Re: Use of Second Person

Subject: Re: Use of Second Person
From: Karen Mayer <Karen_Mayer -dot- TOUCH_TECHNOLOGY -at- NOTES -dot- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 11:13:28 EST

Personally, I find use of the second person acceptable, often desirable,
as long as it's not overdone. I once had to edit a user guide written by
the developer that was littered with you and your. It was a mess:

To install your copy of Our Software, insert your copy of the diskette
into your floppy disk drive, type A: or B: and press Return.

I don't mind if it's used sparingly, because we are at any time giving
instructions/information to a single individual. If I can say it clearly
and concisely without using the second person, I will -- as long as it
doesn't detract from the flow of the sentence. Some people insist on
using some neutral reference to the reader, such as "the user," even when
it's awkward:

If the user selected option B in step one and the user is using a widget,
the user must glorf the schmirf.

Not me, no way, uh-uh. The second person flows better, makes the sentence
easier to read and improves clarity. I can't see any reason not to use

-- km

Previous by Author: Re: Boring Discussions
Next by Author: Re: "Y'all" is the Southern plural of you
Previous by Thread: Re: Use of Second Person
Next by Thread: Re: Use of Second Person

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads