Plain Language Act

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Our promise to you: Writing you can understand

We at the Federal Emergency Management Agency are committed to writing all of our new documents in plain language, starting October 2011.   

Our goal is to use plain language in any document that:

  • Is necessary for obtaining any of our benefits or services or for filing taxes
  • Provides information about any of our benefits or services
  • Explains how to comply with a requirement that we administer or enforce

You can learn more about plain language in the government at Plainlanguage.gov.

You can review “before” and “after” comparisons to see the difference plain language can make to a document.

Many of the examples are from Plainlanguage.gov, where you can find additional examples.

Why we make this promise

While we’ve been believers in plain language for a long time, the Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires all federal agencies to write "clear government communication that the public can understand and use" by October 13, 2011. President Obama also emphasized the importance of "transparency, public participation, and collaboration" in his January 21, 2009, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government. Clear writing is essential to transparency, public participation, and collaboration.

Our agencies already use plain language

Our operating agencies already use plain language and train employees in the importance of clear communication. More efforts are underway to make sure communications are simple, direct, and understood by the people they serve.  

Last Updated: 
07/18/2012 - 23:21