RE: Use of "You"

Subject: RE: Use of "You"
From: "Cascio, Justin" <Justin_Cascio -at- tvratings -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 11:15:26 -0500

I haven't had much problem using second person while rarely using the word
"you." Most of the help is in the form of imperatives.

Use this procedure to copy a widget.
1. From the File menu, choose New.

Occasionally in overview-type topics, I might say "you," but generally it's
for some kind of "you can" statement, which I then rewrite into a "To"
statement. Puts the emphasis on the tasks instead of the user.

Justin Cascio

-----Original Message-----
From: Joanne Meehl [mailto: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 button".
They just don't like the sound of "you"--they say it's too casual or

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