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Plain language

Plain language simply means writing in a way that is easy to understand. Not many readers have the time to decipher wordy paragraphs, acronyms and bureaucratic speak, so why write that way?

Which would you rather read:

Before: You can obtain more information about the way in which the Department of Organisational Services and Community Development will manage your personal information, including the Department’s updated privacy policy by going directly to our website or requesting a copy from the department.

After: If you want to learn more about how we use your personal information, read our privacy policy or contact us.

They both mean the same thing, but the second example is going to immediately connect with readers and get them to take the call to action.

The principles of plain language are:

  • Consider your reader
  • Know your message
  • Organise your information
  • Write effectively
  • Present clearly

I can help you achieve the plain language principles in your writing.

See my rates or contact me for a quote.

Read some more before and after plain language treatment examples.

Kathryn Buehrig, of KB Editing, is an accredited editor, working for state government as a scientist and also providing freelance editing and proofreading.