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Pronouns

Follow these guidelines for the use of pronouns:

  • Avoid the indefinite pronoun or indefinite possessive pronoun, especially at the beginning of a sentence, unless the noun to which the pronoun or possessive pronoun refers is clear.

    A pronoun that forces a reader to search for an antecedent can frustrate or mislead the reader. Pronouns that typically cause this type of confusion include “it,” “they,” “its,” “theirs,” “this,” “these,” “that,” and “those.”

    Incorrect: It also describes how to install the software.

    Correct: This chapter also describes how to install the software.

    Incorrect: You can use these either individually or together.

    Correct: You can use these two options either individually or together.

    Incorrect:

    The value in this variable is used to determine when to pause during long display output, such as during a software dump. Its value is reset each time the ok prompt is displayed.

    Correct:

    The value in this variable is used to determine when to pause during long display output, such as during a software dump. The variable’s value is reset each time the ok prompt is displayed.

  • Do not use first person pronouns.

    Incorrect:

    We recommend that you install the custom components only on large systems.

    Correct:

    Install the custom components only on large systems.

    Incorrect:

    We can write a protocol specification that describes the remote version of printmessage().

    Correct:

    You can write a protocol specification that describes the remote version of printmessage().


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