RE: Future tense use in technical documentation

Subject: RE: Future tense use in technical documentation
From: "Weiner, Kandis" <kweiner -at- positron -dot- qc -dot- ca>
To: "'Sybille Sterk'" <sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net>, "'techwrl'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 08:45:59 -0500

Snip from Sybille Sterk:

"When you click the X button the X dialog is displayed" (this is
what I
normally write)
"When you click the X button the X dialog will be displayed" (this
is what
my boss wants me to write)

What tense would you use?

Howdy,

I prefer to avoid future tense. When I have edited documents, I have
suggested re-writes to avoid its use.

My reasoning is similar to yours, the future tense can lead to ambiguity. I
find that simple action-result is clearer in the present tense.

Our company style guide also states that the future tense should be avoided
in tech docs, but I can't find any external verification. Perhaps in the Sun
Style Guide?

I'd also like to point out that "is displayed" is an intransitive verb
construction (I believe. Am I right?) I'm not sure, but I've been admonished
to avoid verb constructions with "to be".

Perhaps the sentence could be rephrased:

"When you click X, the X dialog box appears." ????

Just My 2 cents...

Kandis Weiner.
Technical Communicator - Positron Public Safety Systems
http://www.positron911.com
mailto:kweiner -at- positron -dot- qc -dot- ca








Previous by Author: RE: Review Copy
Next by Author: RE: Future Tense Dispute
Previous by Thread: RE: Future tense use in technical documentation
Next by Thread: RE: Future tense use in technical documentation


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads