Posted by: Jack Henry | October 7, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Write in Second Person

Happy Friday, everyone. Today’s Editor’s Corner topic is second person point of view.

A lot of business and professional writing—particularly instructions and correspondence—would be much clearer if it were written in a second person (using you, your, and yours). Look at these two sentences:

· You must install the program on each PC.

· The program must be installed on each PC.

The first sentence leaves no doubt about who needs to perform the installation.

Many people avoid writing in second person because they think it sounds too casual. On the contrary, professional and technical writing experts often prefer second person because it creates sentences that are easier to understand and directions that are easier to follow.

There is one caveat: if you don’t know who will be performing the action, the second sentence is acceptable.

So, don’t shy away from using you, your, and yours in your professional documentation and correspondence. The experts agree, it makes your writing clearer.

This isn’t my dog, but I hope it makes you smile:

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

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