3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 1020226_10Writing for your business inplain EnglishQDT Mana...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 2Business English—best practice Active voice Short senten...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 3What is the problem? It takes time to read. Time is money...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 4What is the solution? Know your audience. Use plain Engl...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 5Knowing your audienceUnderstand: Context Viewpoints Ski...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 6Plain English Everyday words Short sentences Active voi...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 7Structure Chunking—the 7±2 rule People only cope with ab...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 8Knowing your audience
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 9Knowing your audience—context In what context will they r...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 10Knowing your audience—viewpoints What is the viewpoint o...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 11Knowing your audience—skills What do they know already?...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 12Knowing your audience—tools Personas Create imaginary p...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 13Knowing the audience—examples Directions around your sub...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 14Knowing the audience—examples Absolute location ‘Melway...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 15Plain English language
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 16Same words each time Always use the same word forsomethi...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 17Everyday wordsTraditional Plain English alternativedespit...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 18More verbs, fewer nouns Avoid making verbs into nouns. ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 19Foreign wordsi.e., e.g., etc., vs, et al, viz, viaergo, a...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 20Old fashioned words These (and many others) have no plac...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 21Short sentences Break sentences up. Aim for 1–2 clauses...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 22Short sentences Break sentences up. Aim for 1–2 clauses...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 23Short paragraphs Have one idea per paragraph.
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 24Write personally—’we’ and ‘you’ Address the reader direc...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 25Write personally—’we’ and ‘you’Personal:‘If you are not s...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 26Write personally—use commands When writing instructions,...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 27Use active voiceQuiz PointTranslate into active voice:The...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 28Use active voiceQuiz Point AnswerThis is in active voice:...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 29Use active voice Who is the agent? The person doing the...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 30Use active voice Passive voice: Object goes first. Sub...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 31Use active voice Active voice: Subject (agent) first—ne...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 32Reifying—when you reify, you: Say that something inanima...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 33Reifying—possible cures Refer to the author of the docum...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 34Reifying is an advanced topic Do not worry too much abou...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 35Is your meaning clear? Simple language can be ambiguous—...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 36When to use plain English: When you want to give: Infor...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 37When to use creative English: Creative writing Poetry ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 38Structure for easy reading
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 39Chunking and 7±2 Only have 7 items at a time. If you ha...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 40Chunking and 7±2 —exampleParty piesPizzaPotato chipsCup c...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 41Chunking and 7±2 —exampleFoodParty piesPizzaPotato chipsC...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 42In what way is information theopposite of food?Chunking a...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 43In what way is information theopposite of food?To digest ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 44Tables If you have more than two pairs ofitems, use a ta...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 45Tables If you have more than two pairs ofitems, use a ta...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 46Headings Put headings and subheadings in yourtext: Read...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 47Headings Make a hierarchy: Normally uses level 1, 2 and...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 48Lists If you list 3 or more items, show them onseparate ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 49Bullets and numbers Numbers: Use when there is order or...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 50Bullets and numbers—example1 Heat the pan.2 Fry onions.3 ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 51Bullets and numbers—example1 Heat the pan.2 Fry onions.3 ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 52Bullets and numbers—exampleFavourite pastimes: Going to ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 53Bullets and numbers—exampleFavourite pastimes: Going to ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 54Bullets and numbers—exampleShopping list:breadlettucepast...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 55Parallel form in lists Have the same word patterns for a...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 56Parallel form in listsFavourite pastimes: Going to the m...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 57Favourite pastimes: Going to the movies, but only to see...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 58Punctuation and grammarrevision! ; . , : ?Misplaced, Dang...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 59Commas 1 Use when the phrase is not essential: Tim, who...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 60Commas 2 Separate items in a list, but Do Not separate ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 61‘Which’ and ‘that’ Which clauses add information. They h...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 62Misuse of modifiers —> ambiguity Changes we are consider...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 63Subject and verb agreement One of the boys has arrived....
