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These things are mostly a matter of convention and preference, and might
vary by industry and country.
The use of 'etc.', 'e.g.', 'i.e.' in your docs is a matter between you
and your documentation deity (or you and your manager/overseer/handler,
but if you are supposed to be writing for a fairly low level of reading
comprehension (factory workers, for example) or for an audience with
English as a second or third language, you might want to just spell out
"and so on", "for example", and "that is" or "that is to say". Not
everybody who even knows what etcetera means is able to pronounce it
(how often do we hear eksettera? about as often as we hear nookyuler?
(pet peeve)). Exempla gratia and ibid est would probably be lost on many
people, so why give them a hard time?
Which person to use?
You are talking to persons, not about persons. Use second person.
Use declarative sentences and commands. "Do this..." "Do that..." with
Unless, of course, you need to refer to what somebody else might do that
affects what your audience must now do... For _that_ you can use third
But this is all just opinion and preference.
What does your style guide say?
No style guide?
Write one. Then use it to bludgeon anyone who disagrees with you.
On Behalf Of Zen C wrote:
> Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 10:40
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Grammar Q
> Use of second, and third person in technical writing?
> The intended audience varies from specialized to general, and the same
> can be done by both in some situations.
> What is the most acceptable way of referring to the audience in the
> manual that provides conceptual and step-by-step instructions.
> Will you refer to the audience with 'you', 'user' or be more specific
> refer to both audiences separately based on the task.
> The company needs only one and only one document to cover all levels
> What are the rules on using 'etc' in technical writing?
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