Posted in writing

Plain Language Quick Writing Tips ~ 2013-1021


Basic rules of Plain Language

  1. Help your audience find what they need
  2. Help your audience understand what they found
  3. Help your audience use what they found to meet their needs

Use no more than 7 bullets in a series

Use I in the question and You in an answer:

  1. When can I file?
  2. You can file at ….?

Do not use shall, use must.

Use active voice

  1. Make sure the verb follows the subject
  2. Add ‘by’ to end to find the passive voice

Put exceptions at the end

Put cites as a footnote or at the end of a sentence

Confirm all cites before using them

Consider terms of art vs. legalese

  1. You cannot change terms of art
  2. You can change legalese


Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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