It’s time to be clear and concise

Being clear and concise is vital for reader comprehension. Yet it’s arguably the most challenging aspect of writing. How do you compress complex ideas or instructions into a few simple sentences? Or how do you avoid confusing readers by writing in the passive voice? And nowadays, you have to add generative AI into the mix too. Meaning there’s even more content than ever that needs to prioritize clarity.

Everyone’s had a play with a generative AI tool. And although it’s quick to generate the content, it’s often long and convoluted — taking a lot of words to say very little. Unless your initial prompt is perfectly phrased, chances are you’ll have to trim down the generated copy and edit it for clarity.

Taking all of that into account, this blog sets out to do two things. Firstly, explain how to write with clarity. And secondly, show you how to use generative AI in a way that helps — instead of hinders — your ability to produce clear and concise writing.

How to prioritize clarity in writing

Clarity and conciseness go hand in hand when it comes to effective writing. 

Conciseness is the ratio of ideas to words. The fewer words you use to convey an idea, the more concise you are. Practically speaking, to be concise is always better. Getting to the point quickly saves time, and inevitably money too. If conciseness is the ratio of words to ideas, clarity is the degree to which your readers understand your words and ideas. 

For a business, writing with clarity has many benefits:

  • Customer experience is better thanks to easy to understand writing.
  • Translation and localization are easier and cheaper as source content is straightforward.
  • The principles of plain language writing are more likely to be upheld as clear writing doesn’t assume all people have the same literacy levels, any prior knowledge on the topic, and makes information accessible to neurodiverse readers.

How do you do it? Well, start off by eliminating unnecessary words wherever and whenever possible. Learn to write using active sentences and avoid the passive voice. Get to the point and get there quickly. Prioritize using verbs instead of adjectives. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to be direct — your readers will thank you for it. After all, the more direct and to the point you are, the more time you’re saving them.

The next step is to think about how this translates into content guidelines for your company, so your writers know what writing with clarity means in action. 

Word length

Reader comprehension increases when using short words, as it maximizes the accessibility of your writing. Short words tend to be simple and direct, which makes the likelihood of a reader understanding your message much higher. But it’s vital not to sacrifice understanding at the altar of brevity. If a longer word is the right word don’t be afraid to use it — especially if it saves you from using three words instead of one.

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Sentence length

If you’re looking for a more concise style, use shorter sentences. No matter what you’re trying to communicate, you should be able to read a whole sentence out loud in a single breath. Why? Because ultimately you want your writing to be accessible and easy to understand — otherwise you’ll confuse your customers and cause them to have a negative experience.

Don’t just take our word for it. An American Press Institute report found a correlation between shorter sentences and improved reading comprehension. For sentences that were:

  • 8 words or less, readers understood 100 percent of the information.
  • 14 words long, readers understood 90 percent of the information.
  • 43 words or longer, comprehension dropped to less than 10 percent.

It’s evident that shorter sentence length leads to increased comprehension, so consider enterprise content guidance that encourages writers to keep their sentences short and sweet.


We’ve already mentioned it in this blog, but it’s worth reiterating. Choosing the active voice over the passive voice makes the meaning of your writing clearer for readers. It also helps keep sentences from becoming too complicated, wordy, and long. In essence, an active voice removes ambiguity from your writing, meaning that your reader is never left feeling confused. 


Jargon refers to specialized language used within a specific field. It can be used in two ways. Used badly it deceives, confuses, or even bamboozles the reader, leading to poor customer interactions. Conversely, used well it indicates belonging to a group and efficiently communicating ideas. It serves as a shortcut to convey information within a community in a concise way.

Either way, be mindful about using jargon as ultimately you’re gambling on whether or not your audience will understand what you’re saying. Terminology councils are a great way to manage what jargon you encourage the use of. You can create a list of accepted jargon terms that you think will help enhance audience understanding. And you can also blocklist any terms or words that might alienate readers. 

Clarity and generative AI 

Once you determine your company’s writing guidelines on word length, sentence length, voice, and jargon, you need to put them in action. This means making them easily available to writers across your organization.

We know what you’re thinking. And no, outlining a writing style guide in a PDF and sharing it with the company via email isn’t enough. You need an AI content governance tool like Acrolinx.

Imagine your guidelines offered as guidance in your writers’ authoring environments. Meaning bringing your terminology council’s preferred jargon terms or reminders about staying in the active voice to the fingertips of your writers. Through the Acrolinx Sidebar your writing guidelines are offered to your writers as they check their content — to make sure they’re meeting your clarity standards.

Better yet, if Acrolinx suggests you need to improve the clarity of your writing you can use the generative AI capability to “rewrite” the content in lieu of your guidelines. That means that in one click, you’ll have content that’s easy to understand — every company’s dream. With AI fueled efficiency into the content creation process, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of having more time to create and improve more content.

Acrolinx also acts as a clarity safeguard for content that’s been entirely generated by generative AI. By quality checking your AI generated content against your brand standards, you can trust that writing that doesn’t meet your expectations won’t be published. Instead you can improve it to be devoid of never-ending sentences and overused adjectives.

By using Acrolinx, you’ll have the benefit of enabling different teams and writers, across different locations, to use consistent and compliant terminology and a clear brand voice when representing your product or service. Let’s talk today so we can help your company meet the clarity standards your customers crave.

Building the Future — An Acrolinx Report Real-world insights into generative AI adoption and risks in the enterprise

Download now