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Plain Writing: It is the Law

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Course overview

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 (October 13, 2010) requires the Federal government to write all new publications, forms, and publicly distributed documents in a "clear, concise, well-organized" manner. Executive Order 13563 (January 8, 2011), Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, states that "..[our regulatory system] must ensure that regulations are accessible, consistent, written in plain language, and easy to understand." Two other executive orders (E.O. 12866 and E.O. 12988) also cover the use of plain language in regulations.

Who should attend?

All federal employees who write external documents, reports or web content, as well as those who review other people's writing. For maximum benefit from this course, we encourage you to bring a writing sample to class.

Learning outcomes

  • Become familiar with the legislation and OMB's guidance
  • Review PLAIN's (Plain Language Action Information and Network) guidance on how the law impacts you and your agency
  • Define "plain writing" and appreciate its importance to the reader
  • Discover an ally and resource to improve your writing: PLAIN
  • Tap PLAIN's Federal Plain Language Guidelines for excellent examples and tips
  • Review the core rules of writing in plain language
  • Spot examples of writing that fails to meet the requirements of the law
  • Review basic editing techniques that will improve poorly written documents and emails

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