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 64Subject and verb agreement Any, none, some, most depend ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 65Pronoun-antecedentagreement The leader and the sponsor h...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 66Tense Present tense He eats the cake. Past tense He a...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 67Person First person (I, we) I eat the cake. Second per...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 68Verb form Indicative (narrative)“The Line Manager author...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 69The greengrocer’s apostrophe Apostrophes have two correc...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 70The greengrocer’s apostrophe Bob the Angry Flower’sQuick...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 71Writing instructions—General best practiceTips for better...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 72Tense Present tense Use most of the time. Past tense ...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 73Shall, Will Shall Do not use. It sounds pompous andlega...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 74Must, Please Must Use sparingly for very important thin...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 75AND, OR in bulleted lists Put AND or OR at the end of ea...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 76Common terms Use consistent naming for everything. Buil...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 77Slash /, (s) Do not use slash /It is ambiguous and confu...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 78Plain English examplesRescuing the reader
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 79Plain English example
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 80Plain English example 2
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 81Our products and services 1 Q-TemplateTM Template and r...
3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 82Our products and services 2 TKO Sales and Consultancy W...
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www.qdt.com.au | Writing for your business in plain English

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From http://www.qdt.com.au — The two keys to plain English business writing are simple direct language and clear structuring of information.

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www.qdt.com.au | Writing for your business in plain English

  1. 1. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 1020226_10Writing for your business inplain EnglishQDT Management ConsultantsMaking Management Easierwww.qdt.com.au
  2. 2. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 2Business English—best practice Active voice Short sentences Bullets and numbers Simple words Verbs not nouns
  3. 3. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 3What is the problem? It takes time to read. Time is money. If your message doesn’t arrive, you lose. Everybody wants quick access toinformation
  4. 4. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 4What is the solution? Know your audience. Use plain English. Structure your information for easyreading.
  5. 5. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 5Knowing your audienceUnderstand: Context Viewpoints SkillsUse tools: Personas Scenarios
  6. 6. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 6Plain English Everyday words Short sentences Active voice and writing personally Same words each time No synonyms Same word pattern Clear meaning
  7. 7. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 7Structure Chunking—the 7±2 rule People only cope with about 7 things at a time. People learn by grouping things into chunks. Tables Headings Bullets and numbers
  8. 8. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 8Knowing your audience
  9. 9. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 9Knowing your audience—context In what context will they read theinformation? Motivation? Pressure or distractions? Other information available? Access to experts for help?
  10. 10. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 10Knowing your audience—viewpoints What is the viewpoint of youraudience? Confident? Caring about detail Willing to use initiative? Potentially hostile?
  11. 11. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 11Knowing your audience—skills What do they know already? What detail do you need? Is it OK to use jargon? What is their reading age? Do you have to use REALLY simplelanguage?
  12. 12. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 12Knowing your audience—tools Personas Create imaginary people who are yourtypical audience members. Make them ‘real’ —create a past, presentand future for them. Scenarios Create imaginary situations for yourpersonas and make them ‘real’.
  13. 13. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 13Knowing the audience—examples Directions around your suburb With residents you can say“Go to the hospital”. Industry jargon—use it when needed. neoplasm (to doctors) tumour (to other people)
  14. 14. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 14Knowing the audience—examples Absolute location ‘Melways’ Map 30, A7 Third shop along Mitchell St from the HighSt corner (partly relative) Relative location Take the third turn left and then the secondturn right.
  15. 15. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 15Plain English language
  16. 16. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 16Same words each time Always use the same word forsomething—Don’t change names forvariety. Use the same word pattern—Don’tchange for the sake of it. Don’t worry about being boring. Transfer information, don’t entertain. Use pictures and colour to reduceboredom.
