RE: Use of "You"

Subject: RE: Use of "You"
From: "Kathi Jan Knill" <Kathi -dot- Knill -at- template -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 14:34:55 -0500

Hello Joanne,

So far I think those who have responded to your inquiry have given you very
good information. But, as you will see often in your life/career, every
writer has an opinion -- thus, I share mine.

When I was in college (and I too went to Northeastern, but that was eons
ago) I spent some time trying to figure out why people went to college. I
discovered that it is not so much the details of a subject that they are
taught (i.e., accounting, engineering, writing, etc.) that is important for
students to learn, but the ability to think about a subject that was most
important. I also learned that if you recognize early on that since you pay
for the education you are getting, you have a right to question that which
is being taught. There were some tw list members who thought that if you
went against what your prof. said that it would mean a lower grade. While
that may be true with some very narrow minded profs. (and I hope NU did not
pick up any since I was there), it is generally not the case with most. A
professor understands that while he is responsible for disseminating
information that he believes to be correct, a student may come up with
questions about the information or the accuracy of it. I've known many
professors in my life and don't know of any that would penalize a student
for doing outside thinking.

So, having said that, I suggest that you continue to do your research into
the pros and cons of using "you" in doc. and then discuss your findings with
your prof. I don't suggest that you attack your prof. or his knowledge
(especially not in front of an entire class). I do suggest that you make an
appt. to discuss this with him during office hours. I don't know the prof.
or his demeanor so I hesitate to say bring up the subject in class but in a
non-confrontational manner. However, you can also make that choice. You
would know best about that.

I have found during my years as a t.w. that sometimes you have to "do it the
way the manager/dept. says" and at other times you can "buck the
convention." It usually depends on the manager, in the same way that your
choice of what to do depends on your prof. Some managers are very closed
minded, where others are open to new or different ways of doing things. It
is something we just have to determine with time. Therefore, whatever you
choose to do in this situation of yours, remember it. Remember advice you've
been given. Remember what worked, what did not work, and why. Then, when you
are in the workforce and are faced with a similar problem, you will be armed
with knowledge on how to think through the situation and make the correct

Just mho,
Kathi Jan Knill
Sr. Technical Writer
Template Software
Kathi -dot- Knill -at- Template -dot- com
"A day without sunshine is like, night."

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