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Plain Language

What Is Plain Language?

Plain language editing strips down your message to the bare essentials and organizes the information in a clear, logical format, allowing information to be easily found and understood.

Plain language editing makes text easier to read by

 

  • organizing information

  • making language consistent and concise

  • removing unnecessary jargon

  • using active voice

  • using short, simple sentences and paragraphs

  • using commonly used words

What Plain Language Isn’t

Plain language editing isn’t about oversimplifying text or condescending to your readers. It’s about making information accessible to as many people in the intended audience as possible. As in all writing and editing, intended audience is key.

 

For example, taking an interoffice memo and removing all the specialized language that the recipients are familiar with and which they use to communicate with on a daily basis isn’t helpful and may end up getting in the way of understanding. Rather, the goal is to make sure that the intended readers of that memo know immediately what the memo is about and what action they need to take as a result of it.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune,
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