Plain Language Guidance and Manuals
Over the last few years we've seen an explosion in the numbers and types of documents presenting plain-language guidelines. We have room for only a few of the best here. Because many of our readers are federal employees, we've focused on materials developed by the federal government. If you know of something you think we should include, contact us.
General guidance and manuals
In the mid-1990s, the federal inter-agency plain language group developed a manual called Federal Plain Language Guidelines. This updated version remains a great basic manual for those of you who want to develop your plain language skills.
Writing Effective Letters supplements the manual listed above with information targeted to letter writers.
The Office of the Federal Register provides excellent guidance on Drafting Legal Documents.
Effective headings are a critical aspect of plain language. In this short discussion, Ginny Redish gives us help writing headings that help our readers find the material they need.
Plain language is important in spoken as well as written communication. Londell Buckson, of the National Archives, developed these brief pointers on plain language in spoken communication.
The Clinton Administration guidelines, issued in July, 1998 to help agencies comply with the Presidential Memo on Plain Language, contain useful material on writing in plain language.
Webcontent.gov offers a video with guidelines for How to Use Plain Language on a Government Website.External link
The Federal Aviation Administration prepared an internal order directing staff to write in plain language.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, as part of its program to encourage financial institutions to write more clearly, developed an excellent Plain English Manual.