TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: use of he/she/they From:Tim Covil <covil_t -at- WIZTEC-USA -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 12 Aug 1997 17:03:27 -0400
>BTW, your sample sentence has so much going on that it is confusing
>(there's an I, an us, and a he/she/them); also, your "boss" seems to be
>a specific person, and so would presumably have a specific gender.
Okay, I'll re-word. "I think you should go to the boss and see what they
think." Whether there is a lot or a little going on, it still sticks in
the craw. And MY boss IS a specific person, but you don't know the
gender, do you? This is the dilemma of the TW writing to an unseen
A wise person once taught me that you should write as you would speak.
Most people would not consciously do what you've suggested in normal
conversation. So why do it with the written word, when you have ample
opportunity to figure out a better way but still be concise?
Sorry, I just don't think there can be a situation where it "isn't
possible" to avoid pronouns.
Let me ask you this. If you applied for another TW job and you were
asked to submit a writing sample, would you send one in that features
the scenario we've discussed? If your answer is No, then my point is