Plan Before You Write.

Plan before you write. Thinking before writing is usually a strength, and many people find that the best way to start writing (or dictating) is not to write but to plan. The first stage of planning is to think out:

  • who is going to read the document;

  • what they will be expecting to get from it;

  • in what circumstances they will be reading;

  • what you’re trying to achieve.

Lists and bubble diagrams, containing all the points you expect to make, help to clarify your own purpose. You could also plan out a core statement which says what you will cover in the main section of the document – normally the discussion section. It helps you to focus on the task and the audience.


Core segments Typical Phrases
Type of document this report/paper
Your readers to the head of the legal department
Verb describes/assesses/explains/analyses/evaluates/considers/investigates
Topic possible improvements to the clarity of our insurance policies
Linking phrase in terms of/with reference to/under
Number of sections five main lines of enquiry
Main headings
  • benefits and dangers
  • what documents will be worked on?
  • implications for staff training
  • other companies’ experience
  • costs

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Keep Sentences Short.
Use words your readers are likely to understand.
Use only as many words as you really need.
Prefer the active voice.
Use the clearest, liveliest verb to express your thoughts.
Use Vertical Lists to make complex materil understandable.
Keep Electronic Text Communication simple.
Put your points positively when you can.
Reduce cross-references to the minimum.
Try to avoid sexist usage.
Avoidable English Errors are so many.
Avoid fusty first sentences and formula finishes.
Put accurate punctuation at the heart of your writing.
Avoid being enslaved by seven writing myths.
Plan Before You Write.
Organize your material in a simple way.
Consider different ways of setting out your information.
Devote special effort to producing lucid instructions.
Use clear layout to present your plain words.
Plain English|

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