Clear, precise writing – your checklist

We all need clear, precise writing if we want our readers to understand and react to our messages.

Here is my checklist to help us all writing meaningful, effective texts.

This checklist should help you when you are proofreading. Take some time and ask yourself these important questions about your text.

Title, headline, subject line Does the title convey the key message? Is it relevant to your readers?
Paragraphs Do your paragraphs have a topic sentence and a link to the next paragraph? Or do you over rely on linking words (moreover….)?
Sentences Have you used the simplest form – subject + verb + object? Do the sentences contain one idea?
Important information Is the important information loaded at the beginning of the sentence? Don’t make your readers search for the meaning.
Word choice Are your words commonly understood? Or are you seeking to impress with a sophisticated display?
Passive or active? Writing is too often ‘deadened’ by passive writing (especially here in Brussels) so check whether your sentences can be made active.
Jargon Are you using EU or corporate jargon that makes your writing wooden? Are you “actively seeking labour market participation?” or trying to get a job?

What you can do next

  1. Print this checklist and use it for your final drafts.
  2. Arrange training for yourself and your colleagues. We organise customised writing skills training for dozens of Brussels based trade associations, chambers, networks and institutions.

Details are here

Our training format includes

  1. Review / assessment with tracked changes comments on current texts, press releases, editorials, articles and marketing communications materials.
  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).

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