Learn Plain Writing Today. Be a Better Writer in High Demand

Learn how to communicate well, plainly, without ambiguity, and become a writer in demand in this age of globalization
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  • Lectures 28
  • Length 2 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 11/2013 English

Course Description



JANUARY 31, 2017

WEEKLY UPDATE: Writers -- Watch Your Instructions Like a Hawk! (for subscribed students only)


Learn plain writing from a veteran writer with over 15 years of hi-tech Fortune 100 experience.

Learn the basics of communicating in plain English for maximum success and productivity in your business and personal life in this age of globalization.

Writers of the future will be those who can write plainly, express themselves in a way that readers from diverse cultural and national backgrounds can understand easily.

Learn within a few a minutes every day such powerful plain writing techniques as:

  • Avoiding abstract nouns and verbs
  • Avoiding allusions
  • Using the active voice properly
  • How to use tables to help your writing
  • The benefits of eliminating the verb "to be" from your writing
  • Eliminating "unless"
  • Avoiding "IN phrases"

and much much more...

What's more, plain writing is now the Federal law in the United States.

Learn writing techniques to comply with the "Plain Writing Law" if you are working or planning to work for the U.S. Federal Government, or intending to correspond and do business with it.

SUPPLEMENTARY PDFs: Most lectures have downloadable PDFs related to the videos. Click the second-from-left button (with down arrow on it) on the upper-right corner of the lecture screen to access these PDF document.

Good luck!

*** IMPORTANT! This course comes with my PERSONAL NO-QUESTIONS-ASKED 30 Day FULL REFUND GUARANTEE! Try my course for 30 days and if you still don't like it Udemy will refund you 100%. You've got nothing to lose ***

What are the requirements?

  • Basic working knowledge of English.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of this course, you'll be able to edit complicated sentences, simplify and re-write them in plain English.

Who is the target audience?

  • All speakers and writers of English.
  • All students of English.
  • ESL students.
  • All U.S. Federal Government workers.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Why Plain Writing?

Plain writing is a must for success in business and private life. When we communicate with short and clear sentences people understand us better, with little room for costly errors due to muddled writing. Globalization and localization processes increase the need for clear plain writing. Besides, it's the law in the United States (did you know that?).

Section 2: It's the Law in the U.S.!

The U.S. federal law demands all government documents be written in plain language. There are several acts of U.S. Congress that mandate plain English documentation in finance, credit, medical, housing etc. transactions.

1 question

Check your understanding of the legal aspect of plain writing as far the U.S. government is concerned...

Section 3: Principles of Plain Writing 1-4

There are dozens of ways to write plainly. Here are the first four selected principles of plain writing. The most important of them is: write in short sentences.

Sentence Length
1 question
Active vs. Passive Voice
1 question
Section 4: Principles of Plain Writing 5-8

Here are four more principles of plain writing. For example: eliminate ambiguity from your writing. Eliminate all nouns and verbs with multiple meanings and thus which can be misunderstood.

Using Slashes
1 question
A Plain Writing Technique
1 question
Section 5: Avoid Assumptions

Another golden principle of plain writing: do not assume too much on the part of your readers. What the readers get out of your writing may not be exactly what you had in mind. Several examples explain the hazards of making assumptions on your readers' behalf.

Assuming Things
1 question
Short and Long of it...
1 question
Section 6: Use Tables

When you are presented with a complicated paragraph or text, sometimes the best way to present the same infomration plainly is to create a table. Sometimes tables communicate the same content much more efficiently than a paragraph. Several examples illustrate the point.

1 question
Section 7: Eliminate Double Negatives

Double negatives within the same sentences are a load on the mind; they are not easy to process. Get rid of double negatives for good clear plain writing.

Double Negatives
1 question
Section 8: Eliminate Sexist Language

Using gender-free language is a fundamental principle of modern non-fiction prose. This lesson provides many examples showing how you can replace the male-indexed old-fashioned language with its gender-free counterpart.

Gender-Free Language
2 questions
Section 9: Eliminate "To Be"

Eliminate all forms of the verb "to be" for writing that breathes freely and communicates with power. Examples demonstrate how you can do that easily.

To Be or Not To Be...
1 question
Section 10: Eliminate Ornaments

Unnecessary ornaments are what clutters a paragraph and renders sentences hard to comprehend and remember. Follow the examples provided here for good clean writing without such deadwood.

Eliminating Useless Phrases
1 question
Cultural Ornaments
5 questions
Section 11: Eliminate Technical Terms

Technical terms are a must in technical writing. But in all kinds of non-technical prose, the same terms create serious obstacles for comprehension and retention of information. Get rid of them for plain writing success.

Technical Terms
3 questions
Section 12: Eliminate "Unless"

If plain writing is your goal, you can do better than using "unless" in your text. Learn how to do it by following the example provided in this lesson.

