Pronouns Make the Tone Personal
First Person Singular: I, me, my, mine = Accountable language, readers feel confident that you will do what you promise
- First Person Plural: We, our, us + Royal “we’,” authoritative, use this to represent your department or company
- Second Person: You, yours = Highly personal, can sound confrontational, avoid using this when delivering bad news (See my May 6 blog post on how to write bad news letters)
- Third Person: He, she, it, they, them, his, hers, its, their, theirs = Neutral, can create distance between you and the reader
What is the tone for each sentence?
- You did not send the check by the deadline.
- We didn’t receive the check by the deadline.
- You must enroll by November 30.
- Employees must enroll by November 30.
- The company lost the bid because the budget breakout was not included.
- We lost the bid because we did not send the budget breakout.
- You cannot file a claim until you complete the right forms.
- A claim can be filed when the proper forms are completed.
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