  17. 17. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 17Everyday wordsTraditional Plain English alternativedespite the fact that though, althoughdetermine decide, work out, set, enddetrimental harmful, damagingdifficulties problemsdiminish lessen, reducedisburse pay, pay outdischarge carry outdisclose tell, showdisconnect cut off, unplugdiscontinue stop, end
  18. 18. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 18More verbs, fewer nouns Avoid making verbs into nouns. Don’t say “Make application”. Say “Apply”. Watch out for noun strings. “tank restraint safety lock emergencyrelease lever”Being brief is good, but you can go too far!
  19. 19. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 19Foreign wordsi.e., e.g., etc., vs, et al, viz, viaergo, ad hoc, per annum, carte blanche,panache, raison d’etre, zeitgeist, chutzpeh Some people don’t know foreign words.Use English!Do keep enjoying them outside your business writing!Quiz Point —What do these mean?
  20. 20. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 20Old fashioned words These (and many others) have no placein business English!heretohereinafterherebyaforesaidbequeathasunder
  21. 21. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 21Short sentences Break sentences up. Aim for 1–2 clauses per sentence.This uses simple language, but it is too long!An orange is a round reddish-yellow fruit, which comes froma medium-sized tree harvested in the winter, and containsVitamin C, essential for the vitality of human blood.
  22. 22. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 22Short sentences Break sentences up. Aim for 1–2 clauses per sentence.This is better!An orange is a round reddish-yellow fruit. It comes from amedium-sized tree harvested in the winter. Oranges containVitamin C, essential for the vitality of human blood.
  23. 23. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 23Short paragraphs Have one idea per paragraph.
  24. 24. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 24Write personally—’we’ and ‘you’ Address the reader directly. Use we and you.This helps you to be clear about who doeswhat.
  25. 25. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 25Write personally—’we’ and ‘you’Personal:‘If you are not satisfied with our service, wemay refund your money.’Impersonal:‘Refunds may be given to customers who considerthat they have not received satisfactory service.’
  26. 26. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 26Write personally—use commands When writing instructions, use commands(imperative).Statement (not imperative):‘Passengers are not permitted to open the doors.Doors may only be opened by crew members.’Command:‘Passengers: Please do not open the doors.Ask a crew member to open them for you.’
  27. 27. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 27Use active voiceQuiz PointTranslate into active voice:The engine is started by thedriver.
  28. 28. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 28Use active voiceQuiz Point AnswerThis is in active voice:The driver starts the engine.
  29. 29. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 29Use active voice Who is the agent? The person doing the action. We usually want to know who the agent is.
  30. 30. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 30Use active voice Passive voice: Object goes first. Subject (agent) last or missing. Reader has to mentally turn it around. Sometimes not clear who does what.‘The form must be signed.’‘The notice was posted by the manager’
  31. 31. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 31Use active voice Active voice: Subject (agent) first—never missing Object last Quicker to read Clear who does what‘Applicants must sign the form.’‘The manager posted the notice.’
  32. 32. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 32Reifying—when you reify, you: Say that something inanimate is an agent.“The report forces us to consider three options””Checking helps you avoid mistakes””The picture shows how to wrap the parcel” Do not correctly identify the agent.(Agent is not real!) Do not communicate the sequence<Agent> <Action> <Object>.
  33. 33. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 33Reifying—possible cures Refer to the author of the document.“The authors of the report force us to consider threeoptions.” Describe action and consequence.”If you check, you may make fewer mistakes.” Describe action to get information.“See the picture to find out how to wrap the parcel.” Use an appropriate verb for the agent,such as ‘is’ or ‘contains’.
  34. 34. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 34Reifying is an advanced topic Do not worry too much about reification. Even this presentation has it. If you worry too much you may: Waste time and effort End up with more verbose results Just watch out for missing agents—Peopleneed to know who is responsible.
  35. 35. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 35Is your meaning clear? Simple language can be ambiguous— Check your work. Get someone else to read it.Hotel SignsNorwayLadies are requested not to have children in the bar.BudapestPlease do not feed the animals. If you have any suitablefood, give it to the guard on duty.
