Would you use You and Your for a drug and alcohol awareness module?

Nov 26, 2014

I am creating a module about drug and alcohol use in the workplace and have had some difficulty on phrasing. Should I use You and Your when talking about effects etc. I don't want to sound like I'm accusing the entire work force of being on crack, but I want the content to be relevant to the individual learners. 

Any thoughts are appreciated.

17 Replies
Linda Lorenzetti

It's difficult to give an opinion here without an example of the wording that you are concerned about. 

If you mean something like: "If you take crystal meth, you may experience an uncontrollable urge to watch Breaking Bad", as opposed to "Crystal meth users may experience an uncontrollable urge to watch Breaking Bad".  Although, the first option is not bad, I would be more inclined to use the second approach as it sounds less accusatory.

Allison LaMotte

Is your course in English? If so, I think  it is fine to use "you" and "your," since it is often used in a general sense instead of saying "if one takes crystal meth" which (to my American ears) sounds a bit too formal.

Also, I feel like using "you" makes you feel more connected to the course -- Do you see what I did there? ;)

George Hill


An example where I was not sure is in a common misconceptions section. With the quote "I'm only harming myself" with the response "You put other people in danger when under the influence of D&A because..." 

I thought it sounded as if i'm assuming they are already doing it. As Linda suggested switching to "Drugs and alcohol only affect the people taking them" with a response in a similar style is probably the better option. Even if there is a slight lesser connection between the learner and course.

Andy Whitman

There's a lot more to using first, second, third perspective than just inserting the words I, you, they.

It's more than just trying to create a personal connection by using 'you.' To make a truly personal connection, use 'you' only during relevant opportunities. In your example:

"I'm only harming myself" with the response "You put other people in danger when under the influence of D&A because..."

'You' don't put anyone in danger. Drug users put people in danger and that's why 'you' need to do whatever. The user may or may not be a drug user and I understand this is where you are asking about the accusatory tone. But you don't need to think of it that way. What is being taught? Drug users do bad things, etc. What needs to be done? 'You' do something, especially if you happen to be a drug user.

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