A government style guide and a plain English guide in one software program


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Around 80 per cent of the entries in the UK.GOV style guide concern capitalisation, hyphenation and preferred forms of words and phrases.

StyleWriter can incorporate these preferences and offer advice on preferred format for dates, measurements, money and numbers.  This guarantees all civil servants using the program will confirm to the UK.GOV advice.

We would invite all government agencies to add to the entries on the UK.GOV style guide (and once reviewed and agreed) code them into the program.  Once issued to departmental and agency employees, each agency can add or adapt the program to its specific needs.

As well as checking for the UK government house style, the program also checks and encourages writers to use plain English.  This is the style recommended by UK.GOV in its style guide.

The benefits of plain English

Plain English is the preferred style of UK.GOV and many departments.  Although government websites have improved, around 90 per cent of government documents are not in plain English*.  National governments, councils, multinational corporations, major industry bodies and so on have adopted the plain English model for sound, commercial reasons – plain English saves time and money.  The savings claimed for plain English are remarkable.

  • The US Navy estimated plain English could save it between $250–$300 million every year.
  • General Electric saved $275,000 by redrafting manuals into plain English.
  • The US Department of Veterans Affairs saved $40,000 redrafting one standard letter into plain English.
  • Customers in three surveys of standard letters from banks unanimously preferred the plain English versions.
  • British Telecom cut customer queries by 25 percent by using plain English.
  • The Royal Mail saved £500,000 in nine months by redesigning one form in plain English.

Source:  Joe Kimble: Writing for Dollars

*Contact me at info@editorsoftware.com for information on a style audit of government documents.

Call to departments and agencies

If you would like to take part in this initiative to create a plain English and government style edition of StyleWriter, please email me.  I will then coordinate the expressions of interest and send those interested further details.

For more information and further information please see previous news posts:

Designing a computerised style guide for the UK government


Adding a UK government style guide to StyleWriter

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