Use clear and simple language
Words are your tools, so it’s important to choose them carefully. Your ideas can be complex and sophisticated, but your writing should express them simply.
Clearly written messages also show respect and consideration for your audience, which helps build better relationships. The following writing tools will help you do that.
Connect with your audience directly by using words like ‘you’, ‘we’ and ‘I’, if that’s an appropriate tone for your message. Think of your written words as the start of a conversation.
Match your level of technical language to your audience. Academic staff will understand the meaning of some phrases and terms about curriculum or assessments, but students may not. If you have to use bureaucratic, technical or legal terms, include a definition or explanation.
Using plain and clear language helps your audience read, understand and use the information you are giving them.
Where possible, choose a simple word or phrase over a complex one.
Writing in short, simple words doesn’t mean you are ‘dumbing down’ the message. It means you are communicating your important and complex ideas as clearly and effectively as possible.
The principles of plain language include:
- structuring your message logically
- using headings, subheadings, lists and tables to help readers navigate through your material
- writing short, uncomplicated sentences and leaving out anything that isn’t necessary for your message
- choosing common, everyday words rather than jargon or technical terms
- only using acronyms when absolutely necessary and always defining them the first time they appear
- using white space, typography that is easy to read and visual tools.
|a large number of||many||in order that||for, so|
|advantageous||helpful||in regard to||about|
|ameliorate||improve||in the event that||if|
|consolidate||combine, join, merge||optimise||perfect|
|constitutes||is, forms, makes up||pertaining to||about, of, on|
|due to the fact that||because||regarding||about|
|endeavour||try||subsequently||after or later|
|erroneous||wrong||successfully complete||complete, pass|
|implement||carry out||was of the opinion that||thought|
|in lieu of||instead||with the exception of||except for|