RE: Grammar Q

Subject: RE: Grammar Q
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 14:40:03 -0500

On Behalf Of Al Geist wrote:
> I have to go with the "get rid of 'you' crowd" on this one. I do not
> "you" and I try to minimize the use of "their." I also don't resort to
> gimmicks like Fred, he, she, or he/she. I use active voice and tell
> what needs to be done....Click this, file that, enter this, select
> It's worked for the last 30+ years and my clients seem extremely happy
> with my material.

In ancient days (when I was in school) English/grammar teachers taught
us a technique called sentence diagramming. It was billed as a way to
make it easier to parse out sentences, to discover what the parts were
and what their relationships were.
In reality, the method was good for showing that you'd got it right, or
for showing you that you still had some figuring to do - that is, the
diagram still didn't work, so you still had something wrong in your
Anyway, the point is that if you apply diagramming to an imperative
(command) sentence, you quickly discover that the word "you" has a place
and a critical function in there, whether you voice it or not.
Thus, when I say to Al, "Go to the store.", I'm really saying "You, go
to the store."
The "you" is included when you want to make your imperatives really,
really imperative.
Yes, "Go to the store." could readily be interpreted as "Al, go to the
store.", but if I'm writing to a general audience that includes people
not named Al, where I want each of them to do as they're told (and not
assume that Al should do it all...) then I'm using the general
second-person pronoun "you" to address them all... but our English
convention allows me to leave it implied or understood. Implied or not,
English sentence structure needs it.

All that to reiterate that I use imperative sentences all through my
docs, thus implying hundreds or thousands of instances of "you", but I
just leave them implied or understood in almost all cases.
I think most of us do that.
I think we might just be a little confused about it because the "you" is
not blatant in our work. Nevertheless, it's there... lurking.
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RE: Grammar Q: From: Lauren
Re: Grammar Q: From: Janice Gelb
RE: Grammar Q: From: Al Geist

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