plainlanguage.gov

plainlanguage.gov www.plainlanguage.gov - the official website of PLAIN. The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is a group of federal employees from many different agencies and specialties.

Our site serves federal advocates for clarity in government

Plain Language Writing — An Essential Part Of Accessibility#plainlanguagehttps://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewpulrang/2020...
11/19/2020
Plain Language Writing — An Essential Part Of Accessibility

Plain Language Writing — An Essential Part Of Accessibility

#plainlanguage

https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewpulrang/2020/10/22/plain-language-writing---an-essential-part-of-accessibility/?sh=5b8860157935

Wider, more reliable availability of Plan Language information has enormous potential to reduce the most severe barriers to equality for people with intellectual, developmental, and learning disabilities. It’s not hard to see how it can also save people’s finances, freedom, health, and lives.

10/30/2020
stlcc.edu

Passive voice and zombies are scary. Equally as scary—vampire verbs! See this guide from St. Louis Community College to keep “to be” verbs from sucking the life out of your writing. Happy Halloween! #PlainLanguagehttps://stlcc.edu/docs/student-support/academic-support/college-writing-center/to-be-verbs.pdf

This Halloween, listen to US National Archives to save your writing from the zombies in passive voice. “Don't be afraid ...
10/29/2020
Plain Writing Tips - Passive Voice and Zombies

This Halloween, listen to US National Archives to save your writing from the zombies in passive voice. “Don't be afraid to eradicate the mindless ghoul of passive voice from your writing. After all, if you are reading this sentence, you must have . . . brains!” https://www.archives.gov/open/plain-writing/tips/passive-voice.html

This week's Plain Language writing tip comes from Zombie Defy-er Hilary Parkinson. In honor of Halloween, this week's plain language tip is about the passive voice. And zombies. Like mindless zombies thwarted by a chain-link fence, many writers struggle with the passive voice. There's something abou...

Remove the complicated from science communication and make it accessible to everyone through #PlainLanguage. “Science co...
10/27/2020
Making Science Accessible for All - The Plainspoken Scientist

Remove the complicated from science communication and make it accessible to everyone through #PlainLanguage. “Science communication should reflect the aims, and then meet the needs of those we are seeking to communicate to.” https://blogs.agu.org/sciencecommunication/2020/10/19/making-science-accessible-for-all/

How hot is Jupiter? Can you show the process of chromosome segregation? How does the brain control movement in your leg? All this science seems complicated because of the scientific jargon but there is a lot more to experiencing these basic concepts of life than just reading some heavy worded paragr...

Making sure you have accessible web content in #PlainLanguage not only attracts visitors to your site, but also helps th...
10/26/2020
Plain Language Web Writing Tips

Making sure you have accessible web content in #PlainLanguage not only attracts visitors to your site, but also helps them stay. These web writing tips from DigitalGov can get you started. https://digital.gov/resources/plain-language-web-writing-tips/

On the Web, people are in a hurry. They skim and scan, looking for fast answers to their questions, so it’s important to get to the point—quickly! Help your readers complete their tasks with these Plain Language writing tips: Audience Write for your reader. Don’t write for the experts, the law...

#PlainLanguage and user-centered design work together to deliver clear content your audience can use. Check out the UX G...
10/23/2020
18F: Digital service delivery | Introducing the UX Guide

#PlainLanguage and user-centered design work together to deliver clear content your audience can use. Check out the UX Guide from 18F for best practices and other helpful tips. https://18f.gsa.gov/2020/08/04/introducing-the-ux-guide/

At GSA’s 18F, one thing we do on every project is human-centered design. We use the broader term user experience (UX) design to refer to a set of human-centered methods and practices we use in our work. Our new UX Guide documents some of our practices and holds helpful resources.

10/22/2020
Plain Language Basics: Online Workshop

Even though our in-person trainings remain on hold during the pandemic, you can always check out one of our recent #PlainLanguage webinars on demand. https://youtu.be/XbLno4xrW8A

PLAIN’s been providing learning opportunities in person for years; now, we have to do our workshop virtually. How can we do it so we meet our audience’s need...

Rather than explaining scientific or technical jargon, it may be better to avoid it altogether. “Non-scientists feel shu...
10/20/2020
Words matter: jargon alienates readers

Rather than explaining scientific or technical jargon, it may be better to avoid it altogether. “Non-scientists feel shut out and confused by articles that use technical language—even if it’s defined.” #PlainLanguage https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00580-w#:~:text=Non%2Dscientists%20feel%20shut%20out,language%20%E2%80%94%20even%20if%20it's%20defined

Non-scientists feel shut out and confused by articles that use technical language — even if it’s defined.

