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Plain English WRITINGUSER-FRIENDLYDOCUMENTS Linda Mason, Ed.D. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

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Presentation on theme: "Plain English WRITINGUSER-FRIENDLYDOCUMENTS Linda Mason, Ed.D. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education"— Presentation transcript:

1 Plain English WRITINGUSER-FRIENDLYDOCUMENTS Linda Mason, Ed.D. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

2 PLAIN LANGUAGE WEBSITE

3 Plain Language WRITING USER-FRIENDLY DOCUMENTS An online tutorial An online tutorial A reference manual A reference manual

4 INTRODUCTION – How can we be better writers? Engage your reader Engage your reader Write clearly Write clearly Write in a visually appealing style Write in a visually appealing style

5 How can you engage your readers? Identify your audience Identify your audience Organize to meet your reader’s needs Organize to meet your reader’s needs Use a question-and-answer format Use a question-and-answer format

6 How can you engage your readers? Use “you” and other pronouns to speak directly to the readers Use “you” and other pronouns to speak directly to the readers Use the active voice Use the active voice Use the appropriate tone Use the appropriate tone

7 How can you write more clearly? Use short sentences Use short sentences Write to one person, not to a group. Write to one person, not to a group. Use the simplest tense you can. Use the simplest tense you can.

8 How can you write more clearly? Use “must” to convey requirements Use “must” to convey requirements Place words carefully Place words carefully Use “if-then” tables Use “if-then” tables

9 How can you write more clearly? Avoid words and constructions that cause confusion Avoid words and constructions that cause confusion Use contractions when appropriate Use contractions when appropriate

10 A grant writing professor was lecturing to his Grant Writing Workshop one day. “Use the Plain English style to write clearly. In English," she said, “A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative." A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

11 How can you make your documents visually appealing? Use lots of informative headings Use lots of informative headings Write short sections Write short sections Include only one issue in each designated paragraph Include only one issue in each designated paragraph

12 How can you make your documents visually appealing? Use vertical lists Use vertical lists Use tested emphasis techniques to highlight important points Use tested emphasis techniques to highlight important points –Bold –Italics –Not ALL CAPS

13 List of simpler words and phrases Grant Writing Resources Grant Writing Resources

14 Q: How many grant writers does it take to change a light bulb? A: 100. Ten to do it, and 90 to write document number GC , Multitasking Incandescent Source System Facility, of which 10% of the pages state only "This page intentionally left blank", and 20% of the definitions are of the form "A consists of sequences of non-blank characters separated by blanks".

15 Plain Language REVIEW Engage your reader Engage your reader Write clearly Write clearly Write in a visually appealing style Write in a visually appealing style


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