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Plain Writing

Because You Don't Have Time To Read a Sentence Twice!

Plain writing is clear, concise, well organized, and it can be understood the first time you read it. Although Federal leaders have promoted plain writing for decades, we now have a law requiring it. President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act in October 2010, which requires each Federal agency to adopt a plain writing program. For the first time, Federal agencies are accountable to the President for creating documents that the public can easily understand and use. No more Government gobbledygook!

Here's an example:

What's the difference between the following guidelines for exercise?


The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a half hour or more of moderate physical activity on most days, preferably every day. The activity can include brisk walking, calisthenics, home care, gardening, moderate sports exercise, and dancing.


Do at least 30 minutes of exercise, like brisk walking, most days of the week.

Although the meaning is the same, the second example is easy to understand. Plain Writing matters because citizens deserve to understand Government communication the first time they read it.

Learn more about Plain Writing at the Department of Health and Human Services.