RE: Overuse of "It"

Subject: RE: Overuse of "It"
From: Karen <ekarenski-techwrl -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>, ekarenski-techwrl -at- yahoo -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 16:00:18 -0700 (PDT)

It appears that....
It is encountered at...
It may be slightly older...
It is important to note that...
It is much thinner than...
It appears that there are...
It is postulated that....
It is clear in the comparison of....
It is also of interest to note...

And that's just a couple of pages!

I know technical reports can by dry and boring, but this makes them worse, in my opinion.

"Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com> wrote:
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 ."
-- "It is important to do ."

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


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RE: Overuse of "It": From: Combs, Richard

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