what those terms mean?

  2. benc3003

    SchoolsImprove The terms e.g. and etc were invented by Tiro, the secretary of Cicero. Ideas in use for thousands of years…

Let us know what you think...