RE: Use of "You"

Subject: RE: Use of "You"
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Sean -at- Quodata -dot- Com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 10:48:03 -0500


Tell the instructors that, while you understand they mean well and really
believe they know what they teach, they've been in academia too long and
have lost touch with the industry.

The implied 'you' only goes so far. The word 'you' has to show up. 'One' and
'the user' are stilted.

The thread you started might be more appropriate than the he/she thing
because you are addressing the state of the profession: academia versus real
world, is there a difference. I suppose, that's one of my beefs with the STC

Anyway, does one go into teaching with no real-world experience as a tech
writer and, if not, how does one maintain one's skills after one leaves the
tw workforce to become sequestered as an instructor. I suppose, all this
begs the question: are the instructors writers or other professionals, such
as programmers or engineers, by training?


Thanks, Joanne, IMHO, a good question.

sean -at- quodata -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
From: Joanne Meehl [SMTP:Jmeehl -at- datum -dot- com]

Two of the instructors in my Tech Writing program at Northeastern
Univ. say
"NEVER use 'you' in technical documentation".

They don't mean the writer
should eliminate the implied "you", as in "Click the right mouse
They just don't like the sound of "you"--they say it's too casual or

But some of you are saying it works. What's a newbie like me to do?!
don't want to start a thread like "he/she", so please respond
particularly those of you who've had to make this decision and
between "you" and phrases like "the user". I want to do what's right
doing flavor-of-the-month.

Thank you!
Joanne Meehl

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