Plain Language

Plain language makes it easier for the public to read, understand and use government communications. 

Plain Language Writing Act of 2010 

The purpose of the Plain Writing Act of 2010 is “to improve the effectiveness and accountability of federal agencies to the public by promoting clear government communication that the public can understand and use.” This law changed how the government communicates with the public and all government agencies are expected to follow the requirements outlined in this regulation. 

Our Commitment 

Many aspects of the Department’s programs and operations have a direct impact on the public, and it is vital that we communicate clearly and reliably. To learn how we’re implementing the Plain Writing Act, read our plain writing implementation plan

At Interior, we are committed to: 

  • Writing in plain language. 
  • Using the Federal Plain Language Guidelines.  
  • Training our employees. 
  • Strengthening our oversight process. 
  • Promoting plain language across the Department. 

Documents Required to be in Plain Language 

At Interior, we will 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. 
  • Explains to the public how to comply with a requirement that the federal government administers or enforces. 

The following types of documents are required to be in plain language: 

  • Publications 
  • Instructions 
  • Applications 
  • Technical reports 
  • News releases 
  • Webpages 
  • General correspondence with the public (both paper and electronic format) 
  • Vacancy announcements and instructions on how to apply for jobs 

Compliance Reports

Departmental Contacts

Interior has named Sarah Greenberger, Associate Deputy Secretary, as its Plain Language Senior Official. The Plain Language Senior Official oversees our communication with the public and ensures that it is clear, understandable, and useful in all correspondence, publications, forms, or notices issued.  

We continue to look for ways to improve our work and would like to hear your feedback. Please contact us at plainlanguage@ios.doi.gov or call Matthew Patrick in the Office of the Executive Secretariat and Regulatory Affairs at (202) 208-6193. 

Plain Language Resources 

Guidance 

Trainings 

The Plain Writing Act requires agencies to train their staff in plain language. We offer training to our employees through DOI University and DOI Talent

For additional training, we recommend: