Improve your English with our free writing-skills course

English is the world’s common language, vital to many organizations and individuals. Now you can improve your written English, no matter where you live. Plain Language Commission offers a free self-study course on the basics of writing plain English. It aims to help you communicate more clearly and concisely.

Writing Plain English

Be clear, be brief, be human
by Martin Cutts

Our free self-study course in PDF on the basics of writing plain English will immediately boost your writing skills. It shows you some simple ways of making your writing clearer and more concise, while helping you avoid some of the commonest mistakes of punctuation and grammar.

And did we say it’s free? We did. No need to subscribe to anything or even sign up for a newsletter! Download: Writing Plain English (2MB). Important: perform a ‘SAVE AS’ of the PDF to your desktop or another suitable folder. Also, do please look at details of our other publications, many of which are free to download.

The 96-page, 224-screen course will take you two to three hours to complete. You can go at your own speed, tackling short exercises on many of the topics along the way. You’ll need Adobe Acrobat, which is available on free download from

The course covers the essentials of good business writing in a relaxed and easy-to-use way, looking at:

  • why good writing matters
  • using everyday English
  • planning your writing
  • getting the grammar right
  • being brief
  • breaking up long sentences
  • punctuating well
  • using active-voice verbs
  • using personal words
  • avoiding clichés.

Your guide is Martin Cutts, one of the world’s most experienced plain-English editors, who has worked in the field since the 1970s. His Oxford Guide to Plain English, now in its fifth edition, has been continuously in print from Oxford University Press since 1995.

For businesses and individuals in today’s marketplace, clear communication is crucial. Download our free writing-skills course from this page.