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Write in plain English

Plain English is direct, everyday language.

According to the Plain English Campaign in the UK, plain English is:

"A message, written with the reader in mind and with the right tone of voice, that is clear and concise."

Plain English is for everyone. Plain English isn't 'dumbed-down'. It can be used for any kind of business writing and it can be aimed at any audience.

We all appreciate plain English, particularly when it helps us find and understand information quickly and easily.

When you write content for DCJ, use plain English.

When you write content for any of our digital products, use plain English.

Sometimes, there will be exceptions – perhaps you need to publish a research report or a technical or academic paper, and it won’t be possible to write the whole thing in a plain, simple way. In this case, think about some helpful tools you can insert into your content, such as:

  • A plain English summary, describing the purpose and content of the material.
  • A plain English glossary or word list, explaining the key words.

There is a movement toward the use of plain English across the whole of the NSW Government, including within DCJ. If you need training in this way of writing, speak to your colleagues or manager.

If you’d like some tips to help you get started right away, here are some resources that you may find useful:

Sometimes, we publish content in an Easy Read format. This is a method of presenting information in a simplified way, using pictures to support text. It is helpful when communicating with people with cognitive or intellectual disability, adults with low levels of literacy, older people and in Aboriginal audiences. When creating content specifically for these audiences, please consider the use of an Easy Read version of your material.

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Last updated: 28 Oct 2020