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Subject:Re: "they" and a bit of hyp From:Michael Cooperman <michael_cooperman -at- MATHWORKS -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 2 Jun 1994 09:30:38 -0500
Subject: Reply Form Time:9:22 AM
RE>>"they" and a bit of hyperbole Date:6/2/94
Regarding Sue Stewart's (limited) choices in her questionnaire:
The user must ensure that his password is correct.
The user must ensure that his/her password is correct.
The user must ensure that his or her password is correct.
The user must ensure that their password is correct.
It seems to me that it wouldn't take much to rewrite this sentence to avoid
any awkwardness. If the "user" is also the reader, why not just write: "You
must enter the correct password."
If "ensure" means something else (and just what does this sentence mean,
anyway?), then say what it means.
In most manuals I've written or read, the user is also the reader. In some
cases, such as when you're writing for an application developer who is
creating software for a user, you must be more careful when giving
instructions because of the possible confusion. If you're writing for the
user, why not use "you" instead of the less direct pronouns?
And, by the way, I also don't like using "they" in the singular, though I
like "his" less and find the other forms cumbersome.