"She realizes there is nothing to fear, not world travel alone to remote places, nor her own disease - and that letting go of identity is the only hurdle to leap before doing what you want."

I -think- the author (who I am advising) is invoking a trite phrase, 'doing what you want' which weakens the sentence. It changes the meaning to say 'doing what she wants'. Are either (you/she) correct?

  • 2
    This sounds like a good questions for Writing(writers.stackexchange.org) (it's not really an ELU question).
    – Mitch
    Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


In a higher register* "doing what you want" would be replaced with "doing what one wants". The whole phrase is impersonal, but the impersonal is conventionally expressed using the second person singular.

If you were to make it specific, I would replace the infinitive "leap" as well:

...that letting go of identity is the only hurdle she has to leap before doing what she wants.

(For what it's worth, whichever person is used, I don't think it makes any sense, because doing what she wants is expressing her identity, not letting it go, but that's beside the point).

* I.e. "pretentious" in the eyes of 99% of people.

  • I should open a new question, for a better word than 'identity', which my friend uses to mean "imposition of expected behavior and roles". That is a bit off topic from -this- question, though. Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 19:19

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