Producing Teaching Content

Plain English

Plain language is clear, concise and easy to read. Plain language alternative terms include Plain English or Plain writing.

Why is using Plain English important?

  • Plain English is part of accessible communication.
  • Plain English makes your communication more accessible for all audiences.
  • Plain English can especially benefit readers with dyslexia and visual impairments.
  • Writing in plain English helps readers understand your message.
  • Plain English helps your audience understand what action they need to take.

Resource: University of Kent: Why Plain English

Plain English – Top Tips and resources

You can use Plain English in any communications. For example, emails, your Blackboard course space and teaching and learning materials.

  • Think about your audience.
  • Open with what matters most to your audience.
  • Use “you” and “we”.
  • Avoid the passive voice.
  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short.
  • Use lists.
  • Use the simplest words that work.
  • Avoid nominalisations (“zombie nouns”).

Check your writing using the Hemingway editor. Paste your draft text into the Hemingway editor. The editor helps you spot:

  • overly-long sentences
  • passive voice
  • complex words that you can replace with simpler words