Plain Language

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to write "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use." President Obama also emphasized the importance of establishing "a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration" in his January 21, 2009, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.

We at the National Endowment for the Arts have already been using plain language in our communications, but are committed to training our employees in the importance of clear communications. In addition, more efforts are underway to strengthen our oversight process.

One of the requirements of the Plain Writing Act is for our agency, using the Federal Plain Language Guidelines, to use plain language in any document that:

  • is necessary for obtaining any federal government benefit or service or filing taxes;
  • provides information about any federal government benefit or service; or
  • explains to the public how to comply with a requirement that the federal government administers or enforces.

We have assigned staff to oversee our plain language efforts:

  • Senior Official for Plain Writing: Don Ball, Assistant Director, Office of Public Affairs
  • Plain Language Coordinator: Paulette Beete, Writer/Editor, Office of Public Affairs
  • Plain Language Coordinator: David Low, Web Manager, Office of Public Affairs

Our annual compliance report is now available (pdf).

You can learn more about plain language in the government at