Thursday, September 07, 2017

15 Ways to Write in Plain Language

Writing clearly, simply and in plain language has made it much easier for people to understand legal documents and government forms.  Any information supplied through online publications giving information explaining a process, writing should always be plain and to the point.  Below are some concepts behind plain language:

1. Who are your readers?  Understand and identify their needs.

2. State the purpose of the fontent in an introduction or during navigational content.  Recognize what your readers need to do after reading the content, use your writing to show them how to do it.

3. Arrange the content so that it makes sense to the reader.

4.  Make requirements and responsibilities clear.

5.  Use tables, examples, anecdotes, images to provide clarity.

6.  Keep sentences short, avoid double negatives and keep the subject, verb and object close.

7.  Keep paragraphs short, stick to one topic.

8.  Use second-person pronouns to write to the reader, instead of third-person pronouns.  This will help you to write with an active voice.

9.  When indicating a requirement use must, not shall:"You must include a sample".

10.  Refrain from smothered verbs: "We will decide soon," instead of "We will make a decision soon".

11.  Don't confuse readers with elegant variation, use the same accepted terms every time you refer to them.

12.  Stay away from jargon and legal terminology like herewith, use terms your audience knows.

13.  Present information in a question-and-answer format, using conversational wording.  Providing clear and concise responses.

14.  Exclude unncessary words.

15.  Link wisely.  Don't use generic linking like "click here" etc.

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