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Keeping your personal pronouns consistent

Personal pronouns are a delightful area for marketing copywriters like us. In one sense, English is a lovely language in that we can mess around and things usually work out fine. But the downside is that consistency usually requires that we have some sort of style book.

One issue to address is whether to make collective nouns – including your company’s name – singular or plural. Most style guides go for the singular, but (at least in this country) in some cases we have to admit defeat. Liverpool are Premier League champions, but their owner Fenway Sports Group is very happy about that.

In marketing, using the singular for a company name can sound a little pompous, even though it’s probably the right way to go, especially in announcements. Where possible, I try to focus on the people concerned though, so that I can use the plural comfortably. Yes, BMON is a great choice of outsourcing agency to run your Google Ads campaigns, but maybe it’s friendlier to say that here at BMON, we like to think we are a great choice of outsourcing agency.

In the same way, it’s good to think about the use of we, you and they. In sales copy, it makes sense to talk about you and your problems, which we can solve. Explaining that we solve customers’ problems when they come to us is somewhat less attention grabbing.

On the other hand, I always used to write this blog targeted at ‘you’, but realised at some point that almost everything I discussed was an issue for me too. Nowadays, I tend to talk about ‘we’, which I think is much more engaging, as in the first paragraph.