Asian Develoment Bank's Clear Writing guidelines

Flashcards

ADB Handbook of Style and UsageStep 1: Click Next button to show the guideline or "Before" example.
Step 2: Click Next button again to show the explanation or
"After" Plain English revision; Repeat Steps 1 and 2.
Plain English—or plain language—is a message, written for the reader in a style that is clear and concise. It is quicker to write, faster to read, and puts messages across more often, more easily, and in friendlier ways.Select simple words.
Make lists.
Keep sentences short.
Refrain from giving unnecessary details.
Cut down on jargon and use defined terms sparingly.
Discard superfluous words.
Reduce nominalizations.
Avoid weak verbs.
Use the active voice with strong verbs.
Write personally, as if you were talking to the reader.
Avoid clichés

The reforms are designed to ensure a level playing field for state-owned enterprises and private companies.
The reforms are designed to ensure equal treatment for state-owned enterprises and private companies.
Avoid clichés

The project will make an improvement on the ground in the countryside.
The project will make an improvement in the countryside.
Avoid clichés

The goal is to hit the ground running in July.
The goal is to start immediately in July.
Avoid clichés

The events at the agency showed you cannot judge a book by its cover.
The events at the agency showed you cannot rely on appearances.
Avoid clichés

There is no silver bullet for the financial crisis.
There is no single rapid solution to the financial crisis.
Avoid clichés

Going forward, ADB will ensure that it continues to be relevant.
ADB will ensure that it continues to be relevant.
Use the active voice

Avoid:

This offer should be taken advantage of by ADB.
ADB should take advantage of this offer.
Use the active voice

Avoid:

Surveys were carried out in 2008.
The council carried out surveys in 2008.
Use the active voice

Avoid:

The deadline was missed.
The consultant missed the deadline.
Good writing employs only the words necessary to express an idea clearly.Do not spell out something that is obvious.
Some details can be assumed and do not have to be stated.
Words such as “level,” “phase,” and “stage,” are overused.
The word “sector” tends to be overused (as a noun and as an adjective). It is often redundant and can usually be omitted with no loss of meaning.
Do not spell out something that is obvious.

The population increased by more than 1 million, from 50.3 million to 51.6 million.
The population increased from 50.3 million to 51.6 million.
Do not spell out something that is obvious.

The disease mainly affects young adults 18–24 years old.
The disease mainly affects adults 18–24 years old.
Some details can be assumed and do not have to be stated.

They will hold discussions with relevant government officials and stakeholders.
They will hold discussions with government officials and stakeholders.
Some details can be assumed and do not have to be stated.

The funds will be used to purchase appropriate education materials.
The funds will be used to purchase education materials.
Words such as “level,” “phase,” and “stage,” are overused.

Avoid

The reforms will take place at the city level and at the village level.
Prefer

The reforms will take place in cities and villages.
Words such as “level,” “phase,” and “stage,” are overused.

Avoid

Community leaders will be consulted during the implementation stage.
Prefer

Community leaders will be consulted during the implementation.
The word “sector” tends to be overused (as a noun and as an adjective). It is often redundant and can usually be omitted with no loss of meaning.

Avoid

Private sector companies have led the economic revival.
Prefer

Private companies have led the economic revival.
The word “sector” tends to be overused (as a noun and as an adjective). It is often redundant and can usually be omitted with no loss of meaning.

Avoid

Many workers in the transport sector are poor.
Prefer

Many transport workers are poor.
Omit unnecessary words

The data will be useful for forward planning purposes.
The data will be useful for forward planning purposes.
Omit unnecessary words

ADB proactively monitors and manages all its projects.
ADB proactively monitors and manages all its projects.
Omit unnecessary words

Delegates can make advance reservations at the travel desk.
Delegates can make advance reservations at the travel desk.
Omit unnecessary words

The loan is small in size.
The loan is small in size.
Omit unnecessary words

ADB and WHO will blend together their assistance to maximize results.
ADB and WHO will blend together their assistance to maximize results.
Omit unnecessary words

ADB and the government will collaborate together on the proposal.
ADB and the government will collaborate together on the proposal.
Omit unnecessary words

The timing of the funding is critically important.
The timing of the funding is critically important.
Omit unnecessary words

The consultants will carry out critical assessments.
The consultants will carry out critical assessments.
Omit unnecessary words

The agreement of the current incumbent will be needed.
The agreement of the current incumbent will be needed.
Omit unnecessary words

The study will be conducted during the period 2008–2010.
The study will be conducted during the period 2008–2010.
Omit unnecessary words

No other problems were identified during that time period.
No other problems were identified during that time period.
Omit unnecessary words

This became clear during the course of the project, although it may not affect the end result.
This became clear during the course of the project, although it may not affect the end result.
Omit unnecessary words

The government is in the process of reforming the finance sector.
The government is in the process of reforming the finance sector.
Omit unnecessary words

The country’s future prospects are good.

