Re: His/Her v. Their

Subject: Re: His/Her v. Their
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2012 12:20:10 -0700

I tend to avoid the pronoun reference and say who I am writing about. When I refer to the audience, I imply "you" but do not state "you." Previous discussions on this list raised many valid arguments in favor and against, but none of those arguments swayed me to use "you" in documentation. When I refer to a third person, I use the label of that person, like "user," "administrator," "client," etc. I have never found an argument for using "their" as a reference to a person in a formal document that I liked.

I find the use of "they" to be awkward but I also find that the sentence that results can lead to ambiguity if it is read out of context. I like my sentences to be clear when read without the context provided by other sentences in a passage.

On 10/26/2012 7:08 AM, Becca wrote:

Some documents I'm editing of necessity give procedures in third person rather than the assumed (you) second person. There's no way around this.
In the document I'm editing, they use His/Her. My inclination is to use "their" - comments?
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His/Her v. Their: From: Becca

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