Write to the user by using second person and imperative mood#
Users are more engaged with content when it talks to them directly. You talk to users directly by using second person, addressing the user as you. Second person also promotes a friendly tone.
Use second person with the imperative mood (in which the subject you is understood) and active voice to eliminate wordiness and confusion about who or what initiates an action, especially in procedural steps.
All of the guidelines in this list, and most of the guidelines in the style guide, use second person, imperative mood, and active voice.
Use second person to avoid the use of gender-specific, third-person pronouns such as he, she, his, and hers. If you must use third person, use the pronouns they and their, but ensure that the noun that the pronoun refers to is plural.
Use first-person plural pronouns (we, our) judiciously. These pronouns emphasize the writer or Rackspace rather than the user, so before you use them, consider whether second person or imperative mood would be more "user friendly." However, use we recommend rather than it's recommended or Rackspace recommends. Also, you can use we in the place of Rackspace if necessary.
Use the first-person singular pronoun I only in the question part of FAQs and when authors of blogs or signed articles are describing their own actions or opinions.
Avoid switching person (point of view) in the same document. Switching person is acceptable, however, in blog posts that use first-person singular but then switch to second person for instructional steps.
To create a server, specify a name, flavor, and image. (imperative)
To create a server, you specify a name, flavor, and image.
Creating a server involves specifying a name, flavor, and image.
To create a server, the user specifies and name, flavor, and image.
|Click Yes to accept the license agreement.||The license agreement is accepted when the user clicks Yes.|
|We offer you a comprehensive portfolio of hosting options.||Rackspace offers a comprehensive portfolio of hosting options for the enterprise buyer.|
|Providing you a Fanatical Experience sets Rackspace apart. We are here to help, 24x7x365.||Rackspace is here to help customers.|
|Cloud Backup uses block-level deduplication, which means that only those parts of a file that have changed are saved.||Cloud Backup uses block-level deduplication, which means we save only those parts of a file that have changed.|
|I want to update everyone about the current status of the project and our future plans. (from a blog post)||This post describes the current status of the project and future plans.|