beqom Visual identity and Content Style Guide

beqom

Grammar and parts of speech

Person

In grammar, person refers to the point of view represented by a statement and determines which pronoun to use.

In general, use second person

In second person, you write as though you’re speaking to the reader. Second person often uses the personal pronoun you, but sometimes the word you is implied. It supports a friendly, human tone and helps avoid passive voice by focusing the discussion on the reader. Consider omitting you can whenever the sentence works without it.

Examples

Create your own unique beqom experience.

You can set advanced options later if you need them.

Use first person sparingly

Use first person (usually I or me) only when you need to write from the point of view of the customer.

Example

Alert me when a new Bluetooth device tries to connect to my computer. (check box text)

Avoid first-person plural

First-person plural, which often uses the pronoun we, can feel like a daunting corporate presence—the opposite of beqom’s modern voice. It’s OK to use phrasing like we recommend if it helps you avoid awkward phrasing like it’s recommended, but write around it if you can. Try to keep the focus on the customer, not beqom.

Nouns and pronouns

Use a singular pronoun when the noun is singular, and a plural pronoun when the noun is plural. Collective nouns like company take a singular pronoun. Don’t use a plural pronoun (like they).

Capitalization and proper nouns

Proper nouns are one of a kind—unique people, places, and things. Capitalize proper nouns wherever they occur.

Proper nouns include:

  • Names and titles of individuals.
  • Unique, named places, organizations, events, shows, corporate and philanthropic programs, and other things.
  • Product, service, app, and tool names.
  • Trademarks.
  • Titles of books, songs, and other published works.
  • Managed standards, such as Bluetooth.

If there’s more than one of a thing, it’s a common noun. For example, there are lots of chief operating officers, so chief operating officer is a common noun. There’s only one Stephan Pohl, Chief Operating Officer, so that’s a proper noun.

Don’t capitalize common nouns unless they begin a sentence or the situation calls for title-style capitalization. Most technology concepts, product categories, devices, and features are common nouns, not proper nouns. Examples of common nouns include cloud computing, smartphone, e-commerce, and open source.

Plural nouns

Some nouns can be challenging to use in the plural. The simple rules that follow will help.

To check the spelling of plural forms of words derived from Latin and Greek that retain their Latin or Greek endings (typically -a, -us, -um, -on, -ix, or -ex), see specific entries in the A–Z word list and The American Heritage Dictionary.

NounPlural formExamples
Common and proper nouns ending in sIf the noun ends in s, add es.the Johnsons

the Joneses

biases

Singular abbreviationAdd an s, even if the abbreviation ends in s.ISVs

DBMSs

Single letterAdd an apostrophe and an s.

The letter itself (but not the apostrophe or the ending s) is italic.

x‘s
NumberAdd an s.the 1950s
VariableDon’t add (s) to a word to indicate that it could be either singular or plural unless you have no other choice. Use the plural form instead.Wait for xminutes.

Pronouns and gender

Don’t use he and his in references to a person whose gender is unknown. Instead, rewrite to use the second person (you). Or refer to a person’s role (reader, employee, or client, for example), or simply use person or individual.

Noun and pronoun agreement

Use a singular pronoun when the noun is singular, and a plural pronoun when the noun is plural. Collective nouns like company take a singular pronoun. Don’t use a plural pronoun (like they).

Examples

Words ending in -ing

A word ending in –ing can be a verb, a noun, or an adjective. Use –ing words with care. The sentence should make it clear which role the word plays.

For example, we don’t know whether the heading, Meeting requirements, will be a discussion of how to meet requirements or the requirements for a meeting. These examples are clearer:

  • The meeting requirements
  • Meeting the requirements
  • The requirements for the meeting
  • How to meet the requirements

Prepositions

Prepositional phrases

A prepositional phrase is a combination of a preposition and a noun that modifies or describes some part of a sentence. In the following sentence:

The reading pane displays the content of the selected message.

The prepositional phrase, of the selected message, describes the noun, the content.

Avoid joining more than two prepositional phrases. Long chains of prepositional phrases are hard to read and easy to misinterpret.

Placement in the sentence

It’s OK to end a sentence with a preposition when it improves readability.

Dangling and misplaced modifiers

Modifiers are single words or phrases that modify other words or phrases. Position a modifier to make it clear what it modifies.

If you keep sentences short and simple and use active voice, you probably won’t run into dangling or misplaced modifiers.

  • A dangling modifier doesn’t modify anything in the sentence.
  • A misplaced modifier is too far from the thing it modifies or too near to something else that it could modify.
ExampleMeaning
Only the selected text is deleted.Nothing other than the selected text is deleted.
The selected text only is deleted.Only could modify is deleted or text. This sentence could mean one of two things:
  • The selected graphics aren’t deleted.
  • The text is deleted but not archived.
There are files that can’t be removed on the disk.The phrase that can’t be removed modifies the files. This sentence clearly explains that the files can’t be removed, and they are on the disk.
There are files on the disk that can’t be removed.The phrase that can’t be removed probably modifies the disk, but the writer may have intended to modify files. This sentence could mean one of two things:
  • The files can’t be removed.
  • The disk can’t be removed.