Editing for plain English: Making clearer

Nature of edit  To edit the text into plain English

Type of copy  Text from a hotel's 'left luggage' ticket


Contract releasing liability: In consideration of the receipt and free storage of the property for which this check is issued, it is agreed by the holder in accepting this check, that the Hotel shall not be liable for loss or damage to the said property and if property represented by this check is not claimed within three months, Hotel may sell same without notice, at public sale.


Baggage ticket
We agree to store your property free of charge for up to 3 months but we are not responsible for any loss or damage to it. If you don't collect your property within 3 months, we may sell it and keep the money!

Problem and solution

The editor applied many plain-English guidelines, including:

  • adding a heading to help the reader understand what the piece of paper is and what the text is likely to be about
  • using the first person ('we') to refer to the hotel and the second person ('you') to refer to the guest
  • removing unnecessary legal words – such as 'contract releasing liability' and 'consideration'
  • omitting wordy phrases that add no meaning – e.g. 'for which this check is issued' and 'in accepting this check'
  • changing passive-voice to active-voice verbs – for example, 'collect' rather than 'is claimed'
  • converting nouns to verbs where possible – 'storage' to 'store'
  • using a figure '3' rather than word 'three' to make this more noticeable.