Register for our 3rd Federal #PlainLanguage Summit happening Oct. 27-28. What’s new for this year? We divided it into mo...
10/19/2020
Plain Language Summit 2020

Register for our 3rd Federal #PlainLanguage Summit happening Oct. 27-28. What’s new for this year? We divided it into morning and afternoon sessions, so register for 1 session, all 4, or something in between. https://digital.gov/event/2020/10/27/plain-language-summit-2020/

Join us for discussion from government and private-sector leaders on how to advance plain language in government communications. Hear lessons learned and victories of every size.

Let's continue the #PlainLanguage celebration. Check out this video from Center for Plain Language as we reflect on the ...
10/14/2020
Happy 10th Anniversary Plain Writing Act

Let's continue the #PlainLanguage celebration. Check out this video from Center for Plain Language as we reflect on the 10th anniversary of the Plain Writing Act. https://centerforplainlanguage.org/happy-10th-anniversary-plain-writing-act/

Happy 10th Anniversary Plain Writing Act October 12, 2020 The Plain Writing Act is turning 10 years old on October 13, 2020. The Act gave U.S. federal employees the legal oomph to turn the stereotype that government writing is overly complicated, stilted, and obtuse on its head. No longer was plain....

George Orwell, famous for his novels Animal Farm and 1984, was also a vocal supporter of #PlainLanguage. Follow his 6 ru...
10/09/2020
Write Like George Orwell in 6 Easy Steps

George Orwell, famous for his novels Animal Farm and 1984, was also a vocal supporter of #PlainLanguage. Follow his 6 rules for good writing to “make sure your writing is short, simple, and direct.”
https://medium.com/wehearthealthliteracy/write-like-george-orwell-in-6-easy-steps-bab619db9c0b

George Orwell wasn’t only the guy who wrote that book (or that other book) that you may have read in school. He was also a fierce advocate for social justice, economic equality, and — most relevant…

Getting feedback from your peers helps ensure that you’re speaking in #PlainLanguage. Check out this 1839 letter from Wa...
10/08/2020
A letter from Washington Irving to Edgar Allan Poe that gives feedback on Poe’s writing, 1839.

Getting feedback from your peers helps ensure that you’re speaking in #PlainLanguage. Check out this 1839 letter from Washington Irving to Edgar Allan Poe, in which he compliments Poe’s “simpler” style. https://dp.la/primary-source-sets/the-raven-by-edgar-allan-poe/sources/760

The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.

Australia launched a new government style manual “fit for the digital age.” Included are guidelines on using inclusive l...
10/06/2020
New APS style manual ‘fit for the digital age’ | The Mandarin

Australia launched a new government style manual “fit for the digital age.” Included are guidelines on using inclusive language and reducing jargon. #PlainLanguage https://www.themandarin.com.au/136625-new-aps-style-manual-fit-for-the-digital-age/

The Digital Transformation Agency on Thursday released the guide in Beta, with the hope that the public would provide feedback ahead of its official launch later this year.

The National Weather Service recently concluded a public survey where it asked if weather advisories should be replaced ...
10/02/2020
National Weather Service seeks opinions on potential elimination of the term ‘advisory'

The National Weather Service recently concluded a public survey where it asked if weather advisories should be replaced with easy to understand, #PlainLanguage. The proposal eliminates the term "advisory."

https://www.nbc12.com/2020/06/17/national-weather-service-seeks-opinions-potential-elimination-term-advisory/

A new proposal from the National Weather Service would eliminate "advisories". The NWS wants your opinion.

Access for All conference highlights include: three days of live discussions and on demand video presentations about #Pl...
09/30/2020
Plain Language | Access for All: Plain Language is a Civil Right

Access for All conference highlights include: three days of live discussions and on demand video presentations about #PlainLanguage from communications professionals around the globe.

https://www.accessforallconference.org/

Access for All: Plain Language is a Civil Right, is a virtual conference dedicated to using plain language to break down barriers in society. Join us as we explore five areas where plain language continues to improve people's access to information and services.

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Comments

There should be a "Plain Language Hall of Fame". As part of the inaugural class, I nominate economist, former Civil Aeronautics Board Chairman and plain language supporter, the late Alfred Kahn.
Financial jargon is a universal problem
Do you want to create better content and manage it more effectively? On May 8, The Center for Plain Language is hosting this workshop at the National Press Club. We'd love to see you there. Government employees get a $45 discount. Sign up soon. Spaces are filling up quickly.
Hi, I've been a writer-editor for NPS for many years and appreciate the Plain Language guidelines. The current pages are clear, and could be easier to use if you: 1. provide a pdf of the full guide 2. make the online guide searchable 3. provide an email address to contact someone, not a link that requires setting up a mail server (which some of us gov folks cannot use) 4. keep the listserv as part of the Plain Language site, not linked to a different website (even if it's the "home"). THANK YOU!