Documents must be as clear as possible if they are to gain the Crystal Mark. But as each document deals with a different subject for different readers, it is impossible to set a precise standard.
We do not expect a document about a complicated topic to be as easy to understand as one about a simple topic. But we do expect each document to be as clear as possible for its intended readers.
Things we look for include:
- the use of ‘everyday’ English;
- consistent and correct use of punctuation and grammar;
- an average sentence length of 15 to 20 words;
- plenty of ‘active’ rather than ‘passive’ verbs;
- explanations of technical terms;
- good use of lists;
- words like ‘we’ and ‘you’ instead of ‘the Society’ or ‘the applicant’;
- clear, helpful headings, which stand out from the text; and
- a good typesize and a clear typeface.