RE: Grammar Q

Subject: RE: Grammar Q
From: "Chesler, Lynn" <lchesler -at- auspicecorp -dot- com>
To: "'Roy Jacobsen'" <royj -at- writingclearandsimple -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 08:28:58 -0500 (EST)

I just have to put in my 2 cents. I like "you"; however, I didn't always
feel this way. I used to go out of my way to avoid it because I thought it
sounded odd.

Now I just love it. I think it adds a level of familiarity and
conversation to what might otherwise be a very dry document. I am
currently editing a documentation set that was written by the engineers,
many of whom went out of the way to avoid the word "you" by overusing the
passive voice.

Like so much of writing, it's a matter of preference. I think that as long
as we're clear and write to our audience, we have some latitude. As a lone
writer, I get to write the style guide, which makes it more fun for me.
Hee, hee, hee.

Lynn

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lchesler=auspicecorp -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lchesler=auspicecorp -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Roy Jacobsen
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2008 5:14 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Grammar Q

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
reader?

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
USA



701.866.9920
royj -at- writingclearandsimple -dot- com <mailto:royj -at- writingclearandsimple -dot- com>
<mailto:royj -at- writingclearandsimple -dot- com>rmjacobsen.squarespace.com
<http://rmjacobsen.squarespace.com/>



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References:
Re: Grammar Q: From: Ben
Re: Grammar Q: From: Roy Jacobsen

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