RE: Use of "You"

Subject: RE: Use of "You"
From: Mitchell Gibbs <gibbs -at- gnv -dot- fdt -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 14:54:21 -0500


You're absolutely right. And, indeed, once you summon the guts to debate
your professors, the learning process becomes much more fun. Of course, you
also have to learn to pick your battles and analyze what you stand to lose
or gain before you show your sword.
One of the battles I lost (I suppose) came in a class on feature writing.
My professor insisted that we substitute colorful speaking verbs for "he
said," and "she said," such as "he blurted," and "she squeaked." I felt
that it was okay to do that occasionally, but silly and distracting to make
a habit of it. Our disagreement, and my refusal to do things "her way"
probably cost me a letter grade. I simply couldn't bring myself to write
that way.
I suppose I had my blinders on when I wrote this morning's message and
meant it narrowly. Certainly, issues come up in technical writing that are
worth fighting for. This did not seem like one of them.
Perhaps it would be better to say, "If you don't have the confidence and
knowledge to defend a position, do what you're instructed, because your
argument will wither if your main defense is that a bunch of people on the
TECHWR-L list said so."

Enjoy your pudding,


At 11:24 AM 11/29/99 -0500, you wrote:
..>However, if your instructor is wrong, I would and would recommend that you
>debate the point. Of course, the instructor assigns grades. However, if an
>instructor teaches something, they ought do so with reason. I assume the
>instructor is open for a reasonable discussion on the issue. One of the
>greatest things about university is that you have the opportunity to learn
>how to think for yourself . . . which such a debate would reinforce.

..In my Utopia, anyway, the student is there to learn,
>learn how to think and, when necessary, challenge the status quo. Asking for
>reason from the professor is part of that . . . and may not be part of the
>tech writer's interaction with an audience in the business world. (I
>understand the student might have a 4.0 GPA as your goal and dammned be the
>learning and thinking)
>where's my pudding??????

Mitchell Gibbs
Technical Writer
Advantage Software, Inc.

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