Words for People - Summary

Subject: Words for People - Summary
From: "Parks, Beverly" <ParksB -at- EMH1 -dot- HQISEC -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 07:44:42 -0700

Hi! You folks are great. Answers to my question started pouring in
within five minutes of me posting it yesterday! I started sending
thank-yous individually, but when the replies were coming in faster than
I could respond, I decided that wasn't going to work (and still get any
work done!)

So, this message is a mass Thank You and a summary of your responses. I
received 22 replies.

- Almost half (10) said to go with "employee".
- Three said that "person" works okay in the example I gave.
- One said to stick with "individual", with good justification: If I am
dealing with civilian *and* military personnel, individual would apply
to both. Employee doesn't really apply to military personnel.
- Two people suggested "worker", and one of those had several other
suggestions, as well.
- Four people agreed that I may have been looking at it too long.
- Two people thought I was just plain crazy.

I'm tempted to go with employee in those places where person doesn't
sound right; but, the military/civilian point is hard to argue. The
example I gave applied to only civilians, so employee would work. But
for consistency throughout the help file for all areas of the software,
I should probably stick with individual (or person).

Something else I noticed in all these replies: All but one was sent
directly to me, not to the list. Kudos to everybody for great list
netiquette. Eric should be proud! 8-)

Bev Parks

==== original post =====
I'm writing online help for a system that has a labor accounting
portion. The word "personnel" is used a lot to refer to all employees as
a whole, so when possible I use "person" to refer to a single
individual. However, sometimes "person" doesn't quite fit. I've been
using "individual", but all of a sudden it doesn't look right and I'm
thinking "employee" may be better. I think I've just been looking at it
too long! Here's a sample sentence:

"The Summary tab displays a breakdown of an individual's total hours by
labor category, project, and deliverable."

Would you use "individual" or "employee" here?


Bev Parks
parksb -at- emh1 -dot- hqisec -dot- army -dot- mil

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