Eliminate "Unless"
1 question
Section 13: Split Long Sentences

Split long sentences into shorter ones whenever you can. Long sentences tax the reader's patience and attention span. Plain writing thrives on short sentences, as shown in this lesson.

Split Sentences
1 question
Section 14: Avoid Redundant Pairs

Eliminate unnecessary and redundant words that are a part of a "redundant pair." Many examples provided in this lesson demonstrate how you can easily do that.

Redundant Pairs
4 questions
Section 15: Avoid Words with Opposite Meanings

Avoid words that can have an opposite meaning from one usage to another, depending on the context of your sentence. Pay attention to this tricky subject and prevent communication headaches and embarrassments.

Words with Opposite Meanings
5 questions
Section 16: Eliminate Noun Trains

Noun trains are the reason why some sentences fall off a cliff and never reach the readers. Noun trains make sentences almost impossible to understand. But there is an easy technique to untangle such noun trains. This lesson explains this foolproof technique with examples.

Noun Trains
1 question
Section 17: Avoid "IN Phrases"

Phrases that contain the preposition "in" are a major source of mental strain. Such sentences are not always easy to understand, especially when there are much alternatives. This lesson presents many such alternatives that you can use for your plain writing and reading pleasure.

"IN" phrases are out!
3 questions
Section 18: Eliminate Abstract Nouns

Abstract nouns have no place in plain writing. Eliminate them without mercy. Many examples provided.

Abstract Nouns
2 questions
Section 19: Eliminate Abstract Verbs

Abstract verbs are as harmful as abstract nouns in terms of conveying your core idea. Get rid of them if you'd like to succeed communicating in plain English. Follow the examples provided in this lesson.

Abstract Verbs
3 questions
Section 20: Avoid Allusions

Allusions are tricky. Just because you and your friends know what they stand for does not mean it's a good idea to use them in your text. You'll come across a lot of readers who miss your point simply because they do not have the same cultural, social, or ethnic background to get the true meaning of your allusion. Get rid of all military, religious, sports-related and other allusions for plain writing that would be easily understand all over the world.

Eliminate allusions
3 questions
Section 21: Use Active Voice Correctly

In general, using active voice is a good thing to write plainly. However, there is one important case when using passive voice is also a good idea. This lesson explains that case with two examples.

Section 22: Eliminate Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs add depth to any creative writing project. But for books and documents that are translated into other languages it's not a good idea to use phrasal verbs since they are hard to translate. This lesson shows you some practical ways to replace phrasal verbs with their single-word equivalents.

Phrasal Verbs
5 questions
Section 23: BEFORE - AFTER Comparisons

Here is a real-time demonstration of editing a sentence according to some of the plain writing principles explained in this class.


A second demonstration of how you can edit a non-plain sentence to create a plain one out of it.


A third plain writing demonstration for your benefit.

Section 24: THANK YOU!
Section 25: UPDATE
Plain Writing Editing - "Carbon Tax"

There are 3 types of readers or audience whether you are writing a technical document, drafting a research paper, or delivering a public speech: 1) The enthusiasts, the fans; 2) Those looking for practical solutions for their real problems; and 3) The experts who are seeking conceptual answers to their still unanswered research questions. If you deliver the right content to the right audience you'll be a much more effective write

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Instructor Biography

Ugur Akinci, Ph.D., Technical Writer & Trainer

Fortune 100 technical communicator and educator since 1998. The hi-tech companies he worked for include ADP, Fannie Mae, and Honeywell.

Ugur started his professional career as a senior translator for NATO Hqs. LSE. He has worked as a writer, translator, editor and publisher since the mid-80s.

For his copy writing clients, Ugur created all kinds of marketing materials and press releases while honing his skills as a Desk Top Publisher and even publishing a biweekly magazine for a number of years by using DTP techniques.

In mid-90s we see Ugur as a full-time accredited journalist, covering the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Congress for a daily publication.

In 1998, Ugur has discovered the joy of technical writing, marrying his love of science and technology to his artistic sensibilities and design skills.

Working for Fortune 100 hi-tech corporations like Fannie Mae, ADP, and Honeywell, Ugur created many user guides, system admin guides, reference sheets, release notes, quick start guides, and all kinds of similar software, hardware and networking documents, sometimes as a part of an international documentation team.

Ugur enjoys teaching a wide variety of writing, software tools, content development, and document design skills both online and also in person.

He is a Toastmaster (CC), an active senior member and Associate Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and a Past President of his award-winning local chapter, STC Washington D.C. -- Baltimore.

With decades of writing and technical communication experience under his belt, Ugur teaches not only the general principles of good writing and content development but also the insider tips that will save you a lot of grief and headaches. Learn software documentation and different kinds of writing from an industry professional who is still working in this exciting field.

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