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HOW TO WRITE PLAIN ENGLISH
Writing that considers our customers and explains what the government requires and why we require it improves the relationship between the government and the public it serves. It decreases government costs, because our readers understand what we are asking them to do or what they have to do to get a benefit. It also decreases burden on the public, because it takes less time to read and respond to clear material.
On the following pages we'll show you some techniques that will help you to write so your readers can understand what you have to say. Some of the techniques are writing skills--using simple words and phrases instead of unnecessarily complicated and wordy ones. Others are presentation skills--displaying the information in a way that is readable and visually appealing.
Remember these three principles:
We've developed a guidance document, Writing User-Friendly Documents, with the assistance of several private sector partners We hope this guidance will help you write plain language documents that are understandable by your readers on first reading.
The National Literacy Secretariat, Canada developed a very nice tutorial called "Plain Train."
And here's a short document prepared by the Veteran's Benefits Administration (VBA) to help you with emphasis in letters and other documents.
Here's another helpful document from VBA. It discusses different ways to test your documents, and when you should use each method.