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Plain English

Duration: Half Day

Trainer: Sarah Marriott

Target Audience:

This highly practical workshop-style course is suitable for anyone who needs to write clearly, concisely and effectively.  It is also for anyone who wants to ensure written materials are written in plain English and are accessibel for their target audiences.

Course Aim:

To provide participants with:

  • An understanding of the principles of plain English
  • The skills to communicate clearly in written English

On successful completion of this course, participants will feel confident that they know how to write in plain English - and that emails, web content, reports etc. are clear, readable, professional and user-friendly.

Course objectives:

The course content builds on the participants' existing skills and knowledge, to ensure they take away the ability to write in plain English.

Each learning point is covered in theory and practice.  The practical exercises are tailored to reflect the academic environment and the typical target readership of students, colleagues etc.

The lively format of group discussion, group exercises and pair-work ensures that participants both learn and enjoy the training session.

Course content:

Part 1 - Overview

  • What is plain English?
  • What are the benefits?
  • Literacy issues
  • How to assess readability
  • Consider accessibility
  • Create an effective brief (identifying readers and objectives)

Part 2

  • How to make your writing plain and polished
  • Use everyday English - in an appropriate style
  • How to change the formality and accessiblity of your writing for different audiences
  • Build short, simple strong sentences and paragraphs
  • Cut dead wood, repetition and wordiness
  • Be careful with jargon and buzz words
  • How to use acronyms and abbreviations
  • Using bullets for clarity
  • Use strong active verbs/uncover hidden verbs
  • Common errors of grammar and punctuation

Part 3 - Final Stages

  • How to make it look readable
  • Using a plain English checklist

Pre-course work:

Participants complete an online pre-course questionnaire about their objectives and challenges