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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
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