Inclusive writing: Tailoring your message

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General information about tailoring your message

Tailoring a message consists in adapting a piece of writing to the characteristics of the target audience. To this end, you need to know a little about the people you’re speaking to or about (for example, their gender, ethnic origin or age).

The decision to tailor a message to a particular person or group is sometimes up to the individual who is drafting the text. In other cases, this choice is made by the organization, which may need to prepare web pages, forms or email templates customized for different audiences.

Tailoring to recipients

When you’re speaking to a specific person or a homogenous group, you can show respect by adopting inclusive language and tailoring the message to the characteristics and needs of the recipients. For example:

  • In a letter to a non-binary person, you would use the person’s specified courtesy title (for example, Mx.), if you knew it
  • In a text for young people, you could opt to use a more informal or conversational tone than you would use in a message for adults

When a text is intended for a diverse group of people, you can produce several different versions tailored to different subgroups. For example, an organization that works with an immigrant population could provide its website content in several different languages.

Additional information

Copyright notice for Writing Tips Plus

© His Majesty the King in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement
A tool created and made available online by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada

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