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Address separate audiences separately

An important part of writing for your audience is addressing separate audiences separately. Many documents and websites address more than one audience. Mixing material intended for different audiences may confuse readers. By addressing different audiences in the same place, you make it harder for each audience to find the material that applies to them. In regulations, this may make it difficult for each audience to comply with your agency’s requirements.

Example

The following example shows a regulation (40 CFR 745) that treats each regulated group separately in its own subpart, rather than mixing all the groups together. For an example of a rule that does not address separate groups separately, see 5 CFR 1320.

Title 40: Protection of Environment

Chapter I: Environmental Protection Agency

Part 745: Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention In Certain Residential Structures

Subpart E: Residential Property Renovation

Firms renovating structures

745.84 Confidential business information.
745.85 Information distribution requirements.
745.86 Recordkeeping requirements.

Subpart F: Disclosure Of Known Lead-Based Paint And/Or Lead-Based Paint Hazards Upon Sale Or Lease Of Residential Property

Sellers/Leasors

745.107 Disclosure requirements for sellers and lessors.
745.110 Opportunity to conduct an evaluation.
745.113 Certification and acknowledgment of disclosure.

Subpart L: Lead-Based Paint Activities

Training programs

745.225 Accreditation of training programs: target housing and child-occupied facilities.
745.226 Certification of individuals and firms engaged in lead-based paint activities: target housing and child-occupied facilities.
745.227 Work practice standards for conducting lead-based paint activities: target housing and child-occupied facilities.
745.228 Accreditation of training programs: public and commercial buildings, bridges and superstructures.

Subpart Q: State And Indian Tribal Programs

States and Tribes

745.324 Authorization of State or Tribal programs.
745.325 Lead-based paint activities: State and Tribal program requirements.
745.326 Pre-renovation notification: State and Tribal program requirements.
745.327 State or Indian Tribal lead-based paint compliance and enforcement programs.

Sources

  • Murawski, Thomas A., Writing Readable Regulations, 1999, Carolina Academic Press Durham, NC, p. 4.
  • Redish, Janice C., How to Write Regulations and Other Legal Documents in Clear English, 1991, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC, p. 17.