Re: 'you' want references?

Subject: Re: 'you' want references?
From: Pam Tatge <pamt -at- STEINBECK -dot- SC -dot- TI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 8 Jun 1994 18:09:22 CDT

LaVonna says:
> I agree with you, Pam, but I think it would be courteous to name
> a couple of references when you state, "There's plenty of information... ."

> What information were you referring to? (Or, to what information were
> you referring? ;-) )

What?? We're supposed to be COURTEOUS NOW?? :) Yep, you're right, but
I can't put my fingers on that information very quickly.

I have many references (30+ ref books, ?00 articles); they're not
well organized. I am a disorganized mess. I am working on an SGML
project to create a database of notes & info about the stuff I've
read; when that's done, it'll be easier for me to list sources.

A few years ago I gave an internal presentation on why we should use
second person instead of third. I was able to convince a roomful of
stodgy grumps who had "been in this business for over 20 years, young
lady". Think my little opinion was enough? No way--I had references.
And no way--I can't find that stupid presentation.

The information was actually kind of hard to find--it's not under
"person" in most indexes. Very little of it says directly, "Use
second person." Much of it discusses in how to use writing to talk
WITH your reader. (I think that third person talks ABOUT your
reader.) Here's a little info from one source:

...Later writers (those of 30-40 years ago) tried to be "only
scientists," and they worte with third-person pronouns, in the
passive voice and past tense, trying to reveal almost nothing
about themselves in their writings...readers will be more
accepting if you write to them with the same tone you would use
in talking to them. That means...using pronouns like I and you.
(Introduction to Technical Writing, Lois Johnson Rew)

Something simple convinced our grumps: they liked implied "you" in
instructions and decided it would be inconsistent to mix it with
third person in other parts of the text.

Someday I will find the rest of my sources for this and post it to
the list. By that time, maybe no one will be interested anymore.
Then can I add "Courteous" to my signature? <tired grin>

*** Pam Tatge, Member Group Technical Staff
*** Texas Instruments Semiconductor Group, Houston (but speaking for
*** pamt -at- steinbeck -dot- sc -dot- ti -dot- com me, not TI)

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