Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Editorial, Graphics & Publishing Services → Editorial Help Desk

Editorial Help Desk:
Your Resource for Grammar and MCPS Style

Coming this November
2017 MCPS Editorial Summit

Plain Language: Clear Communications with Our Community

Word of the Month


1. Pretentious, fancy.

2. Expressed in or marked by the use of language that is elaborated or heightened by artificial or empty means. Synonym: Pompous, giving a highfalutin speech.


Tip of the Month

Creating Clear Messages

Good, clear, effective writing is simple and easy for your audience to read and digest and act. There are many theories about how to write well. Some guides tell us to write short sentences, while others prefer that we use only the active voice. Some writers use highfalutin words that may help them sound "important," but end up drowning their message. The truth is that writing is an art. It has everything to do with your readers and getting your message across to them in an effective way. If your message is confusing to your readers, it's not their fault, it's really your fault.

  • Know exactly what you want to say.
  • Stop when you have said it. Avoid using too many words like "nevertheless," "however," these tend to indicate that your sentence is too long.
  • Direct your message to the reader and away from yourself.
  • Put your ideas in order of importance for your readers. Use bulleted or numbered lists.
  • Avoid phrases that start with prepositions like by, for, in, of, and to
  • The music is pleasing to the ear
  • We will give away the flash drives for free  
  • The books are blue in color  
  • Parents who drive by car must park in the west parking lot.
  • The desks are small in size ;
  • Keep samples of writing your admire. Identify what you think was most effective in the content? If the style works, use it.

Hear more about clear communications at the next MCPS Editorial Summit, November 8, 2017 in the CESC auditorium, from 9 a.m. until 12 noon. Look out for more details to come.

Contact Donna M. Marks on Outlook or call 301-517-8139.

Get the new MCPS Acronyms  

Learn to decipher the alphabet soup! Look it up in MCPS Acronyms

Do you know the difference between an ELT and an EMT, between FLS and FLES? Keep this reference on hand and you'll never get lost in jargon.

MCPS Acronyms (PDF)

Get the new Interactive Correspondence Manual  

Get the interactive
Correspondence Manual 2016

Learn to prepare memoranda, letters, and other documents in a consistent format. See the updated examples of memoranda and letters. Refresh your knowledge of e-mail etiquette and more.

Montgomery County Public Schools Interactive Correspondence Manual

Editorial Stylebook

You've got to have style! Get the interactive Editorial Stylebook

Present your message in a clear, consistent, and professional manner. Learn some basic style rules to save time and improve your documents.

Montgomery County Public Schools Interactive Editorial Stylebook

Click here to log in