18 November, 2020

Disability as an uncountable noun

The new Australian Government Style Manual advises us only to use disability in the uncountable form. This reflects the view that specific references to disability are stigmatising and do not treat their subjects as people first. So, write ‘person with […]
11 November, 2020

Tone, voice and register

Tone and voice … What’s the difference? And how can they help us write appropriately for our audience? With these tools we can address formality and the relationship between reader and writer. They also tell us more about who is […]
9 November, 2020

To write well, you need to imagine your reader

Plain language writing means writing that’s clear and concise and avoids long words and complicated grammar. In business and government writing its tone is usually neutral – neither too casual nor too formal. Why do it? Mainly because it’s easier […]
2 November, 2020

The first question for any piece of writing: how long should it be?

It’s a fine spring morning in 1862 on the rural estate of Yasnaya Polyana, 200 kilometres south of Moscow. In the study, Leo Tolstoy is sharpening his pencils, ready to put down some ideas for a new book. ‘Genre? A […]
30 October, 2020

We’re talking probity in our next webinar

On 27 November, in our next webinar, we’re talking probity, integrity and procurement in a time of COVID-19. Our reasons are simple: our governments are accountable for what they do and how they do it. They are responsible for ensuring […]
30 October, 2020

Implementation rules

It’s a truth for policy makers and theorists that good public policy is developed by way of a rational process. That research and evidence eclipse opinion and hearsay. That the insights of interested parties are used to stress test policy […]
30 October, 2020

Casting Donald into the darkness

Every 4 years, voters in the United States voluntarily select their president. Since 1845 the presidential election has happened on the first Tuesday after 1 November. This year, the election date is 3 November 2020. A constant theme of Agora […]
30 October, 2020

Legal writing can be clear

A little background. The Lincoln Project is a team of conservative Republicans that is waging a ferocious, creative and hyper-intelligent campaign against President Trump and the vicious brood that makes up his administration. Part guerrilla war, part psychological operation, part […]
30 October, 2020

Blackwhite – November

Notice to readers. Understanding that no finer example of Blackwhite has been or will be published, we reprint this presidential proclamation in full. You can view it at: October 16, 2020 National Character Counts Week, 2020 by the President […]
30 October, 2020

Start 2021 in style with our virtual program

On 11 and 12 November 2020, our free guided tour of the Australian Government Style Manual, ‘The essentials of Australian Government writing style’ is completely booked. We’re running one more free session on 21–22 January 2021, numbers are limited so […]
30 October, 2020

TRUST is published

Chris Hammer is an Australian author who joined us last month to talk about writing style. You can hear what he had to say here. His new book TRUST is now available online or at good bookstores.
29 October, 2020

Plain language writing is good. Keep saying it.

Clear writing in plain language, compared with dull bureaucratese, is quicker to write, easier to read, and gets your message across better. That can mean serious savings of time and money.  For example, Ethos CRS estimated that productivity gains in […]
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