TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:RE: US vs. UK pronoun/voice usage? From:"Phil Saum (UK)" <phils -at- eu -dot- citrix -dot- com> To:TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Tue, 9 Nov 1999 09:39:26 -0000
Like Neal, I am a British writer living in the UK. I think the the use of
the third person, passive voice is an _academic_ tradition as much as
anything. This style is more or less a standard for scientific documents,
not only in the UK, but in the US too. There is, however, a gulf between the
style of a scientific paper and user documentation. Whether this should be
the case is very much open to debate. Like Neal, I would issue a tut-tut
when reading a scientific paper that had been written in this way, but old
habbits die hard.
To summarise, I think it has less to do with cultural differences and more
to do with traditions in specific fields.