Clear and appropriate language
A simple and clear style of writing can be achieved by:
- Crafting clear paragraphs of an appropriate length with a logical topic progression
- Using parallel structure, especially for headings and lists
- Cutting long sentences (eg an average of 15 words per sentence for publications for a general audience), and removing unnecessary words
- Using first, second and third person, and impersonal voice appropriately to suit your content and engage your audience
- Balancing active and passive voice
- Using abstract nouns and avoiding indirect constructions
- Avoiding jargon and unnecessarily complex words – use everyday words whenever possible
- Using inclusive and respectful language.
Common grammar questions lists some common ‘rules’ relating to grammar that are merely myths and do not need to be followed.
Download our quick guide for easy reference: Keeping up appearances: some basics of style .
Tip. Do not assume that Word (or whatever word-processing program you are using) is always correct when it checks your grammar and spelling! It will miss errors, and flag things that are fine.