RE: His/Her v. Their

Subject: RE: His/Her v. Their
From: Fiona Hanington <fiona -dot- hanington -at- ericsson -dot- com>
To: "becca -at- di -dot- org" <becca -at- di -dot- org>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2012 12:34:14 -0400

I agree with many who have suggested rendering everything plural and using "their" as much as possible. However, if there are instances where singular is unavoidable, I would use "his or her" rather than "his/her" (not a fan of the slash).

Another idea (although this depends on how lengthy your instructions are, among other things) is to set the instructions up in a table. That way you could use the 2nd person and the imperative form:

-----------------------------------------------------
Step | Who | What
-----------------------------------------------------
1. | SME | Sign the form and return it to ...
2. | Writer | Record the .... Etc.
3. | SME | Verify that...
Etc.

Fiona

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+fiona -dot- hanington=ericsson -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+fiona -dot- hanington=ericsson -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Fred Ridder
Sent: October-26-12 9:06 AM
To: becca -at- di -dot- org; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: His/Her v. Their


Becca wrote:


> In this situation, we have a number of diferent actors. Each step may
> refer to a different actor. The author of the document wrote things
> like
>
> "The SME should print his/her name and sign it on the Signature line"
>
> The next step then says what the next actor should be doing with the form.


"The form must have the SME's name printed on it and the SME must sign it on the Signature line."

My reasoning here is that the SME is presumably not the only person capable of printing the SME's name on the form. Only the signature part of the procedure needs to be performed specifically by the SME. Passive voice is perfectly appropriate and very useful when a specific actor is not required in a procedure.

-Fred Ridder
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Writer Tip: You have more time to author content with Doc-To-Help, because your project can be up and running in 3 steps.

See the &#8220;Getting Started with Doc-To-Help&#8221; blog post. http://bit.ly/doc-to-help-3-steps
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Follow-Ups:

References:
His/Her v. Their: From: Becca
RE: His/Her v. Their: From: Combs, Richard
Re: His/Her v. Their: From: Becca
RE: His/Her v. Their: From: Fred Ridder

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