It takes practice

Why clear language matters, teaching active and passive voice, writing for accessibility, how to shorten sentences

Toot toot! We have made it to 300+ subscribers and we're only on issue five of Plain English Weekly. Thank you so much for sharing it with your pals!

This week, I'm a world away from my usual content design work. Instead, I'm producing the official podcast for the Trans Pyrenees ultra-distance cycling race. It's quite the change of scenery from word-wrangling!

After that, whisper it quietly (the very best way to whisper), I might be looking for my next freelance content gig. I very much enjoy receiving emails about exciting projects, so do get in touch if you fancy a chit chat.

Finally, before I get the heck out of your way, what are you up to? I'd love to know more about what you do and why you're into plain English.

Feel free to reply to this email!


Quick note to say I run exciting plain English workshops with teams from all sorts of organisations. Email if you'd like to know more about how they work.

Making the case for clear language

This is super stuff from Nia Campbell at Content Design London. It's full of useful distinctions and information and a follow up to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) launching its first plain language standard

The bit about whether we should use the term 'plain' or 'clear' language caught my eye! I fussed for ages over whether I should call this newsletter Clear Language Weekly. In the end, I went for Plain English Weekly instead because I felt it was the more recognised phrase. People know it as a thing.

But as you may have spotted, I do generally prefer 'clear language' when I talk about the practical act of – you know – writing clearly.

How to use the active or passive voice

Guess what my 11-year-old twins are doing for their homework this week? They had to go through this ace web page all about the active and passive voice. It includes examples, videos and quizzes. I very much of approve of clear language in schools, though it would be great to see more about how it benefits people.

Mailchimp's guide to writing for accessibility

Writing clearly is just one part of making sure web pages are accessible to as many people as possible. Mailchimp's internal guides are always a handy reference tool and this one on accessible content is a good place to start.

5 easy ways to shorten your sentences

When I run plain English workshops, people often find it more difficult to shorten sentences than they first expect. There's a real knack to it. It takes practice. But the tips in this Outwrite blog post will help you get started.

Want to Create Inclusive UX Content? Avoid These Words

Lots of useful advice in this blog post by Chinwe Uzegbu, published on UX Planet. These are the small details that make a significant difference if you want to write in a way that does not exclude or alienate people.

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