Before and After: Positive Messages
Turn a Don't into a Do


Step 1: Click Next buton to show the "Before" example.
Step 2: Click Next button again to show the "After" Plain English revision.
Repeat Steps 1 and 2. Total 12 items.
[1] Do not walk within 20 feet of geese nesting areas.Stay at least 20 feet away from nesting areas.
[2] Do not make any loud noises that could scare the geese when you are close to nesting areas.Stay quiet when you approach or pass nesting areas.
[3] Do not leave cord covers out when not in use.Place cord covers neatly along outside wall (behind chairs) when not in use.
[4] Do not leave phone on table.Move phone to credenza when finished.
[5] The MFMP customer service desk is not able to reset agency customer passwords.Each agency has a designated representative who can reset agency customer passwords.
[6] Any person required to undergo a security background check and refuses to cooperate in such investigation, is not eligible to work for the department.To be eligible to work for DMS, you must cooperate in the required background check
[7] If you do not create the Password eForm, your customer will not be able to access MFMP.You must create the Password eForm for your customer to access MFMP.
[8] Do not forget to make sure your contact information is updated.Remember to update your contact information.
[9] A contract cannot be signed without Secretary South’s approval.Secretary South must approve all contracts.
[10] DMS is not able to provide information exempt from public records laws.DMS can provide information allowed under Florida’s public records laws.
[11] Do not use passive voice in your communications.Use active voice in your communications.
[12] Employees may not start their flextime schedules until their supervisors approve them.Employees may start their flextime schedules once their supervisors approve them.


Note: This exercise is based on "Positive Messages | Turn a Don't into a Do" by the Department of Management Services, Florida, USA. Other valuable DMS Plain Language resources are:

2008 Weekly Plain Language Tips


2009 Weekly Plain Language Tips


2010 Year-to-Date Weekly Plain Language Tips


Active versus Passive


Plain Language Quick Reference Card 2010


Guide to Plain Language Writing 2010

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


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


Family Matters (complete text of the Family Code of the Philippines; frequently asked questions; relevant laws like RA 9262; legal procedures and Rules of Court)


Legal Updates (in-depth discussions of issues affecting the Filipino family, legal procedures, support, inheritance, etc.): Plain Language / Plain English for government offices, private companies, schools, and organizations; Clear, concise English for effective legal writing; Legal procedures in civil and criminal cases; Heirs and inheritances

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


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