Skip to main content

         This documentation site is for previous versions. Visit our new documentation site for current releases.      

Language and grammar

Updated on January 21, 2021

When you review content, pay special attention to language and grammar.


  • Is the serial comma present?
    • These data sources include classes, properties, authentication profiles, and connectors.
  • Is there a comma between two independent clauses, followed by and then in step commands?
    • Click Options, and then click Allow Fast Saves.
    • The model gathers responses, and the algorithm updates the predictions.
  • Is there no comma splice?
    • Incorrect: The clipboard contains three groups of pages, they serve a different purpose.
  • Are commas used:
    • After introductory phrases?
      • On the Settings tab, click Email instantiation.
      • For more information, see <link>.
    • After dependent clauses?
      • If your application supports localization, select a language-specific ruleset for the field value.
    • Between adjectives, if their order is interchangeable?
      • The feature provides immediate, constant access to all customer records.
    • Before which, where appropriate?
      • Attributes are unique security markings whichthat are assigned to objects and operators.
      • Each attribute has a value associated with it,which means that a user must possess an attribute value to access an object.
  • Is punctuation with parentheses correct?
    • You might need to create several properties, all with the same Applies To class (and ruleset version).
    • You might need to create several properties, all with the same Applies To class. (The same guideline applies to the ruleset version.)
  • Is punctuation with quotation marks correct?
    • One Internet dictionary calls an electronic magazine a “hyperzine.”
    • One Internet dictionary calls an electronic magazine a “hyperzine,” but webzine is a common synonym.
    • What is a “smart device”?
    • A reader asks, “How scalable is .NET?”
  • Are hyphens used judiciously?
    • Many words with prefixes are not hyphenated: autogenerate, multimode, preinstallation, postinstallation, substrategy
    • Exception: re-create
  • Is the possessive apostrophe avoided?


  • Is the present tense used whenever possible?
  • Is the continuous present tense avoided?
    • Correct: If you edit...
    • Incorrect: If you are editing...
  • Is simple past tense used when you need to describe past events?
    • Incorrect: If you have selected the check box in the first step…
    • Correct: If you selected the check box in the first step…
    • The best: If you configure Check box name...
  • Are future and conditional tenses (will, should) avoided?

Terms to avoid

  • Allows, lets, enables
    • Tell users what they can do, not what the software “allows” them to do.
  • Latin abbreviations and words: e.g., etc., i.e.
  • Abbreviations: admin, db, DBA, sales rep, customer service rep
  • Machine
    • Use computer or server instead.
    • Exception: machine learning
  • Quotes, quote marks
    • Use quotation marks to refer to these punctuation marks: “ ”.

Common typographical errors

  • "Javascript" should be "JavaScript"
  • "manger" should be "manager"
  • "Pega platform" should be "Pega Platform"
  • "RuleSet" should be "ruleset"
  • "sever" should be "server"
  • "a SQL database" should be "an SQL database"
    • When referring to Structured Query Language as SQL, SQL is pronounced “es-cue-el” and takes the indefinite article an. An example is “an SQL database.”
    • When referring to the product or the server that is running the product, SQL is pronounced sequel.”
  • "the the" should be "the"
  • "Unix" should be "UNIX"

Problematic words

  • Backup, back up
    • Make a backup copy of your Microsoft Windows registry.
    • Back up your files to a remote server.
    • The system creates a backup of the ruleset in the temporary directory.
  • Cleanup, clean up
    • Provide the data transform to apply to the clipboard cleanup in the Apply data transform field.
    • Clean up the clipboard by providing a data transform.
  • Setup, set up
    • Internet Explorer setup
    • How to set up Internet Explorer
  • Install, installation
    • Install is the verb; installation is the noun or adjective
      • Install the software before you eat a piece of cake.
      • After you finish the installation, have a piece of cake.
      • Refer to the installation guide for complete instructions.
  • Displays
    • Display is a transitive verb. Either something is displayed* (by the software) or something displays something. *The use of passive voice is acceptable in this context.
      • This category is displayed only for top-level case types. (Not “this category displays….”)
      • Select the name of a flow action in the first field that is displayed. (Not “the first field that displays…”)
      • If you delete a function without deleting the references, an error message is displayed. (Not “an error message displays”)

Redundant phrases

  • You can add one or more additional properties…
    • You can add one or more properties…
  • To create a new rule…
    • To create a rule...
  • You can group together similar rules…
    • You can group similar rules...
  •  Before you log in, you must first create a password.
    • Before you log in, you must create a password.

Have a question? Get answers now.

Visit the Support Center to ask questions, engage in discussions, share ideas, and help others.

Did you find this content helpful?

Want to help us improve this content?

We'd prefer it if you saw us at our best. is not optimized for Internet Explorer. For the optimal experience, please use:

Close Deprecation Notice
Contact us