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OVC Publishing Guidelines for Print and Multimedia About OVCOJP seal: Innovation . Partnerships . Safer Neighborhoods Message From the DirectorOVC Publishing Guidelines for Print and Multimedia NCJ 229712 / March 2010
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Writing Tips


Remember: People want information that's short, simple, and to the point. Using the following techniques will make your manuscript a clearer and faster read. You may also want to refer to the Chicago Manual of Style and the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, both of which we use in preparing products for publication.

Use the active voice. Active voice uses fewer words and is clearer.

Don't Say

Do Say

The rights of victims have gone unrecognized by the criminal justice system for a long time. The criminal justice system did not recognize victims' rights for a long time.

Use short words. Don't use a long word or phrase when a short one delivers the same message. Examples—

Don't Say

Do Say

in order to
as well as
with the exception of
conduct a survey
make a decision

except for

Use short sentences. Make your point, then move on. Long sentences with many commas are difficult to read.

Avoid jargon. Steer clear of terminology specific to a field unless the intended audience is only members of the field.

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