•  Always aim for clarity, engagement, spelling accuracy, grammar, punctuation, and the           correct tone for any written communication.

•  Write for your reader, not yourself. The language used and tone should be suitable for           the audience and the nature of the communication.

•  Use pronouns when you can – us, our, you, we.

•  State your major point(s) first before going into details.

•  Stick to your topic.
 
•  Limit each paragraph to one idea.

•  Write in an active voice. For example, a sentence is written in an active voice when the         sentence's subject performs the action in the sentence: The girl was washing the dog.

•  Use short sentences as much as possible. If your sentence is longer than 25 words, try         breaking it up into shorter sentences.

•  Write using short paragraphs. Try to keep paragraphs to one or two sentences.

•  Use everyday words. If you must use technical terms, explain them on the first reference.

•  Omit unnecessary words. For example, use 'several' instead of 'a number of'.

•  Avoid acronyms, initialisms, and abbreviations.

•  Keep the subject and verb close together.

•  Use headings, lists, and tables to make reading easier.

•  Spell check and proofread your work, and have a colleague proofread it as well.

•  Avoid repeating words. For example, great, extremely, excellent.

The Plain English Campaign awards Crystal Marks for clarity in public information. Their website has helpful online guides to writing in plain English. www.plainenglish.co.uk

The Marketing and Communications Team can provide plain English checks on request.