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  • Sarah Higgins-Grove

Writing in plain English

I’ve just completed my Plain English for Editors course with the CIEP (Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading). Plain English is a style of writing that enables readers to understand a message the first time they read it. It uses short, clear sentences and everyday words, without unnecessary jargon. Here are some tips:


- Keep sentences short – no more than 15-20 words per sentence

- Be concise and direct – avoid negatives and use you and we

- Check grammar and punctuation – but put clarity first

- Use the active voice – for more engaging reading

- Write for your reader – use words they’ll understand

- Structure your writing – using headings and lists.


Writing in plain English allows your message to reach as many people as possible. It’s ideal for guidebooks, manuals, training material and public information. Online, it can help businesses communicate clearly and quickly in an environment where attention spans are short. It can also show confidence, clarity of thought and a friendly approach to customer service.


This is a great course from the CIEP!


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