Plain Language
Division of Policy and Directives Management (PDM)
What is plain language?

Plain language is...

-Communication that your audience or readers can understand the first time they hear or read it

-Clear, direct, and concise

 

Plain language is not...

-Dumbing down language or talking down to the reader

-Stripping out the technical information

-Just using pronouns and the question and answer format

 

Jameson Island Welcome Sign

Credit: S. Hillebrand

RESOURCES

116 FW 1, Plain Language in
Fish and Wildlife Service Documents

 

Department of the Interior Plain Language Web site

Federal Government Plain Language Website

 


Service Contact: 

Krista Bibb, Division of Policy and Directives Management

(703) 358-1914


How can you make your writing easier to understand?

Click here for a list of plain language tips that you can review every time you start writing.

 

 

Why should you use plain language?

  We serve the public. We want them to understand what we say and what we write about.

We're busy people. We don't want to waste time trying to translate difficult, wordy documents.

Using plain language:
-Shows customer focus

-Eliminates barriers between the Government and the public
-Reduces time spent explaining
-Improves compliance

 


What can happen if you don't use plain language?

If you don't use plain language, you may have to:

-Answer more phone calls

-Write interpretive letters and emails

-Write explanatory documents

-Litigate

Last updated: April 17, 2014

PDM Websites: Centralized Library of Servicewide Policies | FWS Forms | PDM Home Page

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