10 Guidelines and Analysis10 Guidelines and Analysis
Here are the basic guidelines for writing easy-to-read English.
Define target audience
Identify your target audience before you write. If it is for a general audience, you need to avoid jargon as much as possible and choose words which are plain and easy-to-understand.
Write important information first
Write what is most important first. It is called the Inverted Pyramid style. On the other hand, a common Japanese narrative style is the kishotenketsu (introduction, development, twist and conclusion) style. The most important information comes at the end with this style. Remember to bring important information at the beginning in English writing.
Use the active voice
Choose the active voice over the passive voice. Frequent use of the passive voice makes writing verbose, unclear and lifeless.
Use strong verbs
Strong verbs are a word which is precise, concrete and descriptive. They engage readers.
Before After We made a determination… We determined… Carry out a reform Reform
Choose shorter and simpler words
Use shorter and simpler words with less syllables.
Before After utilize use terminate end in the event that if
Write in positive (Avoid negative)
Japanese language often uses negative forms, but English language prefers positives forms.
Before After no fewer than at least has not yet attained is under/still not accept reject not able unable
Use short sentences
Readers find that sentences of 17- 20 words are easy to read. You should consider shortening a longer sentence into two or more sentences.
If your audience is a general audience, it is important to avoid jargon and technical terms. Create a glossary if necessary, together with the material.
Keep the subject, verb, and object close together
The natural word order of English speakers is subject-verb-object. When this order is interrupted by long modifiers and phrases, flow of reading is also interrupted and the readers find it hard to capture the meaning. You may need to write another sentence to avoid such modifiers. You can also consider presenting the information in a table.
Choose the right design
You can use headings to catch busy reader’s attention. Use bullets or a table to present complex information to ease reading.
To write in Plain English, you need to set the right level of vocabulary and technical knowledge for your audience. Then, choose the appropriate words and verbs to communicate in the most effective way. Once you have finished writing, use the guidelines again to review it. This will ascertain readability. These guidelines will help you write in Plain English