Why “active” voice is better than “passive”

Posted on Apr 22, 2015

Once a month, I take my daughters, 9 and 13, to get donuts at Yum-Yums on a Friday night. We pick a dozen favorites and then go home to watch a movie while we each enjoy one donut as our treat. (They’re huge!) Then I put my girls to bed. And they know they can have a donut for breakfast the next morning.

The Awards are coming! The Awards are coming!

Posted on Apr 8, 2015
The Awards are coming! The Awards are coming!

Here’s an opportunity to spend a wonderful evening with other plain language advocates and practitioners. Each year, the Center for Plain Language gives the ClearMark Award to print and online information that is easy for the public to understand and use.

March Grammar Madness: Commas Win in an Upset!

Posted on Mar 11, 2015
March Grammar Madness: Commas Win in an Upset!

It’s March Grammar Madness at Healthwise. We’re mad about clear communication—and isn’t that the primary purpose of grammar?

So, just like the hoops fans who get into the college basketball spirit, we celebrated National Grammar Day (March 4) with a bracket. It’s all about sustaining the commitment to plain language—and scoring points with employees.

Love and plain language

Posted on Feb 11, 2015

I love my wife. I tell her so several times a day. When we wake up, on the phone, when we get home from work, before we drift off to sleep. The day just doesn’t feel complete without it.

On Valentine’s Day, however, we won’t do anything special. No office deliveries of long-stemmed red roses. No Hallmark greeting card with ready-made sentiments to express what I am (apparently) incapable of expressing on my own. And no making reservations at a hoity-toity restaurant weeks in advance to dine on an overpriced prix fixe menu.

Building a plain language culture in the US Government

Posted on Jan 28, 2015

I’ve spent the last few months working on the 2014 Federal Plain Language Report Card. The Report Card evaluates whether U.S. Federal Departments comply with the Plain Writing Act of 2010. This year we also analyzed writing samples against best practices for both writing and information design.