Victory Garden, Day By Day

Providing Hope

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Day 83 – Oriental Lily and Word Choices

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Over the 20 plus years I’ve been using email, I’ve found that using the word “you” often gets me in trouble.  Readers immediately take my sentence very personally and then parse it for possible hidden accusations.

Over my 45 plus years as an intelligence officer, college professor, and technical writer/editor, I’ve found that my least offensive questions have started with the word “when,” which is not in any way personal.  Questions starting with who, what, where, why, and how have proven much more likely to stir defensive reactions.

The more we think about these two points, the less we will be needlessly contentious.

Ward Maynard