Re: Use of "You"

Subject: Re: Use of "You"
From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Joanne Meehl <Jmeehl -at- datum -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 07:54:28 -0800 (PST)

Hi, Joanne...

I know that this is only going to confuse you more
than offer a solution, but what's wrong with

Don't you learn more when discussing something with a
friend than a dry, formal, presentation?

Not to cast dispersions on your instructors, but how
much recent real-world experience do they have as
opposed to a sometimes sheltered academia? Are they
current writers?

If there is one thing that I'd pass on to a "newbie",
it is don't do something because someone tells you it
is the way it is done (unless I'm the one tellinhg you
[just kidding]) it the way that works. Look at
current quality material (what's quality material?
stuff you think is good) and observe how it is done.
Not just one, but as many examples as you can put your
hands on. Try writing something in a friendly informal
manner and a more conservative manner and YOU decide
which way works better.

BTW...I prefer the casual, informal style.

BTW2: Using "you" in writing also makes it easier to
avoid passive voice vs the usualy prefered active
voice..though one does not dictate the other in all
cases and passive isn't ALWAYS wrong.

--- Joanne Meehl <Jmeehl -at- datum -dot- com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> 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 button".
> They just don't like the sound of "you"--they say
> it's too casual or
> familiar.
> But some of you are saying it works. What's a newbie
> like me to do?! I
> don't want to start a thread like "he/she", so
> please respond privately,
> particularly those of you who've had to make this
> decision and choose
> between "you" and phrases like "the user". I want to
> do what's right without
> doing flavor-of-the-month.
> Thank you!
> Joanne Meehl
> "If you do what you've always done, you're gonna get
> what you've always got,
> and sometimes that's nothing". -- Steven Tyler
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John Posada, Merck Research Laboratories
Sr Technical Writer, WinHelp and html
(work) john_posada -at- merck -dot- com - 732-594-0873
(pers) jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com - 732-291-7811
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