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Paging Anonymous Claire
Are you reading me? If so, answer this question.

Can chunky documents of the sort that currently exercise us both use the word "we"? If not, why not? Is it written down anywhere?

I'm just seized with the urge to write "It is now time for us to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in."

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A Pedant Observes

"It is now time for us to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in" doesn't actually use the word "we", so you should be OK regardless. Of course it does use a couple of other first person plural pronouns.

Yeah, yeah. That would be Anonymous Dr Plokta, who ought to get himself an LJ account and no mistake, wouldn't it? Or (horrible thought) Anonymous Malwen the Snail ditto.

Whatever. It does you no good. To use that sentence, I have to use the word 'we' extensively Everywhere Else in the document. Pedants need to have regard to the wider context.

Re: A Pedant Observes

It really depends.

If the document is expressing a point of view that can be seen to be corporate (like a company, a magazine or a government department), then "we" is a perfectly valid construction.

So (for example) in the product review I'm in the middle of writing for ADA I'm using phrases like "we see this as one of the most useful tools to appear for the Java developer", where "we" is the editorial opinion of the magazine. I did the same in a report that 5 of us at work wrote for for a government body last week.

Ah, no. In general, you're right and we use "we" all the time for all manner of stuff. But this is different; for this precise task, I appear to be working to an thorough, specific, detailed, and completely unwritten style guide. Correct business writing form has no power here. "Back, back, you wicked mandarin, you. I am wielding my plus three vorpal draft of doom".

Whoops, got carried away for a moment there.

It's, well, invigorating.

In fact, it rather appears to be a -2 Cursed Draft of Career Suicide at the moment.

I recommend using The Economist's style guide. It's a great tool for any form of business writing. You can buy it as a book or use it on the web here.

Yep, it's quite normal. My style guide summary on this one is (a) 'the Government' (despite being singular in our place; don't know about yours) and 'we' can be used more or less interchangeably (b) except where referring to some act of the Government which could also refer to any future Government, e.g. with reference to potential legislative powers (c) and within all the usual rules of good writing, including keeping the subject of the sentence clear and avoiding too much repetition except for rhetorical effect. Etc etc.

This advice comes days too late, of course, but that's what I've done.

Do you think people are sorry I'm here yet?

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