Always write as you would speak. This will make your writing lively.
- Use the active voice.
As in “we discovered the protein,” not “the protein was discovered by us.” You can check by seeing if you can add “by” followed by an agent after the action. If you can, it’s passive.
- Talk directly to the reader.
Use the word “you” when writing, to make sure you’re talking directly to one person. We use “we” or “us” to describe ourselves – instead of saying our company name over and over.
- Use contractions.
You can shorten words like “we will,” “there is,” and “will not” to “we’ll,” “there’s,” and “won’t.”
- Use everyday language, not formal language.
Always use the simplest word you can. Help, rather than assist. Need, not require. But, not however. Give, not provide.
- Cut corporate language and clichés.
Avoid phrases like “blue-sky thinking,” “innovative solution,” and “global goal-orientated business.” Instead, we say things like “We think in generations, not quarters.”
- Stay away from abstract nouns.
Words like “dedication,” “ability,” and “communication” feel detached. You can usually use verbs instead – like “we found” rather than “the conclusion of the research.”
- Avoid or explain jargon.
Do not use them unless you’re absolutely sure your reader knows the definition. For example, does everybody reading really know what CRISPR is, and what it does? If not, it’s worth explaining that it’s like copying and pasting DNA.
Please have a look at our resources, where you can download the writing checklist.