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[NB: This is a re-post of a closed question that was rightly judged "off topic". It does present an interesting problem, though, so I've rewritten it and asked an on-topic usage question.]

Is it typical native-speaker usage to inconsistently use the pronoun "one" in a paragraph?

For example, in the following paragraph, one is often replaced by other pronouns, viz., you/your and we/our. I'd like to replace these inconsistent pronouns with either one/one’s or you/your. Which of my two revisions ([2] and [3]) is more idiomatic and natural?

[1] One needs to be very careful about discarding our old cell phones because you may leave behind information that one thinks that they have erased. You never want to find that one’s bank account has been drained because someone uncovered our PIN number and one certainly wouldn’t want your boss to find their competitor's phone number. Fortunately, there are precautions we can take if one wants to avoid these problems.**

[2] One needs to be very careful about discarding one’s old cell phones, because one may leave behind information one thinks one has erased. One never wants to find that one’s bank account has been drained because someone uncovered one’s PIN number, and one certainly wouldn’t want one’s bosses to find their competitor's phone number. Fortunately, there are precautions one can take if one wants to avoid these problems.**

versus

[3] You need to be very careful about discarding your old cell phones, because you may leave behind information you think you have erased. You never want to find that your bank account has been drained because someone uncovered your PIN number, and you certainly wouldn’t want your bosses to find their competitor's phone number. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take if you want to avoid these problems.**

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One is unconvinced that "typical native-speaker usage" is a useful way to phrase the question. Devoid of any context, the answer is clearly "No, it is atypical." However one finds it difficult to accept the implicit assertion that all native speakers are alike. –  Fortiter Mar 12 '13 at 8:18
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@Fortriter: Non-native speakers aren't quite as aware of that as native speakers are. EFL teachers always hear from students who say that their native English-speaker foreign friends endorsed blatantly ungrammatical sentences in their homework assignments, so they must be right. After all, they're native speakers. But those of us who know better know that native speakers will say anything & claim it's grammatical, acceptable, & standard just because they're native speakers & falsely believe that they have a perfect knowledge of English when all they know for sure is their idiolect. –  user21497 Mar 12 '13 at 8:25
    
As a non English speaker I prefer number 3! It sounds more natural to my Persian/Iranian ears! :) –  Persian Cat Mar 12 '13 at 8:58
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@user37324: Yeah, me too. I was wondering what other native speakers had to say, though. Most people mistake kitsch for art, noise for music, tripe for poetry, & trash for novels, even in their own language. And some of things that some of the native speakers here say make me smile. I'm sure that some of my remarks about language also raise some native speakers' eyebrows. Well, each to their own. –  user21497 Mar 12 '13 at 12:33
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Another possibility: "People need to be very careful about discarding their old cell phones, because they may leave behind information they think they have erased ..." I'd either use "they" or "you". –  Peter Shor Mar 12 '13 at 14:54

2 Answers 2

Definitely Number 3 is most natural. This kind of advice needs to hit home and by talking to the reader it is more likely to do that. Number 2 sounds forced (maybe a laxative would help?) in its attempt to remain distant from the reader and to what end?

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It is typical native language usage, in any language, to have difficulties in parallelism, losing track of all the elements presented earlier and failing to be consistent with them throughout a narrative. (it took me some work to maintain consistency there and even then I'm not sure).

This is probably also even more difficult for a non-native speaker. But native speakers aren't perfect. They make mistakes too but just different ones, those that are natural.

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What is a “natural” mistake, and what is a mistake which is not “natural”? Also, I think you mean “typical native-speaker language usage” there. Otherwise, it sounds like you’re talking about the indigenous peoples of this or that tropical island. :) –  tchrist Mar 12 '13 at 21:15
    
@tchrist: 'natural' means ... circularly, what a native speaker would do. –  Mitch Mar 13 '13 at 1:10

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