Writing in Plain Language

Writing in plain language does not mean “dumbing down” a text: it means conveying information in a way that intended readers can easily understand. And yet much of modern business and government writing is anything but easily understood. The culprits?

  • Abstractions that reduce clarity
  • Long subjects that contribute to denseness
  • Passive voice that hides doers of actions
  • Weak verbs that cut energy
  • Jargon and acronyms that confuse readers
  • Poor document design that clouds messages

And these are just a handful of the problems.

This one-day course will give you ample hands-on practice clarifying dense, bureaucratic texts. With your peers and the instructor, you will analyze several unclear passages in detail and examine ways to improve these passages. You’ll then have the opportunity to re-craft texts yourself, applying plain-language principles to clarify the intended messages. This course assumes that you have a solid understanding of English grammar, punctuation, and style.

  • Topics
  • Audience
  • Instructor
  • Understanding what plain language is… and what it isn’t

  • Determining the characteristics of plain language

  • Developing a “plain-language” attitude

  • Applying plain-language techniques - Making subjects of sentences short, specific, and concrete

  • Reducing abstractions

  • Energizing your sentences with strong verbs

  • Weeding out clutter

  • Avoiding noun strings

  • Using terms consistently

  • Employing passive voice appropriately

  • Choosing the right vocabulary

  • Harnessing layout

  • Testing readability

  • Business, government, or technical professionals who sincerely want to be understood by their audiences
  • Anyone looking to engage readers and communicate easily and clearly
  • Managers looking to offer practical writing advice to their staffs

Elva Keip has designed and delivered workshops in the adult education field for over 25 years. She relies on her experience and extensive research, along with her dynamic presence and sense of humour, to provide superb training in a variety of areas, such as facilitation, writing (basic, advanced and web), competencies interviewing, policies and procedures, and briefing notes. A key focus in all her workshops is the effective use of plain language. Elva also offers one-on-one coaching for individuals who prefer a personal approach to their skills development.

‘’One of the most entertaining workshops.’’

This workshop is part of our Online Distance Learning Program 

Certain sessions of this workshop are now offered online via live video conferencing. Online session are indicated in parenthesis in the box below.

Register today by selecting an online session.


Select a session

Writing in Plain Language (Online session)
December 10, 11, 2020
9:00 - 12:00
Writing in Plain Language (Online session)
February 16, 17, 2021
13:00 - 16:00
Writing in Plain Language (Online session)
March 29, 30, 2021
9:00 - 12:00
Writing in Plain Language
May 18, 2021
9:00 - 16:00
Writing in Plain Language
July 23, 2021
9:00 - 16:00
Writing in Plain Language
August 9, 2021
9:00 - 16:00

Certificate in Workplace Writing 

This workshop is part of our new Certificate in Workplace WritingLearn how to get started.

Group Training

Our courses and certificate programs, delivered exclusively to your employees, offer different levels of training customization to meet your organization’s specific requirements.

To discuss your training needs, please click here to submit a request for a group training.

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