Re: Grammar Q

Subject: Re: Grammar Q
From: Roy Jacobsen <royj -at- writingclearandsimple -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 16:13:45 -0600

Ben wrote:
> A possible guideline is use the word, you, in non-procedural content, but avoid it otherwise.
I have to ask: Why? Why avoid the word "you?" What is the benefit to the

I believe that conversational writing is better accepted by readers,
regardless of the content or context.

Note: By "conversational," I do not mean chatty, sloppy, or colloquial.
I mean writing using the same basic language that you would use to talk
to a friend, family member, or acquaintance.

Yes, by all means use the Imperative mood in procedural (or even
non-procedural) content. If I were instructing a friend in face-to-face
conversation, I would say "Click the Franistan button." But I would also
say to that friend "Check that you've entered all the Fritzin
information before you click the Franistan button." Avoiding the
second-person pronoun would force me to shift things to a passive-voice
"Check that the Fritzin information has been entered..." Bleagh!

Again, why avoid "you" in any content, procedural or otherwise?

*Roy Jacobsen*

Writing, Clear and Simple
1043 10^th Street North
Fargo, ND 58102

royj -at- writingclearandsimple -dot- com <mailto:royj -at- writingclearandsimple -dot- com>
<mailto:royj -at- writingclearandsimple -dot- com>


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Re: Grammar Q: From: Ben

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