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PCO Plain Language Standard

We use our Plain Language Standard for everything from emails to legislation. We use it when writing, peer-reviewing, editing, or proofreading.

We all need to communicate effectively whenever we write. 

This Standard is designed to support good writing. The PCO expects all its staff to apply the Standard with common sense and good judgement.

Big picture elements

1. The purpose of the document is clear.

2. The whole document supports the purpose.

3. The structure and layout of the document is clear and logical.

4. Headings are useful and aid navigation.

5. The tone is consistent and supports the purpose.


6. Sentences are short, simple, and precise.

7. Sentences focus on one topic.


8. The words are precise and familiar.


9. The document is error-free.

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