We've got our own way of writing certain things, and we cover them here. It helps us to be consistent, whatever and and wherever we're writing.
Don't use an acronym unless it's commonly used, and spelling the words out will cause more confusion.
Portable document format
Use the active voice instead of the passive voice. In the active voice, the subject of the sentence does the action. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence has the action done to it. The active voice makes it clear to our customers who is doing what.
Jon broke the sauna
The sauna got broken by Jon
Don’t use ampersands. Stick to a good, old-fashioned “and”, unless the ampersand is part of a brand name — like Tiffany & Co. or Ben & Jerry’s.
Send and receive money
Send & receive money
Only use brackets for referencing abbreviations or data. They can make things a bit difficult to read otherwise.
If you’ve got part of a sentence in brackets, then the punctuation sits outside them (like this). (But if you’ve got an entire sentence in brackets, then it sits inside. Like this!)
Don't put punctuation inside brackets (if only part of the sentence is in the brackets.)
Bullets are useful for adding structure to longer copy, and making it easier to scan. Only write one point per bullet point. And don't put full stops at the end of bullets.
If the sentence that introduces the bullet points is a full sentence, then the bullets start with capitals. But if the sentence that introduces the list of bullet points isn’t a full sentence, don’t use capitals.
We’ll need some things from you:
We’ll ask for:
We'll need some things from you:
We’ll ask for:
Use sentence case for body copy, headings, subheadings, links and buttons. That means that only the first letter of the first word is a capital. But if there’s a proper noun, like a name or a place, make sure you give that a capital.
Sending money internationally
Sending Money Internationally
Use contractions. They help make your writing conversational and human.
We're, you're, can't, doesn't, won't
We are, you are, cannot, does not, will not
Abbreviate countries that are abbreviated in spoken language — places like the United Kingdom, United States of America, and United Arab Emirates. And don't include full stops/periods between letters.
UK, US, UAE
U.K, U.S, U.A.E
Currency codes are the language of our product. Depending on the context, you may need to explain what the currency code is. Write it in brackets after the full currency name:
When writing out the name of the currency in full, always capitalise the country, but never capitalise the name of the currency.
When writing out an amount of money, put the currency code after the figure, with a space between.
Avoid using symbols — unless you're writing for a specific market — as one symbol, like $, can represent several different currencies.
US dollar, British pound
10,000 SGD, 50 BRL
US Dollar, British Pound
Dashes are versatile. Use em dashes with a space either side instead of brackets, in place of commas, to show an interruption or to add emphasis. And use an en dash with no spaces either side to show a range of numbers. Don’t use more than 2 dashes per sentence.
Use an em dash to show emphasis — like this.
Use an en dash to show a range of numbers, say from 1–10.
Don't use an em dash for a range of numbers, like 4—8.
Don't use an en dash in place of commas – or to add emphasis – because it's all wrong.
Every localised team should do numbers in a way that suits their regional audience. For the UK, the format’s dd/mm/yyyy.
Don't use cardinals in dates (the -th, -rd or -nd after the number).
1 March 2023
Wednesday 1 March 2023
1st March 2023
Wed 1st March 2023
You need a driving licence to drive a car. A different spelling won't get you anywhere.
Driver's licence, drivers licence
One word, no hyphen.
Write ‘for example’ instead, if you have to. It’s better to use a more conversational word when giving examples, though, like ‘like’.
For example, like
Our language is bold and simple. Written to be understood by anyone, anywhere. So don’t use emojis. They're hard to localise, and aren't that accessible.
Words are the way forward
Ellipses (...) are used to indicate that a thought isn’t finished, or that there’s something missing from the sentence. Don't put any spaces before or after ellipses, ever.
I’m not sure about it...but I’ll work it out.
This doesn't look right ... because it isn't.
Don’t use ‘etc.’ or ‘and more’ in external communications. If there’s space, it’s better to give some examples to show what you mean.
Don't be lazy, give examples.
Etc., and more
Most of the time, you don't need an exclamation mark. They don't work in our tone of voice. But if you must, only use one at a time.
Full stops (periods)
Use them. And use them some more. Full stops are one of the easiest ways to break up chunks of text, and make content more succinct and readable.
Quick tip — if you read a sentence out loud, and you feel like you need to breathe in before the end, you need more full stops.
For headings and subheadings — don’t use full stops (in either the product, or in marketing). Only use them in body copy, or when specific components say so.
And some body copy.
And some body copy
Login, one word, is an adjective. Log in, two words, is a verb.
Put in your login details.
Log in to your account.
Put in your log in details.
Login to your account.
Markup, one word, is a noun. Mark up, two words, is a verb.
There are no markups on the exchange rate.
We don’t mark up exchange rates.
There are no mark ups on the exchange rate.
We don’t markup exchange rates.
Use numerals instead of spelling numbers out. For example, write 10 not ten. Numerals are much easier for customers to scan and understand when they're reading digitally — especially on small devices.
The only exception is when a number starts a sentence. In this case you should spell the number out.
For larger numbers, you can use 'k', 'm' or 'bn' to mean thousand, million or billion when you're short on space. Always use lowercase letters and don't put a space after the number.
But when referring to money, it's usually clearer to write the full number with the currency code. The exception is in marketing copy when you're referring to a specific currency.
There are 9 Wise offices.
Nine Wise offices help us deliver our mission.
We have fourteen new Wisers in the Tallinn office.
14 new Wisers joined the Tallinn office last month.
Don’t use the word ‘percent’. Go for the % symbol.
You're about 75% of the way through this page.
You've got about 25 percent left of this page.
When you're writing for screens in product, and you're referring to the user, use the second person perspective. This means using the pronouns 'you' 'your' 'yours' and 'yourself' to describe them — not the first person perspective, 'me' 'my' 'mine' or 'myself'.
And don't mix and match on the same screen as that gets a bit confusing.
The only exception to this rule is when you are writing titles and headings for help articles. It's ok to use the first person in this case because the user is asking questions from their own perspective.
Don’t put any spaces either side of slashes.
BIC / SWIFT
Say text, not SMS or text message.
Contact us by text.
Send us a text message.
Use numbers followed by 'am' or 'pm' with a space. Use '00' to show on-the-hour times. Use an en dash between times to show a time range. And if you need to include the time zone, put the code in brackets after the time.
8:00 am, 8:45 pm
7:00 am (GMT)
7:00 am GMT
Writer wifi all lowercase, with no spaces or hyphens.
Use the third person (so say 'Wise') when talking about Wise.
But use the first person (like 'we', or 'our') when talking as Wise.
We need to see a copy of your photo ID because of UK regulations.
You will now need to show a copy of your photo ID to Wise.