You (Was Re: Past Tents )

Subject: You (Was Re: Past Tents )
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 1995 09:52:15 +0800

> Scott asks:
> Any opinions on when it's ok. to use "you" in documentation?

Misti (ncr02!mdelaney -at- attmail -dot- com) replies:
> I use it whenever possible because i think, again, that it makes the
> document more readable. The reader is usually also the "doer" and it saves
> a mental step if the document makes that assumption.

I use it a lot in 'how to' material. The point is that there is a person
sitting in front of a keyboard with my manual on her lap. She should hear
a voice as she reads the page. In fact the whole thing works best when
I can picture the reader as I write, and they can hear me as they read.

I do avoid 'you' in introductory material. If I'm talking generally
about what the product can do, I prefer to make the product the subject
("COS/Manager can do.." rather than "You can use COS/Manager to...").
This isn't an iron rule; I just use 'you' less often in the introduction
and more often in the instructions.

Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Functional Software Fax: +61 9 328 8616
PO Box 192
Leederville, Western Australia, 6903

Previous by Author: Re: Margins in Word
Next by Author: Re: Tech-writing and source code
Previous by Thread: Forum 95: Checklist Online-documetation
Next by Thread: Re: Is there a tw job list? YES

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads