RE: Grammar Q

Subject: RE: Grammar Q
From: Mary Arrotti <mary_arrotti -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Chris Vickery <cvickery -at- arenasolutions -dot- com>, "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 13:30:41 -0800 (PST)

Chris Vickery <cvickery -at- arenasolutions -dot- com> wrote: I don't understand how "Click the widget to begin" can be anything but
imperative, second-person writing. The implied subject is the reader.
How could it be interpreted as "[The user] click the widget to begin"?

(1) You're right - when that phrase is written, the "you" is implied. And that is commonly known as imperative, second-person writing. [I say commonly known since it's always possible for people to make up their own terminology and writing rules.]

When you write "Click the widget" you are addressing the reader.

(2) Now, I agree that it's generally best to minimize the use of "you" in documentation. And by "you" I mean the word "you" - not the implied you in imperative, second-person writing.

However, there are instances where usage of "you" makes sense - makes info easier to understand.
Here's an example:
"Once the Admin updates your access rights, you can schedule a report."

Now, this isn't an imperative so "you can" makes sense - the info being given is that the reader has the capability to perform a task. Yes, you can write different sentences then the above but I don't think any would be significantly shorter or clearer.

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RE: Grammar Q: From: Chris Vickery

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