Clear Writing

Clear Writing… well almost

We can all use some guidance when it comes to clear writing. In, I found “Principles of Clear Writing” as part of “Drafting Legal Documents.” You will have positive results applying these principles, which you can find here.

The first principle listed is to use the active voice. That is good advice. The active voice tells the reader directly who is going to do what to whom. Unfortunately, the “Principles” writer followed by giving many examples of what not to do (using the passive voice is the “no-no”), and few direct examples of using the active voice. Oops, with all those negative examples, it looks like the writer also violated his or her own principle  6, which tells us to write positively. Well, no one is perfect!

By the way, using the passive voice is popular in other cultures. I have colleagues reared and educated in other parts of the world, where writing in passive voice is the norm. When we work with them, they sketch their ideas within their writing comfort zone, and we then produce content structured for the intended audience.

The Bottom Line

A set of principles alone is not enough to produce clear writing. We enjoy the challenge of making complex technology and business subjects accessible with clear and straightforward writing. You and your readers deserve no less.

Principal Consulting is ready to help you with your tech writing and IT research needs. Contact us at, and let’s get started.


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