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 disability’, not ‘person with a disability’. We should also avoid […]
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 writing. The new Australian Government Style Manual explains. Tone captures […]
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 to read than wordy bureaucratese. For you as the writer, […]
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 sweeping historical saga of the Napoleonic wars. Plenty of colour […]
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 that public funds are used in a way that is […]
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