  36. 36. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 36When to use plain English: When you want to give: Information Instructions Warnings Business communication
  37. 37. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 37When to use creative English: Creative writing Poetry Fiction Personal letters Essays Journalism
  38. 38. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 38Structure for easy reading
  39. 39. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 39Chunking and 7±2 Only have 7 items at a time. If you have more than 7, create groups. Give groups names (subheadings). If you have more than 7 groups, groupthe groups and give them names. This is the natural way that everyonelearns.
  40. 40. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 40Chunking and 7±2 —exampleParty piesPizzaPotato chipsCup cakesLamingtonsBirthday cakeSauceIceCordialDrink jugsCupsServiettesPlatesCandlesSparklersMatchesBalloonsStreamersGame prizesTablecloths‘Twister’ gameDonkey poster‘Blu-tack’Donkey tailsTreasure hunt prizesSend invitationsWarm piesMix cordialSet out foodSet up donkey gameSet up treasure hunt
  41. 41. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 41Chunking and 7±2 —exampleFoodParty piesPizzaPotato chipsCup cakesLamingtonsBirthday cakeSauceIceCordialEquipment (food)Drink jugsCupsServiettesPlatesCandlesSparklersMatchesEquipment (other)BalloonsStreamersGame prizesTableclothsGames‘Twister’ gameDonkey poster‘Blu-tack’Donkey tailsTreasure hunt prizesTasksSend invitationsWarm piesMix cordialSet out foodSet up donkey gameSet up treasure hunt
  42. 42. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 42In what way is information theopposite of food?Chunking and 7±2
  43. 43. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 43In what way is information theopposite of food?To digest food, we break it downinto components.To digest information, we build itup into chunks.Chunking and 7±2
  44. 44. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 44Tables If you have more than two pairs ofitems, use a table.The Blue team has 5 members, the Red teamhas 7 members and the Green team has 4members.
  45. 45. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 45Tables If you have more than two pairs ofitems, use a table.The Blue team has 5 members, the Red team has 7members and the Green team has 4 members.Team MembersBlue 5Red 7Green 4
  46. 46. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 46Headings Put headings and subheadings in yourtext: Readers can quickly see what it is about. Readers may only need to read some parts. The headings ‘chunk’ the information for easydigestion.
  47. 47. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 47Headings Make a hierarchy: Normally uses level 1, 2 and 3. Shows the structure of your document. Makes it easy to generate a table of contents.
  48. 48. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 48Lists If you list 3 or more items, show them onseparate lines. If there are 9 or more items, split the listinto two levels (‘chunking’). Know when to use bullets and numbers.
  49. 49. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 49Bullets and numbers Numbers: Use when there is order or rank:StepsRanking Bullets: Use for other lists. Neither: OK for single line lists.
  50. 50. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 50Bullets and numbers—example1 Heat the pan.2 Fry onions.3 Brown the meat.4 Add the curry paste.5 Fry for two minutes.6 Add stock or water.7 Simmer for 20 minutes.
  51. 51. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 51Bullets and numbers—example1 Heat the pan.2 Fry onions.3 Brown the meat.4 Add the curry paste.5 Fry for two minutes.6 Add stock or water.7 Simmer for 20 minutes.
  52. 52. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 52Bullets and numbers—exampleFavourite pastimes: Going to the movies, but only to seeshows that cheer people up Watching football on TV Walking in the bush Having coffee with friends
  53. 53. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 53Bullets and numbers—exampleFavourite pastimes: Going to the movies, but only to seeshows that cheer people up Watching football on TV Walking in the bush Having coffee with friends
  54. 54. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 54Bullets and numbers—exampleShopping list:breadlettucepastamilkbananas
  55. 55. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 55Parallel form in lists Have the same word patterns for all listitems—don’t mix: Words Phrases Questions Commands
  56. 56. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 56Parallel form in listsFavourite pastimes: Going to the movies, but only showsthat cheer people up Do you like watching football as muchas I do? I go walking in the bush every week. Coffee with friendsDon’t do it thisway!
