Everything we produce should be written in plain English as described in the GOV.UK plain English guidelines.
People visit our website to get something done or to answer a question. They are impatient and will leave a page quickly if they can't see at a glance what they are looking for or don't understand it.
Don't waste time with long introductions. Be direct and specific in what you need to tell people. Use short paragraphs, clear headlines and sub heads, bulleted lists and words and phrases people are likely to search for.
Put the most important information first and only include information that is essential.
We've designed our website to work on most devices, whatever their size, because an increasing number of people use our site on mobile. Our aim is to make the most important information visible on the first screen.
Simplicity is the key to understanding. Short words in short sentences get your message across more quickly, more easily and in a friendlier way.
Note: Some legal terms have specific legal meanings or implications that may be lost if replaced with plain English alternatives. If you have any questions about the use of legal terms, please contact TfL Legal
|accustomed to||used to|
|ad hoc||informal, unplanned|
|bona fide||good faith, genuine, honest|
|constitute||make up, form|
|establish||set up, create, find out|
|et al||and the others, the rest|
|ex gratia||without obligation|
|forthwith||immediately, now (state a time limit)|
|further and better particulars||requests for information|
|henceforth||from now on|
|in camera||in private|
|inter alia||among other things|
|per annum||a year|
Another way to save time and avoid confusion is to get rid of unnecessary words. Information can often be made simpler - and less corporate - if words that either add nothing or mean the same thing are replaced with simpler alternatives.
|a large proportion of||many|
|appropriate measures||measures, steps|
|at this moment in time||now|
|by virtue of the fact that||because|
|consensus of opinion||consensus|
|despite the fact that||although, despite|
|due to the fact that||as, because|
|for the duration of||during, while|
|for the purpose of||to|
|in accordance with||as, in line with|
|in conjunction with||and, with|
|in the absence of||without|
|in the event that||if|
|in order to||to|
|in the majority of||most, usually|
|leaves much to be desired||poor|
|on account of the fact that||because|
|on behalf of||for|
|the fact that||that|
|was of the opinion that||thought|
|with the exception of||except|
|with reference/regard/respect to||about, concerning|
Words that sound very similar can mean very different things. Here is a list of frequently misused words. If you are not confident about their meaning, look them up or use an alternative.
There are lots of books and websites on using English. This list includes some of the most helpful. It also includes useful reference guides, including dictionaries, encyclopaedias, maps and conversion calculators.