Clear, precise writing – a checklist

We all need clear, precise writing if we want our readers to understand our messages. But what does clear and precise mean when it comes to writing?

Here is my New Year’s checklist for all of you who have start the year writing.

We all accept that our writing has to be clear, concise and precise. This checklist below should help you when you are proofreading your text before your final draft. Ask yourself these questions.

Titles, headings, subject line

Does the title convey the key message (the big idea)?

Logical order of ideas

Are the ideas organised in a way that makes sense to the readers?


Are the paragraphs a change in focus? Do they have a topic sentence? Is there a link to the next paragraph?


Have you used the simplest form – subject + verb + object? Do the sentences contain one idea? Are they short and to the point or do they contain three or more clauses?

Important ideas at the beginning

Is the important information loaded at the beginning of the sentence?

Word choice

Are the words short and commonly used?


Are you using verbs to perform complex grammar or to convey meaning?

Active v passive

Is the sentence active? Do we know who and to whom?


Have you explained something twice when once will do? Example:“the process is streamlined and efficient.”


Will the readers understand your jargon and acronyms?


Have you punctuated your sentences with commas? Have you used apostrophes correctly?

Print this checklist and use it for your final drafts.

The other thing you can do is arrange training for yourself and your colleagues. We organise customised writing skills training for organisations and individuals.

Follow this link for more detail.

Our training format includes

  1. Review / assessment with tracked changes comments on current texts, press releases, editorials, articles and marketing communications materials (brochures, leaflets, event brochures).
  2. Face-to-face session ( 3 hours) to review learning points and practice.
  3. Set a task to edit review or reformat a piece (press release or article). This is then submitted for review.

Contact us at or call us on 00 32 (0) 473 391890 for more information about how we can help you.