Plain English writing tips
These tips come from the specialists who run our Business Writing workshop.
Come on our Business Writing workshop to learn more
Consider structure, language, and layoutThink about your reader and your purpose for writing. Then structure the document by:
Think about the language you'll use.
Finally, use a layout that helps the reader absorb the messages quickly and accurately.
Use verbs to bring your writing alive
By changing nouns and noun phrases to verbs, you make your writing shorter and more reader-friendly.
Hint: watch out for words ending in '-ion', '-ment', '-tion', '-ance', '-ence', '-ancy', '-ency', ‘ism’, and '-ity'.
make provision for = provide
give consideration to = consider
Edit wordy phrases
Give every word you use a job to do. Only use words that are essential to your meaning. Unnecessary words clutter your sentences and crowd out your meaning.
in order to = to
in respect of = about
for the purpose of = to
am not in a position to = can’t
on two separate occasions = twice
pertaining to = about
in light of the fact that = because
Vary sentence length
Aim for an average sentence length of 15–20 words. Short, clear sentences are a hallmark of plain English.
But vary the length of your sentences, or your writing will become boring.