RE: You VS One

Subject: RE: You VS One
From: "Sean Brierley" <sbrierley -at- Accu-Time -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2008 17:07:16 -0400

What's the context? Is a non-technical writer confronting you on a
matter of technical writing style? Is this person a non-native speaker?



-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+sbrierley=accu-time -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+sbrierley=accu-time -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Keith Hansen
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 4:54 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: You VS One


What is the generally accepted position today for "you" vs. "one"?

For example, assume an election official wants to mail a letter to all
registered voters. He can choose either of the following sentences for
his letter:

* "If you want to vote in the November election, you must register by
October 15." VS.
* "If one wants to vote in the November election, one must register by
October 15."

Back long ago (the Victorian era?), "one" was used in such situations
instead of "you." Today, outside of very formal writing (such as an
academic paper), does anyone still advocate using "one" instead of

I think "one" sounds ridiculously pompous. However, at least one person
I know thinks "you" is wrong here (too informal, she says)!

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You VS One: From: Keith Hansen

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