CDU Writer's Style Guide

A Style Guide for everyday publications

People who write for everyday publications ― newsletters, periodicals, news releases, and so on ― can find themselves caught between officialese and the straightforward language of newspapers.

Each approach has its place. But anyone who seeks to communicate with general readers must find an appropriate style, free of fancy words or acronyms.

Such a style ― crisp and informative, but easy to read ― already exists in most areas of our University, though it occasionally varies.

These notes are designed to encourage uniformity.

Style tips:

  • Use plain English
  • Keep words and sentences simple
  • Prune sentences
  • Rely on nouns and verbs, not adverbs and adjectives
  • Use active voice: The university decided, not, A decision was made
  • Choose positive expressions
  • Be bold, brief and clear.

For further guidance, consult the Commonwealth Style Manual, available from the University Bookshop or The Macquarie Dictionary. If all else fails, choose a style and be consistent.

Writing style