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Re: Personal pronouns in specifications

From: Martin J. Duerst <duerst@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 13 May 2000 22:19:52 +0900
Message-Id: <>
To: Susan Lesch <lesch@w3.org>, www-international@w3.org
Hello Susan,

There are various cases where some pronouns should not be used.

One case is where the specification writers use 'we' or so to
state something in the specification; apart from very special
cases e.g. in the introduction or acknowledgements section, this
shouldn't be used.

The case that you refer to below is in examples, such as
http://www.mycompany.com and such. It is very difficult
e.g. to translate this into Japanese, for various reasons:
- There are more than one kind of 1st person pronouns; it
   depends on formality/politeness which to use. It is
   difficult to choose the right one.
- The possessive, which fits in rather easy in English,
   exists in Japanese but sounds rather strange in a context
   such as the above.
- To use a pronoun is rather bad grammar/usage in Japanese;
   if it can be avoided, something else is used (leave it out,
   use a name or a title,...).
- The use of the 1st person pronoun in Japanese sounds too

Other languages may have similar problems, or they may not.

Regards,   Martin.

At 00/04/30 16:40 -0800, Susan Lesch wrote:
>Would you kindly explain why some English personal pronouns should not be 
>used in specifications? Martin Duerst has mentioned it has to do with 
>translation [1], but I cannot find a clear reference.
>I proofread specifications, and would like to be able to point to your 
>answer on www-international@w3.org by URI. If this is the wrong list to 
>ask, apologies.
>Below is a chart representing en-US by person and case from Warriner's 
>_English Grammar and Composition_. In short, which pronouns should not be 
>used and why?
>               Nominative    Objective     Possessive
>1st person    I             me            my, mine
>2nd person    you           you           your, yours
>3rd person    he, she, it   him, her, it  his, hers, its
>               Nominative    Objective     Possessive
>1st person    we            us            our, ours
>2nd person    you           you           your, yours
>3rd person    they          them          their, theirs
>[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-xml-linking-comments/2000JanMa 
>r/0079.html (final paragraph)
>Susan Lesch
>Intern, W3C
Received on Saturday, 13 May 2000 09:17:57 UTC

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