the use of "you" - was gender issues

Subject: the use of "you" - was gender issues
From: Brenda Huettner <bphuettner -at- WSICORP -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 09:20:39 EST

I'm in a sales/marketing group, and write software documentation. I
use second person singular almost all the time. BUT this doesn't mean
I have to include the word "you" in every sentence. Since I am
typically writing/editing instructions, a command sounds better than a
declarative sentence. For example, I hate "You press the key to
perform the function" - it sounds awkward and forced. It works much
better as "Press the key to perform the function". Yes, only one word
difference. But it changes the whole tone of the text. If it doesn't
happen to be instructions, I reword to get something like "the key
controls the function".

I would leave the "you" in phrases like "After you've entered the
values" or "contact your sales rep".

Just one person's opinion.....

Brenda Huettner
bphuettner -at- wsicorp -dot- com

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