Fed. Gov. Improves "Plain Language" in 2019

Nov 19, 2019

Grades have improved for the federal government when it comes to writing in plain language. On Tuesday, the Center for Plain Language said this year's grade is a B, compared to a C last year.

Congress passed the Plain Writing Act in 2010 to make sure that people can "understand the information they receive from federal agencies." In other words, to avoid things like jargon and acronyms.

Executive Committee Member David Lipscomb says the government needs to write in language that is easy to find, understand, and use.

"And, we're doing a better and better job when it comes to the second and third verbs, to understand and use, but the first verb we need to work on: and that's find... making the most important information findable on a page."

Iowa Second District Congressman Dave Loebsack says he believes clear communication from the government is critical, and that's why he voted for the Plain Writing Act in 2010.

Credit Congressman Dave Loebsack

"And, in my last Congress I helped introduce the TL;DR [Too Long; Didn't Read] act of 2018, and that's a bill that would require federal agencies to communicate more clearly with Americans in correspondence," says Loebsack. "So, not just within the agencies and the organizations themselves, but when they speak to the American public and communicate with them as well."

This year, the Center for Plain Language evaluated the most-visited pages of government websites, as well as "urgent help pages."