Clean language is clean in the sense you keep your own experience out of the language, and encourage the other person's own inner world to emerge. It is the process of going beyond the surface structure of language, which has deletions, generalizations and distortions and moving to the deep structure which is the actual experience of the other person.

This video illustrates how people delete some information from their experiences. Though it does not illustrate clean language, it does illustrate its principle.

This is most important in two scenarios.
  • Therapy
  • Modeling

The following are some important points to note in the utilization of Clean Language:

  • Do not look into the subject's eyes in a clean language session. The subject is immersed in his own world and looking into his eyes would only distract him from his inner world.
  • Use the word 'and'. It indicates you are with the subject on his side in the issue.
  • Sometimes when the subject takes a longer time to answer your queries, it serves to remain silent. Silence is often best most of the times in a clean language session.
  • Don't paraphrase what the subject is saying. Instead parrot phrase. Repeat what the subject is saying in the same way the subject says it.
  • Keep the tone of your voice soothing and kinesthetic.
  • Keep your own words, interpretations and experience out of your part of your conversation.
  • The key to another person's experience are:
    1. The step by step thought process.
    2. The kind of words they choose to use.
    3. The metaphors they employ to describe their experiences.
    • This is by no means a comprehensive list of what defines a person's experience.
  • Do not focus much on the syntax of the clean language technology. Instead follow its spirit (or principle) that is, to keep your own experience away and to allow the other person's own world to emerge.

Let us say what the subject says is X.

Zooming In

...And what kind of X is that X? (OR ...And X in what way?)

Zooming Out

...And is there anything else about X?

Other clean language questions

...And where is X?
...And whereabouts is X?

The Zooming In, Zooming Out and whereabouts questions are called the Basic clean language questions.

When someone comes to you with a problem

What would you like to happen?

What needs to happen?

Is there anything else that needs to happen?

Clean language to move from problem state to desired state

  1. First explore problem state.
  2. Take a break.
  3. Then explore desired state.

Developing questions

...And is there a relationship between X and Y?
...And when X, what happens to Y?

Sequence and Source questions

...And then what happens?
...And what happens next?
...And what happens just before X?
...And where could X come from?

Intention questions

...And what would X like to have happen?
...And what needs to happen for X?
...And can X happen?

Specialized Clean Language questions


...And does X have a size or shape?
...And how many X's could there be?
...And how old could X be?
...And what could X be wearing?


...And how far is [symbol's address]?
...And in which direction is [symbol's movement]?
...And is X on the inside or outsiode?
...And where is that X from?
...And where you are going when you go there?
...And what are you drawn to?


...And X is the same/different as Y?
...And what is between X and Y?
...And would Y like [intention of X]?
...And would X be interested in going to Y?

Time and Sequence

...And what is happening now?
...And what just happened?
...And what kind of X was that X before it was [attribute of X]?


...And what determines whether X or Y?


...And how do/will you know?