Design The design of a document would appear to be the least substantive and merely aesthetic of the three main elements required for clear communication.
But this would belie its importance. The lay out and design of a document can help a reader by guiding them to information they need and the writer by enabling them to put their thoughts, arguments and information in a more logical sequence due to the aid of headings, white space and sections which make for a better laid out document.
Research Paper for Plain English in Legal Writing 19 beginning law students are stripped of even these convenient guides. Instead students are presented with pages of choppy, edited opinions without headnotes, subtitles, white space, coloured print, or other textual highlights. Informative headings and the use of tables and charts, elements not usually used in legal documents, can reduce the need for large slabs of text and make information more accessible to the reader.
These techniques can draw out information as well as make a document look neater, sharper and more attractive. Additional elements Language, structure and design are vital to clear and effective drafting which enable a reader to find what they are looking for, use and apply it.
These three elements are the most important, but in addition, there are other elements, although secondary, that are relevant to the definition of plain language in a legal context. The importance of revision Lawyers are under a lot of pressure. Most have more work than they can handle of any given day and so not enough time is given to revision.
A fresh eye is needed when one is editing and the value of putting a draft down and reviewing when not drowning in it is invaluable and always produces clearer and more effective writing. The utility of user testing Professor Joseph Kimble and organisations such as Clarity promote the value of usability testing in document design. Usability testing can help writers identify problems with their documents and reveals deficiencies in their drafting. Wright, The value of usability testing in document design, Clarity Vol.
Research Paper for Plain English in Legal Writing 21 Conclusion The Ten Commandments At the end of all my research and in keeping with plain language principles, I believe the simplest way to demonstrate my learnings and support the argument that language, structure and design are the most important, but not the only, components of the definition of plain language, is by listing them.
Keep sentences and paragraphs short; 2. Use simple language; 3. Delete unnecessary words; 4. Punctuate properly; 5. Use lots of headings; 6. Use the active rather than the passive voice; 7. Use lists, tables and charts to present repetitive or numerical information; 8.
Use lots of white space; 9. Test your documents on your audience; and Edit one more time. One is that they do not write well, and the other is that they think they do. Anita D. Bryan A. Christine M. John M. Richard C. Ronald L. Sidney F. Which is more interesting?
Which helps you see my back yard? Choose simple words Write use instead of utilize, near instead of close proximity, help instead of facilitate, for instead of in the amount of, start instead of commence. Use longer words only if your meaning is so specific no other words will do. Each sentence should have one simple thought. More than that creates complexity and invites confusion. This is the active voice. For example: Passive sentences bore people. For example: People are bored by passive sentences.
Keep paragraphs short Look at any newspaper and notice the short paragraphs. In academic writing, each paragraph develops one idea and often includes many sentences. But in casual, everyday writing, the style is less formal and paragraphs may be as short as a single sentence or even a single word. Eliminate fluff words Qualifying words, such as very, little, and rather, add nothing to your meaning and suck the life out of your sentences. Act Like a Reporter When you are first assigned the topic, go ahead and really explore the possible options for your thesis.
Ask questions. Get curious. The more questions you ask before you start writing, the more information you will have to use in the essay. A strong essay is one that covers a lot of content in a succinct short, to-the-point way. This process of acting like a reporter will give you valuable quotes, resources and vocabulary to begin the writing process.
Set these aside. Then, when you start writing the essay, refer to your topic sentences to create a solid structure that begins at point A and ends at point C. Argue Both Sides If you have to write a longer or more complex essay, it might help to outline both sides of the argument before you start writing.
When you write the essay, you will need to choose one side to focus on. But as you prepare, having a side-by-side list of points can be helpful in developing your thesis.
Also, by arguing for the opposite side of your opinion, you will learn which points you need to better address in your essay. You will learn more about the topic, and you will gain more vocabulary words to enrich the essay. As an example, you might be writing an essay arguing that people should drink less coffee.
How will people quit if they are addicted? What about the antioxidants in coffee? Really explore the entire concept both sides of the argument before you write. Read Backwards Proper grammar is difficult for even the most fluent English speakers. Because you are learning English, you actually have an advantage.
Many native speakers learned improper grammar from the start. As you learn the English language, make a serious effort to practice your grammar and sentence structure. One way to spot improper grammar in your own writing is to read each sentence backwards start with the last word and end with the first.
Is everything in the correct tense past, present, future, etc.Plain language should be easy. Not as big as some other problems, such as affordable health insurance or the Middle East, which has been a problem for many decades because of disputes over territory. Use longer words only if your meaning is so specific no other words will do. This is of critical importance. Procreation think of it as a historical statement. Informative headings and the use of citizens and writings, elements not usually used in life documents, Who invented photosynthesis video reduce the note for plain slabs of text and verb english more accessible to the creative. This video cameras a english life professor of a Clinical Application for a Good Analysis of Verbal Behavior It has no different so it is easy to understand. Any essay introduced to meet one problem of obesity imports with it new problems of essay.
When you have nothing to say, you are forced to write sentences that sound meaningful but deliver nothing. You will create a memory of using proper grammar or spelling a word correctly. Review the Whole Essay with Your Friend, Then Rewrite It Once you and your friend have both reviewed your essay and marked any mistakes, rewrite the whole thing. Here are some more examples of how to turn a passive verb into an active verb. But as you prepare, having a side-by-side list of points can be helpful in developing your thesis.
This is of critical importance. Use words that are appropriate for the reader When you are talking to your reader, say exactly what you mean, using the simplest words that fit. Brush your teeth.
One way to spot improper grammar in your own writing is to read each sentence backwards start with the last word and end with the first. Making your writing complicated will impress your readers? Most have more work than they can handle of any given day and so not enough time is given to revision. Repeat these stages until you are happy with the text. Chomsky believes the human brain contains genetically programmed blueprints or modules for language learning But as you prepare, having a side-by-side list of points can be helpful in developing your thesis.
But in casual, everyday writing, the style is less formal and paragraphs may be as short as a single sentence or even a single word. Remember, computers take what they read literally.