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Some of your writing questions answered

This is where to find answers to some questions you might have about workplace writing, grammar and punctuation. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, get in touch and we’ll try to help!

Plain English means writing in a way that most people can read and understand. It is clear and concise. Plain English is also called Plain Language.

Plain English is important because it helps people to understand information they need.  

Many people can’t read complex writing. Most people don’t want to read writing that’s confusing.

Organisations that use Plain English make life easier for their staff, contractors, suppliers and clients.

A noun is the name of a person, place or thing.

Proper nouns, which start with capital letters, are the names of specific people, places or things, like Chris, Ms Smith, Australia and the Macquarie Dictionary.

Abstract nouns are the names of things we can’t physically touch, like idea, happiness and organisation.

A verb is a doing word, like walk, create and organise.

Most verbs can have d or ed put on the end to show that something happened in the past, like walked, created and organised.

They can also have ing added to show that something is happening now or will be happening in the future, like walking, creating and organising.

An adjective is a describing word. It gives more information about a noun, for example, beautiful, enormous, critical.

An adverb is a word that describes a verb, adjective or another adverb. It gives more information about how, where, when or how much.

Many adverbs end with ly, like quickly, happily and interestingly. Many adverbs don’t end with ly, like tomorrow, outside and often.

An apostrophe is a punctuation mark that looks like this  

It is used to show that letters have been missed out, for example in words like you’re, I’m and we’ve.

It is also used to indicate ownership, like this: Sally’s car, Nathan’s children, the dog’s bones (one dog) and the dogs’ bones (more than one dog).