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Writing Guide for Public Documents


This Writing Guide for Public Documents provides general guidance for (i) drafting Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) public documents; (ii) writing in plain language, an initiative embraced throughout the U.S. Government; and (iii) writing effectively for MCC’s public website. This guide addresses MCC-specific grammar rules, issues and word usages that routinely arise in the agency’s written materials, answers frequently asked questions and corrects common errors that typically surface when writing MCC’s public documents.

Why is this guide necessary?

Applying the Writing Guide for Public Documents matters for three reasons:

  1. To create uniformity and consistency among MCC’s public documents.
  2. To generate a clear MCC voice, style and tone.
  3. To expedite MCC’s clearance process.

Which documents are covered?

This guide covers only public documents—press releases, success stories, blogs, newsletter content, annual reports, and web content. This guide does not cover legal documents or formal executive correspondence.

Which style guide takes precedence?

While a variety of style guides exist, writers of MCC public documents should first consult MCC’s Writing Guide for Public Documents to maintain consistency. In cases where this guide fails to address a specific question, consult The Associated Press Stylebook, the foundation for this guide, and then the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) Style Manual. Writers also should reference grammar manuals and dictionaries.

  1. Federal agencies are required to write in plain language and MCC embraces the use of plain language as a way to clearly communicate the agency's work with information that readers can understand the first time they read it.

  2. This section of the writing guide provides a list of guidelines for the use of proper grammar as well as tips for using everything from abbreviations and acronyms to titles and offices.

  3. This section of the writing guide provides a selection of often misused words and phrases with examples to help writers avoid grammar pitfalls and make the right choices.

  4. Many of the words and phrases found in this section are in common usage and often dictated by personal preference, while others are unique to MCC. The guidelines in this section seek to create uniformity in MCC's documents.

  5. When it comes to reading online text, less is more--it's what readers expect and deserve. This section of the writing guide provides guidelines for best practices when it comes to writing for MCC's website.