The country’s future prospects are good.
Omit unnecessary words

Environmental sustainability is forecast to improve over time.
Environmental sustainability is forecast to improve over time.
Omit unnecessary words

It would have the exact same result.
It would have the exact same result.
Omit unnecessary words

Credit to small-scale industries has actually declined.
Credit to small-scale industries has actually declined.
Omit unnecessary words

This form of financing is the new innovation that was agreed upon.
This form of financing is the new innovation that was agreed upon.
Omit unnecessary words

As past experience has shown, community support is essential.
As past experience has shown, community support is essential.
Omit unnecessary words

There is a real danger that this will recur again.
There is a real danger that this will recur again.
Omit unnecessary words

The Ministry of Health will revert back to ADB regarding any significant changes.
The Ministry of Health will revert back to ADB regarding any significant changes.
Omit unnecessary words

The flow of remittances at the end of the year will offer a temporary reprieve.
The flow of remittances at the end of the year will offer a temporary reprieve.
Omit unnecessary words

The project will build a total of 15 new schools.
The project will build a total of 15 new schools.
Omit unnecessary words

All things being equal, the reform program has a good chance of success.
All things being equal, the reform program has a good chance of success.
Omit unnecessary words

Basically, the problem cannot be solved by money alone.
Basically, the problem cannot be solved by money alone.
Omit unnecessary words

The contractor will rehabilitate the existing roads.
The contractor will rehabilitate the existing roads.
Omit unnecessary words

The project will be implemented in three towns, namely: Battambang, Kampot, and Kompong Cham.
The project will be implemented in three towns, namely: Battambang, Kampot, and Kompong Cham.
Omit unnecessary words

Construction is not possible in the months of December and January.
Construction is not possible in the months of December and January.
Omit unnecessary words

The floods completely destroyed 20 villages.
The floods completely destroyed 20 villages.
Omit unnecessary words

The participants have not reached a consensus of opinion on the inflationary effects.
The participants have not reached a consensus of opinion on the inflationary effects.
Omit unnecessary words

The consultants must be knowledgeable experts on environmental sustainability.
The consultants must be knowledgeable experts on environmental sustainability.
Omit unnecessary words

The treatment plant is in close proximity to several schools.
The treatment plant is in close proximity to several schools.
Omit unnecessary words

The report will be disclosed to the general public.
The report will be disclosed to the general public.
Omit unnecessary words

The problem dates back to the early 1990s.
The problem dates back to the early 1990s.
Omit unnecessary words

Four components have been completed to date.
Four components have been completed to date.
Omit unnecessary words

Progress in achieving the targets slowed down during the regional financial crisis.
Progress in achieving the targets slowed down during the regional financial crisis.
Omit unnecessary words

The mission visited seven different ministries in April.
The mission visited seven different ministries in April.
Omit unnecessary words

Each and every complaint was investigated.
Each and every complaint was investigated.
Omit unnecessary words

Rising foreign imports have reduced the country’s gross international reserves.
Rising foreign imports have reduced the country’s gross international reserves.
Omit unnecessary words

The headquarters will be located in Colombo.
The headquarters will be located in Colombo.
Omit unnecessary words

A survey was needed in order to determine the number of potential microfinance recipients.
A survey was needed in order to determine the number of potential microfinance recipients.
Omit unnecessary words

The main focus of the study was the impact of rural finance on poverty reduction.
The main focus of the study was the impact of rural finance on poverty reduction.
Omit unnecessary words

The specific details of each individual subproject have not been finalized.
The specific details of each individual subproject have not been finalized.
Omit unnecessary words

Each assessment will determine whether or not outputs were satisfactorily delivered.
Each assessment will determine whether or not outputs were satisfactorily delivered.
Avoid jargon

Use plain language wherever you can. ADB documents should be comprehensible to the well-informed general reader. Common English words are preferable to technical jargon, ADB slang, or non-English terms.

Avoid:

The loan will include a piggybacked TA project to build capacity in the ministry.

ADB will concentrate on its core deliverables: constructing the dam and the approach roads.

ADB provided software support for training and hardware support for building schools.
The loan will include an associated TA project to build capacity in the ministry.

ADB will concentrate on constructing the dam and the approach roads.

ADB provided support for training and for building schools.

Exercises created by Atty. Gerry T. Galacio; all rights reserved. You can freely use these exercises, but you must not upload them to any website or the cloud. For comments, questions, corrections, or suggestions, email gtgalacio@yahoo.com

 

Exercises created with freeware Hot Potatoes v. 6.3 from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

 

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Better English resources and exercises (free resources on grammar, pronunciation, spelling, writing, vocabulary, idioms, reading comprehension, public speaking, etc.)

 

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