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Wednesday, 6 December, 2000, 14:00 GMT
Alicia leaves us Clueless
Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone: "Foot in Mouth" winner
Hollywood star Alicia Silverstone has won an unenviable Plain English Campaign award.

Her comments about Clueless, the film in which she made her name, persuaded judges to give her the top prize in the Golden Bull awards for gobbledegook.

In a newspaper interview, she gushed: "I think that Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light.

"I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

It won her the Foot in Mouth prize for what is described as "the most baffling verbal statement of the year".

MoD logo
The MoD wrote a 168-word sentence
John Lister, spokesman for the Plain English Campaign, said: "That quote left us all scratching our heads and that's exactly what the Foot in Mouth award is all about."

The campaign hands out annual awards for the worst abuses of the English language.

She inherits her award from the former England manager Glenn Hoddle who lifted the title for his words about people with disabilities.

"I do not believe that," he said. "At this moment in time, if that changes in years to come I don't know, but what happens here today and changes as we go along that is part of life's learning and part of your inner beliefs."


A multi-agency project catering for holistic diversionary provision to young people for positive action

Luton Education Authority on go-karting
The Plain English Campaign was founded 21 years ago to promote the writing of good English and highlight the way in which organisations hide behind jargon in explaining themselves to the public.

There are a record 11 winners this year. One of them, a Ministry of Defence draft deed of indemnity, is a single sentence containing an incredible 168 words (see below).

Another indemnity clause issued by the internet search engine Yahoo! had exactly 120 words without a full stop (also see below).

The Luton Education Authority described go-karting as "a multi-agency project catering for holistic diversionary provision to young people for positive action".

Plain English Campaign logo
Eleven "winners" were named
The Liverpool Architecture and Design Trust picked up a prize for an advertisement describing an open day as a "unique annual opportunity".

The group also handed out what it called the "good awards" to those it felt excelled in explaining often complicated issues to the public.

Among the recipients were BBC Learning Support for "Fighting FAT - Fighting FIT" and Channel Four Television for "When somebody dies".

Each will receive a Crystal Mark seal of approval which now appears on more than 5,500 documents written in plain English.


The MoD clause reads:

... that we shall not be discharged or released from our obligations under this deed by any arrangement or agreement made between you and the contractor or a receiver, administrative receiver, administrator, liquidator or a similar officer of the contractor, or by any renegotiation, substitution, alteration, amendment or variation (however fundamental) and whether or not to our disadvantage, to or of, the obligations imposed upon the contractor or any other person or by any forbearance granted by you to the contactor or any other person as to payment, time, performance or otherwise or by any release or variation (however fundamental) of, any invalidity in, or any failure to take, perfect or enforce any other indemnity, guarantee or security in respect of the obligations to which this deed relates or by any other matter or thing which but for this provision might exonerate us and this notwithstanding that such arrangement, agreement, renegotiation, substitution, alteration, amendment, variation, forbearance, matter or thing may have been made, granted or happened without our knowledge or assent.

The Yahoo! Limitation of Liability clause reads:

You expressly acknowledge and agree that Yahoo! shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, incidential, special, consequential or exemplary damages, including but not limited to, damages for loss of profits, goodwill, use, data or other intangible losses (even if Yahoo! has been advised of the possibility of such damages), resulting from: (i) the use or the inability to use the service; (ii) the cost of procurement of substitute goods and services resulting from any goods, data, information or services purchased or obtained or messages received or transactions entered into through or from the service, (iii) unauthorised access to or alteration of your transmission or date; (iv) statements or conduct of any third party on the service; or (v) any other matter relating to the service

A proposed rule change for a "prestigious golf club" reads:

It is not subject to any commercial influence and no Member shall, except for professional services rendered at the request of the Committee, receive any profit, benefit or payment from or at the expense of the Club nor any commission or percentage with reference to the purchase or provision of intoxicating liquor nor any direct or indirect pecuniary benefit from its supply by the Club to its Members, Guests or Visitors apart from any benefit accruing to the Club as a whole and apart also from any benefit which a person derives indirectly by reason of the supply giving rise to, or contributing to the general gain from the carrying on of the Club.

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