RE: Use of "You"

Subject: RE: Use of "You"
From: "Debbie Packer" <dpacker -at- stingrayboats -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 16:52:08 -0500


Sean Brierly wrote:

> 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.

This guy has me rolling in the floor again. Lost touch with reality? :)

Do you know how many of my professors I wanted to say the very same thing to
when I was in school? A lot of them!

> 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?

I had a great instructor (for Technial Editing, not Technical Writing). He
worked in the real world in several different places, ended up teaching, and
still did a lot of work outside of the university setting. He is actually
the one who got me started on this list! He was quite in touch with the real
world and open to change.

Unfortunately, not all professors keep in touch with the real world and they
don't really care what you have to say. As for what to do about the use of
"you", I agree mostly with what someone else said earlier. While you are in
school, talk with your instructor about other possibilites. If they don't
want to listen, just do it their way while you are there. When you go to
work, you may have a particular style guide to go by - you might not have
much say about that either.

My opinion on the "you" thing - I think it depends on the situation. There
are some cases that you may want your writing to appear somewhat casual in
order to make your reader feel more comfortable - the Dummies line of books,
for example.

And Don Samson (if you are still reading this list) - thanks for being such
a great instructor!

Debbie
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