Avoiding Misuse of You

When you write, reserve you for direct address. That is, use you only when you are addressing the reader of your message, for instance, in an e-mail to a specific recipient or when writing instructions for an assumed audience:  You will find references at the end of the book. Avoid the impersonal you in situations that require specific words identifying people, situations, or occurrences.

Poor:           You must pass several exams before being allowed to practice accounting.
[Here you is impersonal: The reader is not necessarily a future accountant.]

Improved
: Future CPAS must pass several exams before being allowed to practice.

Rephrase the sentences below to avoid the impersonal you.

  1. If you are a healthcare employer, you should consult OSHA publications to learn about workplace safety to help avoid common accidents.
  2. You can add veterinary coverage for employees’ pets to infuse more compassion into your benefits packages.
  3. You may not achieve salary parity with men if you don’t advocate for pay equity.
  4. Interning at a legal firm can give you an advantage if you want to pursue a career as an attorney.
  5. Using platitudes and clichés when giving a talk can make you sound insincere.
  6. When Bleinheim LLC was hiring, the firm required you to take a series of psychological tests to determine if you would fit into the corporate culture.
  7. Before the writing seminar, you were supposed to complete a self-assessment form.
  8. To improve an organization’s culture, you can ask your Human Relations director to develop workshops or one-on-one coaching for management positions.
  9. If you ask for an accommodation due to a medical condition, you may be able to telecommute.
  10. You have to be careful about pre-judging others, especially if you work for an organization that deals with different kinds of customers.

Avoiding Misuse of You Key 

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