Avoid it is and there is. They stretch sentences, delay your point, hide responsibility, and encourage passive verbs. Unless it refers to something mentioned earlier, try to write around it is.
Avoid wordy expressions. They clutter your writing by getting in the way of the words that carry the meaning. So prune such deadwood as for the purpose of (to), during periods when (when), in order to (to), and by means of (by).
Use action verbs. Dont use a general verb (make) plus extra words (a choice) when you can use one specific verb (choose).
Dont use that and which unless they help meaning or flow. Sometimes you can just drop these words.
Avoid words ending in -ion and -ment. Whenever the context permits, change these words to verb forms to make your sentences shorter and livelier.
For a list of words that are overworked in official writing and other words that might be used instead see SECNAVINST 5216.5C.
Effective writing can be defined simply as writing that is readily understood by the reader. The basic fault of present-day writing is a tendency to say what one has to say in as complicated a way as possible. If you want to write well, try to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.
Use definite, specific, concrete language. Prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, the concrete to the abstract for they are more likely to arouse and hold the attention of the reader.
Avoid hut-2-3-4 phrases, long strings of nouns and modifiers. Readers cant tell easily what modifies what. We must live with some established hut-2-3-4 phrases such as standard subject identification codes, but you can avoid creating new ones by adding some words. For example, change the Board of Inspection and Survey service acceptance trials requirements to requirements by the Board of Inspection and Survey for service acceptance trials.
Avoid using jargontechnical terms that are understood inside your department but are unintelligible to outsiders.
Avoid excessive abbreviating. Use abbreviations no more than you must with insiders and avoid them entirely with outsiders. Spell out an unfamiliar abbreviation the first time it appears. If an abbreviation appears only twice or infrequently, spell out the term every time and avoid the abbreviation entirely. Put clarity before economy.
If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone. Confucius
1. Introduction. Use this letter to correspond officially with activities in the Department of Defense. Also use it with organizations outside the Department of Defense if they have adopted the format. An example of the standard letter is shown in Fig. 10-1.
2. Stationery. SECNAVINST 5216.5C tells you what paper to use for various addressees. The number, color, and distribution of internal copies can be decided by your command. If printed letterhead stationery is not available, type the letterhead in.
3. Margins. Allow 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. On letterhead paper, start typing more than 1 inch from the top when the letterhead is printed and less than 1 inch if it is typed.
4. Senders Symbols
a. Use the following three symbols in the upper right hand corner: (1) Standard Subject Identification Code (SSIC) (2) Originators code by itself or in a serial number (3) Date
b. The initials of writers and typists are unauthorized symbols, but they may be included on file copies as part of the drafters identification.
c. Exceptions to Using All Three Symbols. Local practice determines how to handle senders symbols in the following cases:
(1) Letters to members of Congress
(2) Letters of praise or condolence
(3) Personal, though official, letters
To avoid a busy appearance on these letters, an activity may show all symbols on the file copy but show only the date on the outgoing copy.