  57. 57. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 57Favourite pastimes: Going to the movies, but only to seeshows that cheer people up Watching football on TV Walking in the bush Having coffee with friendsParallel form in lists
  58. 58. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 58Punctuation and grammarrevision! ; . , : ?Misplaced, Dangling and Squinting
  59. 59. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 59Commas 1 Use when the phrase is not essential: Tim, who smokes, may get cancer. Not when the phrase is essential forthe sentence: People who smoke may get cancer.
  60. 60. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 60Commas 2 Separate items in a list, but Do Not separate subject and verb:The large, grey object fell from the ceiling.Here Not here
  61. 61. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 61‘Which’ and ‘that’ Which clauses add information. They havea comma.Go to the main menu, which shows alloptions. That clauses help to identify or distinguish.List all orders that have status Approved.
  62. 62. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 62Misuse of modifiers —> ambiguity Changes we are considering will affect allnew members. (misplaced) People who jog often have knee injuries.(squinting) Walking around the town, the prosperitywas easy to see. (dangling)Don’t do it thisway!
  63. 63. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 63Subject and verb agreement One of the boys has arrived. Several have gone home.
  64. 64. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 64Subject and verb agreement Any, none, some, most depend on thecontext Most of the money is in the bank. Most of the crew are aboard. Collective nouns depend on the context The team has arrived. (as one) The team are getting changed. (asindividuals)
  65. 65. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 65Pronoun-antecedentagreement The leader and the sponsor haveplayed their parts. My friend and brother, Ian, lent me hiscar for the occasion. Everyone has his own path in life.
  66. 66. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 66Tense Present tense He eats the cake. Past tense He ate the cake. Future tense He will eat the cake.
  67. 67. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 67Person First person (I, we) I eat the cake. Second person (you) You eat the cake. Eat the cake! Third person (he, she, they, it) She eats the cake.
  68. 68. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 68Verb form Indicative (narrative)“The Line Manager authorises theApplication for Leave.” Imperative (command)“Authorise the Application for Leave.” Progressive (in the act of ‘-ing’)“Authorising the Application for Leave”
  69. 69. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 69The greengrocer’s apostrophe Apostrophes have two correct uses: Possessive—John’s book, the dogs’ collars. Shortening words—I wasn’t hungry. Never use apostrophes just for plurals.These are correct: Three mangos, please. The bank has two new ATMs.
  70. 70. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 70The greengrocer’s apostrophe Bob the Angry Flower’sQuick Guide to the Apostrophehttp://angryflower.com/aposter.html
  71. 71. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 71Writing instructions—General best practiceTips for better instructions—For use anywhere!
  72. 72. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 72Tense Present tense Use most of the time. Past tense Only use to show something in the past. Future tense Only use to emphasise a time delay.Otherwise use present tense.
  73. 73. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 73Shall, Will Shall Do not use. It sounds pompous andlegalistic. Just say ‘Do it.’ Will (future tense) Only use to emphasise a time delay.Otherwise use present tense.
  74. 74. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 74Must, Please Must Use sparingly for very important things orpeople will ignore it. If you put it in for something that is optional,you could fail an audit. Please It is nice to be nice, but ‘please’ creates wordclutter.
  75. 75. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 75AND, OR in bulleted lists Put AND or OR at the end of each itemif it is not clear whether: All items apply OR At least one item applies
  76. 76. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 76Common terms Use consistent naming for everything. Build a list of terms: Let everyone contribute. Store in common area. Categorise the terms (7±2!). Later on, add definitions to make a usefulglossary.
  77. 77. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 77Slash /, (s) Do not use slash /It is ambiguous and confusing.Does it mean ‘or’ or ‘and’? --- or --- or both is better than and/or Do not use (s) or /s to allow for apossible plural. Just make it pluralanyway.
  78. 78. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 78Plain English examplesRescuing the reader
  79. 79. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 79Plain English example
  80. 80. 3 Jun 2013© QDT Management Consultants — http://www.qdt.com.au 80Plain English example 2
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