Hallo,
spending a sunny bank holiday Monday indoors marking essays, I came across a wording which surprises me a bit (especially after some advice I was given here). Some students use phrases 'You can see', 'you may notice' etc instead of the - in my opinion more appropriate 'one can see', 'one notices' etc.
Although I appreciate that 'one' is not commonly used in spoken language (at least not by my students), I would expect to find it in written language, especially in an (mock) exam paper.
What do you think?
Best wishes,
Gunter
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Hallo, spending a sunny bank holiday Monday indoors marking essays, I came across a wording which surprises me a bit ... students), I would expect to find it in written language, especially in an (mock) exam paper. What do you think?

No. While as you say it is more correct than 'you' not many people use it as it has certain snobbish connotations for many. There is also the fact that when it is used, it is frequently used wrongly, Princess Anne is particularly prone to saying "one fell of one's horse" when she means "I fell off my horse".
No. While as you say it is more correct than 'you' not many people use it as it has certain snobbish connotations for many.

Even in a clearly formal context? In most scientific talks I've heard so far, 'one' was used instead of 'you'; however, these were mainly older people or foreigners (i.e. non native speakers).
There is also the fact that when it is used, it is frequently used wrongly, Princess Anne is particularly prone to saying "one fell of one's horse" when she means "I fell off my horse".

But this is a completely different situation, isn't it?

Best wishes,
Gunter
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No. While as you say it is more correct than 'you' not many people use it as it has certain snobbish connotations for many.

Even in a clearly formal context? In most scientific talks I've heard so far, 'one' was used instead of 'you'; however, these were mainly older people or foreigners (i.e. non native speakers).

I would never have used it when I lived in Britain, which I did until the age of 25, except for effect but having now lived in France for an even longer time, where 'on' is frequent and used correctly most of the time, I have adopted it in English too. Well 'one' anyway.
There is also the fact that when it is used, ... one's horse" when she means "I fell off my horse".

But this is a completely different situation, isn't it?

I meant it as one of the reasons why average English people avoid it, they don't seem to be quite sure what it means or when to use it. I'm doing my best to educate them ;-)
But this is a completely different situation, isn't it?

I meant it as one of the reasons why average English people avoid it, they don't seem to be quite sure what it means or when to use it. I'm doing my best to educate them ;-)

So do you think I should point this out to my students (after all, they will have to write essays for next few years), or do you think I should rather keep it to myself (they are the native speakers; my experience with the English language is rather limited).
Best wishes,
Gunter
I meant it as one of the reasons why average ... use it. I'm doing my best to educate them ;-)

So do you think I should point this out to my students (after all, they will have to write essays ... should rather keep it to myself (they are the native speakers; my experience with the English language is rather limited).

You could perhaps approach it in a different way, by asking them why they use 'you' rather than 'one' adding that to you it seems wrong and that some stiffy old examiners might not like it. I think I agree with you though, if the paper important and serious then it should be 'one' and not 'you' and that is what they should learn to use.
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spending a sunny bank holiday Monday indoors marking essays, I came across a wording which surprises me a bit (especially ... students), I would expect to find it in written language, especially in an (mock) exam paper. What do you think?

Both of the last two editions of Fowler raise objections to the mixture of generic 'one' with generic 'you' within a text. But generic 'you' clearly exists and seems nowadays to be the more common form. I wouldn't mark anyone down for using it in writing, particularly when used consistently.
French ('on') and German ('man') still use a distinct generic pronoun, but in Dutch ('men') and English ('one') this pronoun seems to be disappearing from common (as opposed to incorrect) use.

(Anyway, science students can't speak English, let alone write it.)

Giles

Running away as fast as his little stubby legs can carry him.
Both of the last two editions of Fowler raise objections to the mixture of generic 'one' with generic 'you' within ... to be the more common form. I wouldn't mark anyone down for using it in writing, particularly when used consistently.

I wouldn't mark them down (I'm anyaway just their supervisor), but I'd like to help them to write acceptable essays in their exam.
(Anyway, science students can't speak English, let alone write it.)

It's not limted to students, unfortuntatelt. But Wouldn't it be nice if this would change?
Gunter
Hallo, spending a sunny bank holiday Monday indoors marking essays, I came across a wording which surprises me a bit ... students), I would expect to find it in written language, especially in an (mock) exam paper. What do you think?

I was always taught to use the passive for this sort of thing. Not "you can see" or even "one" but "it can be seen that..." However, modern day thinking is that it sounds rather stilted.
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