Content style

A quick guide to government website content style.


Content style is important in that it enforces consistency and uniformity in how government presents information.

We recommend using the Associated Press Stylebook for content styling. The 18F Content Guide is an excellent primer to both AP Style and general best practices:

Do's and don'ts


  • Use plain language and simple sentences.
  • Choose clarity over cleverness.
  • Talk like a person.
  • Address the user as you whenever possible.
  • Use an active voice.
  • Use contractions.


  • Use the word citizen when talking about the public. See the conscious style section for further guidance.
  • Use acronyms. If an acronym is necessary for future reference, spell the full word and follow with the acronym in parentheses on the first reference.
  • Use a passive voice.


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