RE: Overuse of "It"

Subject: RE: Overuse of "It"
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: <ekarenski-techwrl -at- yahoo -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 15:26:11 -0600

Karen wrote:

> When you can't tell what "it" references, that is a problem.
> However, my pet peeve is 60-75% of the sentences starting with "it".

Besides unclear antecedents, two other likely problems occur to me:

1) Lots of passive voice. How many of those sentences starting with "it"
use some form of the verb "to be"?

2) An aversion to using second person imperative in procedures or
instructions. This frequently leads to Problem 1, too, with
constructions like:
-- "It should be set to <blah blah>."
-- "It is important to do <blah blah>."

Figure out why they're starting sentences with "it" and you'll be able
to point them to sources discussing the problem and proposing


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include single source authoring, team authoring,
Web-based technology, and PDF output.

Now shipping: Help &amp; Manual 4 with RoboHelp(r) import! New editor,
full Unicode support. Create help files, web-based help and PDF in up
to 106 languages with Help &amp; Manual:

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


RE: Overuse of "It": From: Karen

Previous by Author: RE: File utility suggestions?
Next by Author: RE: What are the latest tools
Previous by Thread: Re: Overuse of "It"
Next by Thread: RE: Overuse of "It"

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads