Top 3 tips for writing in plain English

Plain English – writing tips

Whenever you are writing, you want to get your message across clearly. Be that in personal meeting notes, a press release that will be seen by millions or anything in between. One way to achieve this is to write in plain English, in a way that the majority of people will be able to understand. Nobody wants to publish copy that is a chore to read. But how can you write to improve readability and understanding? We’ve put together our top 3 tips for writing in plain English:
 

1. Write as if you are speaking

It helps to imagine you are talking to your audience and write in the same way – minus the slang or the ‘um’s and ‘ah’s of course. If you wouldn’t use particularly big words when talking, then you can safely leave them out of your writing too. We’re not suggesting you drop the rules of grammar in the process. But you should aim to write in a more ‘spoken’ manner to get your point across clearly.
 

2. Use active verbs

Opt to write your verbs in the active instead of the passive voice. For example, say “We started the campaign a year ago” instead of “The campaign was started by us a year ago”. This is a great technique that makes your writing easier to read because it makes it clearer who or what is doing the action of the verb.
 

3. Keep it short

That goes for your sentences, your words, and your paragraphs. Endless text will either cause people to stop reading half way through, or even put them off reading it altogether. And that means you won’t get your message across to them. Limit the length of your sentences to 15-25 words and the length of your paragraphs to no more than a couple of sentences.