Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Finalist: Best Plain English Sentence Transformation 2018

Ministry of Social Development — Better Letters Project

Document name

Letter to overseas client

Original sentence

There has been a change to your New Zealand payment

Thank you for your payment of NZD $580.00 received on 23 August 2018.

Your overpayment has been fully repaid.
[29 words; 3 sentences]

Rewritten sentence

We wanted to let you know we received your payment of NZD$580.00 on 23 August 2018. Thanks for that.

Good news, the money you owe us has been fully paid back.
[31 words; 2 sentences]

Judges’ comments

This structure is excellent. It sandwiches a friendly, relational comment between two clear important statements. The structure and friendly tone brings relief to the reader.