Use Pronouns to Rep. the Reader/Refer to Your Agency/PEN/NPR
banner.gif (20700 bytes)


PAGE 11

WRITING USER-FRIENDLY DOCUMENTS


Use Pronouns to Represent the Reader
and to Refer to your Agency

[checkmark] Use "I" to refer to the reader in section headings.

The question-and-answer format assumes that the reader is the one asking the questions. Therefore, use "I" in questions to refer to the reader. Do not use "I" in responses. In responses your agency (represented by "we") addresses the reader. By using "I" to ask questions in headings, you are anticipating questions the reader may have.


[thumbsdown]
[thumbsup]
Submission of applications.What must I do if I want a loan?


[checkmark]Use "we" to refer to your agency.

Use "we" to refer to your agency in the text of the regulation. By using "we" to respond to questions, you state clearly what your agency requires and what your agency's responsibilities are. You also avoid the passive and use fewer words. Since you will never be asking the questions (only the reader does that), you should not use "we" in section headings. You can define "we" in the definitions sections of your document if that will help the reader.


[thumbsdown][thumbsup]
Loan applications will be reviewed to ensure that procedures have been followedWe review your loan application to ensure that you have followed our procedures.
The Office of Consumer Affairs will process your application within 30 days after receipt.We'll process your application within 30 days of receiving it.


[checkmark]Use "I" to represent the reader in section headings. Use "we" in place of your agency name. You'll save words and make your regulation more readable.

TO "HOW TO"
[CONTENTS BUTTON][PREVIOUS BUTTON][NEXT BUTTON]