RE: The 'user' in User Manual

Subject: RE: The 'user' in User Manual
From: "Lauren" <lt34 -at- csus -dot- edu>
To: "'Andrew Warren'" <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>, "'Cardimon,Craig'" <ccardimon -at- M-S-G -dot- com>, "'Techwr-l'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 22:31:50 -0800

I don't know all of the terminology that is used to describe writing style.
I learned the terminology and rules many years ago and I haven't bothered to
retain that glossary. I understand good writing and the terms used to
describe it do not change the discussion. Neutral voice is necessary for
good technical writing.

The original discussion referenced "you" and using "you" does not to produce
the best writing. It is still neutral to not refer to a specific person and
if this is called "imperative," then it's imperative. And imperative, I
imagine, is neutral. Specificity (as opposed to neutrality) of the author
or reader as "I," "You," "We," and "the user" is still bad.

I'm not a grammarian well-versed in the terms and semantics of writing, but
I do know technical writing fairly well. I don't see why or how the
terminology that I used would change the content. I don't think that it


-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Warren [mailto:awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 1:33 PM
To: Lauren; Cardimon,Craig; Techwr-l
Subject: RE: The 'user' in User Manual

Lauren wrote:

> I take a neutral stance in my writing and avoid 1st ("I"), 2nd
> and 3rd ("user") person voices.
> ....
> 2nd - You need to click "File," "Save As," and choose a name for the
> file when you want to save the file.
> ....
> Neutral - Click "File," "Save As," and choose a name for the file to
> save the file.


Your "neutral" example is more pleasant to read than your "2nd-person"
example, but they're written in the same voice. What you call "neutral"
is just the imperative (second-person) voice with the "you" implied.


=== Andrew Warren - awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com === Synaptics, Inc - Santa Clara,


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