Voice & tone

Our writing voice is friendly, as if you’re speaking to a relative or colleague. We don’t want to come across as stuffy or as if we’re talking down to our reader, but we do want to come across as credible and knowledgeable. This does not mean that you should forgo basic style guidelines. But, it does mean that you shouldn’t be afraid to start a sentence with conjunctions like “but” or “and.” You should also use contractions (didn’t, don’t, haven’t, hadn’t) freely.
We follow three principles in our messaging: Be confident. Be enthusiastic. Be clever.

Confident

Be simple and direct. Avoid long, hard words and formal language. Try not to say too many things at once. Avoid hedging language and evasive phrases such as “seems like” and “according to.” Steer clear of empty words like “world class,” “robust” and “high quality.”

Enthusiastic

Stay positive by avoiding comparisons designed to elevate one idea by diminishing another. Assume success and stay away from fear. Celebrate the craft. Our audience appreciates the skill that goes into their work, so shine light on it whenever possible.

Clever

Show our audience you relate to their joys and frustrations. That you know they have interests outside of work. Infuse your writing with the unexpected and engage in wordplay but not at the expense of being clear. At times, be light-hearted but not light-headed.

Do write in second person, meaning address the audience as “you,” “your,” etc. We talk to our audience directly, addressing them as “you” not as “one,” “persons,” etc. (We want to avoid phrases like this: “To take a skill assessment, one needs to select…”) This language feels formal and unnatural.

Exception: When writing copy for interactive challenges, write in the first-person-plural point of view instead. We write in this way to be more inclusive and encouraging to the learner. To show that we're on this learning journey with them. Read more in the challenge writing styleguide.

Headlines

Write headlines in sentence case, meaning only capitalize the first word and any proper nouns.

Measure your skills

Only punctuate a headline when it uses more than one sentence.

Measure your skills. Learn something new.

Commas

We do not use a serial comma, a comma in front of the conjunction connecting list items.

At Pluralsight we are big fans of pizza, Indian and Chinese food.

Exception: We do use a serial comma when the phrase before the conjunction also has a conjunction or if the phrases separated by the commas will be less confusing if commas are used throughout.

While studying for certifications, it’s important to use flash cards, practice tests, online or instructor-led training, and study guides.

Exclamation points

Avoid over-using excalmation points, unless offering congratulations on having completed a complex flow. Exclamation points aren’t a substitute for creating excitement.

Buttons should always be clear, direct and actionable. A link should be descriptive of the place it's taking the user. Do not use text such as ‘click here’, or anything that does not make sense when read out of context.

  • Learn now
  • Get started
  • Get your IQ
  • Watch a course
  • Start a path
  • Tell us more

Time

Follow AP conventions, only listing a.m. or p.m. on one of the times unless the time spans both a.m. and p.m. Drop :00 from any times that start at the hour. Use noon or midnight vs. 12 a.m. and 12 p.m.

  • 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • Noon–3 p.m.
  • 1–5:30 p.m.

Dates

Do not use contractions (st, th, etc.) within a complete sentence. Do not use leading zeros on days. Feel free to abbreviate months. Use four digit year.

  • On May 15, Microsoft announced…
  • Jan 23, 2017
  • Jan 2017

Numbers

For numerals over 999, insert a comma for clarity.

1,643

Duration

When listing duration of long content, round to the nearest hour or minute, with no leading zeros. For approximate durations, round to nearest appropriate value. For short and exact duration, display standard time format, no leading zeros.

  • 23h 8m
  • 23h
  • About 1 hour
  • About 30 minutes
  • 4:54

Names

When listing a single author or owner, display full name. If listing multiple and space is limited, abbreviating to last name only is acceptable. Do not use “By” in the beginning of an author(s) string.

  • Gary Eimerman
  • Gary Eimerman, Troy Hunt
  • Eimerman, Hunt
  • Gary Eimerman, Troy Hunt, Lars Klint
  • Eimerman, +2