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Monday, June 4, 2012

Writing in Plain Language | Cory S. Clements, The Clements Review

I'm impressed that the blog writer, a new intern with the American Association of People with Disabilities, is advocating use of plain language. Clements writes in his blog (updated link):
It's great to be in the nation's capital and to read that Congress thinks plain language is important. On October 11, 2011, the Plain Writing Act of 2010 became fully in force. Congress passed the Act to require agencies to draft all new forms, publications, and publicly distributed documents in easy-to-understand, everyday English.
Clements begins with this brief definition from the Plain Writing Act:
The Act defines Plain Writing as "writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience."
And after highlighting a couple of word usage suggestions, Clements summarizes the five attributes of plain language, as described by the Federal Communications Commission:
  • Concise word use
  • The active voice
  • Cohesion
  • Reader-focus
  • Tone.
For more information, he links to the complete Plain Language Workbook: Five Steps to Clear, Effective Communications for the Federal Communications Commission. You also can get more information at Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide

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