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    #1

    how one might solve a problem

    a) Searching for papers, reviews or even reading linux-kernel source code to get ideas on how one might solve a problem became something I really loved.

    b)
    Searching for papers, reviews or even reading linux-kernel source code to get ideas how you might solve a problem is what I really love.


    a or b? I think a is the correct but can someone give me an explanation for this?

    Thanks in advance

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: how one might solve a problem

    Since you are the one who is solving the problem, use "I"

    ... on how I could solve the problem

    or just

    ... how to solve the problem.

    If you use "one" it sounds like you're doing the research and unnamed others then solve the problem.


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    #3

    Smile Re: how one might solve a problem

    Quote Originally Posted by dervast View Post
    a) Searching for papers, reviews or even reading linux-kernel source code to get ideas on how one might solve a problem became something I really loved.

    b)
    Searching for papers, reviews or even reading linux-kernel source code to get ideas how you might solve a problem is what I really love.


    a or b? I think a is the correct but can someone give me an explanation for this?

    Thanks in advance
    While it's true that the sentences are improved by using "I" as Barb D pointed out, I think there is something else to speak of here in addition to this.

    Both of these are correct. "You" can be used as "impersonal you", which means that "you", second person singular, can refer to "people in general". It's like saying "everyone" or "anyone". However, in order to be more polite, some people use "one" in place of "you", and in this case "one" means the same thing, "anyone" or "everyone". As well, I believe it makes sense to refer to others who "might solve the problem", as you would not be the only one who might endeavor to do so. It should be noted that there are some people who feel that the use of impersonal you is incorrect, poor style, or even impolite. While I don't recommend impersonal you in very formal situations, there's really nothing wrong with using impersonal you. Its use is well established and very common among native speakers of English.

    Here's a link that has a language article in which the author disputes the use of impersonal you, calling it wrong. It's not wrong. However, as I said, for more formal circumstances or when you feel you should be more polite than usual, I would avoid impersonal you. This goes for both speaking and writing. Now even though I disagree with the author of this article, I would still point out that he presents examples of good alternatives for impersonal you. I consider it to be rather schoolmarmish to call impersonal you incorrect. Calling impersonal you incorrect is perhaps even pedantic, but I wouldn't be so sure, as this area of dispute has to do with style rather than prescribed grammar rules.



    pronoun reference

    Impersonal You:

    Avoid using the personal pronoun you to refer to people, or classes of people generally. The pronoun you should always have a clearly understood antecedent in direct address or in an imperative sentence.
    Homer, you should be ashamed of yourself' (direct address)

    You will never know, Mugwert, who voted against you. (direct address)

    Close the door before you sit down. (imperative sentence)

    Open your book to page ten after you complete this exercise.
    INCORRECT: (unless clearly used in direct address) In order to pass chemistry you need to know the periodic tables.
    IMPROVED: In order to pass chemistry, students need to know the periodic tables.
    BETTER: Chemistry students need to know the periodic tables in order to pass the course.
    INCORRECT: Today you have to watch every penny you spend.
    IMPROVED: Today one has to watch every penny he spends.
    BETTER: Consumers today have to watch their pennies.
    Last edited by PROESL; 03-Aug-2009 at 13:53. Reason: html text copy improvement

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    #4

    Re: how one might solve a problem

    Thank you very much! I will read this tomorrow ( i am too tired now...cant even remember my name :S )

    That is how i changed my sentence

    Searching for papers, reviews or even reading linux-kernel source code to get ideas how to solve a problem became something I really loved.



    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    While it's true that the sentences are improved by using "I" as Barb D pointed out, I think there is something else to speak of here in addition to this.

    Both of these are correct. One way in which we use the pronoun you is called "impersonal you", which means that "you", second person singular, can refer to "people in general". It's like saying "everyone" or "anyone". However, in order to be more polite, some people use "one" in place of "you", and in this case "one" means the same thing, "anyone" or "everyone". As well, I believe it makes sense to refer to others who "might solve the problem", as you would not be the only one who might endeavor to do so. It should be noted that there are some people who feel that the use of impersonal you is incorrect, poor style, or even impolite. While I don't recommend impersonal you in very formal situations, there's really nothing wrong with using impersonal you. Its use is well established and very common among native speakers of English.

    Here's a link that has a language article in which the author disputes the use of impersonal you, calling it wrong. It's not wrong. However, as I said, for more formal circumstances or when you feel you should be more polite than usual, I would avoid impersonal you. This goes for both speaking and writing. Now even though I disagree with the author of this article, I would still point out that he presents good examples of good alternatives for impersonal you. I consider it to be rather schoolmarmish to call impersonal you incorrect. Calling impersonal you incorrect is perhaps even pedantic, but I wouldn't be so sure, as this area of dispute has to do with style rather than prescribed grammar rules.



    pronoun reference

    Impersonal You:

    Avoid using the personal pronoun you to refer to people, or classes of people generally. The pronoun you should always have a clearly understood antecedent in direct address or in an imperative sentence.
    Homer, you should be ashamed of yourself' (direct address)

    You will never know, Mugwert, who voted against you. (direct address)

    Close the door before you sit down. (imperative sentence)

    Open your book to page ten after you complete this exercise.
    INCORRECT: (unless clearly used in direct address) In order to pass chemistry you need to know the periodic tables.
    IMPROVED: In order to pass chemistry, students need to know the periodic tables.
    BETTER: Chemistry students need to know the periodic tables in order to pass the course.
    INCORRECT: Today you have to watch every penny you spend.
    IMPROVED: Today one has to watch every penny he spends.
    BETTER: Consumers today have to watch their pennies.

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