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pc language

Laura Kittleson LAURA at UCF1VM.BITNET
Wed Jan 27 11:57:19 EST 1993


I'm a technical writer who works with university computer users.
I alternate pronouns between "she" and "he" where singular usage is
most relevant to the context (never changing in mid-sentence).  I
use plurals when singular isn't necessary.  In documentation, I like
to use "you" when writing about an action to be taken.

When I taught technical writing, before "politically correct" was
a term or a trend, I tried to teach my students how to think about
their audience.  It was interesting to teach my young male engineers
to be how ridiculous they might feel when they write a resume cover
letter to "Dear Sir" and the head of the big firm they want a job
with is a woman.  Most of my students were reasonable people who
have learned that assumptions can be dangerous.

But we also discussed the fact that grammatical contortions to
avoid using any pronoun that indicates a gender are likely to
draw the reader's attention to the contortion more than the
gist of the sentence.  Not always, but maybe.

My $.02's worth.

--Laura Kittleson
laura at ucf1vm.cc.ucf.edu



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