3. Plain Language
What is plain language?
Plain language is a way of writing and presenting information so it is
clear and concise and so the reader knows how to act on the information.
We have to think about the needs of the client in every piece of
information we produce.
This is not a manual on plain language but here are some plain language
techniques to give you an idea of what we mean:24
- Use plain words and simple expressions.
- Use short sentences.
- Use only one or two ideas per sentence.
- Use the active voice.
- Use verbs rather than nouns made from verbs (e.g., “suggest,”
not “make a suggestion”).
- Cut out unnecessary words.
- Use personal pronouns.
- Be positive in tone.
- Use white space effectively in the layout.
- Keep lines to a reasonable length.
- Use bullets wherever possible.
- Use a serif font in written material (this is a serif font) in the body
of the text rather than sans serif (Arial is best used in headings).
24. Gordon Writing Group, “Plain Language: All You Really Need”