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Define ‘you’ for clarity

A clear message will get the best results.

An unclear message will literally cloud the waters, giving you confused, low quality or reduced quantity in results. For example, an unclear question will get meaningless answers and unclear shopping cart instructions will get fewer sales.

The word ‘you’ can be used to add clarity or obscure it.

When writing ‘you’, is it specific to the reader, a general term or someone associated with the reader? That needs to be clear, without thought, for the word to work as part of your message.

I just did a  quick survey which was aimed at parents and asked “How often do you make school lunches at home?” then “How often do your children get canteen lunches?”

In  my case, both answers were ‘never’ which may give the impression my kids starve! The reality is that I do not make their school lunches – they make their own.

Was the question specifically after how many lunches parents make or how many lunches are made at home? If the question was about home-made vs canteen, it was worded poorly and would have been better as “How often do your children take a home-made lunch to school?”

Have you seen other examples where ‘you’ is potentially misleading or confusing the message?

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