Use "You" to Speak to the Reader/PEN/NPR
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WRITING USER-FRIENDLY DOCUMENTS

Use "You" to Speak to The Reader


[checkmark] By using "you," you address your reader personally and add immediacy to your document.

When you address the reader as "you", the reader feels that you are addressing him or her directly. Remember that even though your document may affect a thousand or a million people, you are speaking to the one person who is reading it. When your writing reflects this, it is more economical and has a greater impact on the reader. By using "you" to answer the readers' questions, you clarify whom you are addressing.


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Copies of tax returns must be provided.You must provide copies of your tax returns.


Writing for an individual reader forces you to analyze carefully what you want the reader to do. By writing to an individual, you will find it easier to--

  • Put information in a logical order

  • Answer questions and provide the information that your reader wants to know

  • Assign responsibilities and requirements clearly

Be sure to define "you" clearly.


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Public Access to Information
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Public Access to Information
Facilities in regional and district offices are available to the public during normal business hours for requesting ... If you are a member of the public, you can get copies of our records at any regional district office ...


[LETTER BUTTON]"Use 'You' To Speak To The Reader In Your Letters"


Define "you" by any of the following methods--

  • State in the beginning of the document who the audience is--"This regulation tells you, a loan applicant, how to secure a loan."

  • Define "you" in the Definitions section--"You" means a loan applicant.

  • Where you address different readers in different parts of the document, define "you" in each context--"How do different types of borrowers apply for a loan? If you are a small business, you must submit ...   If you are an individual, you must submit ..."
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Who is responsible for restoring the site?
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Who is responsible for restoring the site?
Lessees and operators are responsible for restoring the site. You must ensure that ...Lessees and operators are responsible for restoring the site. If you are the operator, you must conduct all operations in a way ...  If you are the lessee, you must monitor the operator to ensure that ...


Use "you" to engage your readers and let them know what they are expected to do.

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