RE: Futur tense use in technical documentation

Subject: RE: Futur tense use in technical documentation
From: "YONEMURA,PRISCILLA (Non-HP-Roseville,ex1)" <priscilla_yonemura -at- nonhp-am -dot- exch -dot- hp -dot- com>
To: "'Sybille Sterk'" <sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 07:27:32 -0800

I would use the present tense and the active voice ("the system
displays...").
This isn't really about present versus future, but about describing how the
system functions.
I think to use the future tense weakens the document.

My two cents' worth,

Priscilla Yonemura

-----Original Message-----
From: Sybille Sterk [mailto:sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net]
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2000 2:46 AM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Futur tense use in technical documentation


Dear all,

We have a dispute at work. So far I have avoided the future tense wherever
possible, because from what I gathered it is not used in technical
documentation as it expresses a certain amount of doubt like it is
expressed in "may" or "might". Now, obviously this is grammatically
incorrect as my proof-reader, i.e. my boss (who, by the way is no technical
author) pointed out.

An example to make clear what I mean:

"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?

Thanks,

Sybille


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sybille Sterk
Technical Author and Translator (German)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Email: sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net
Web Site: www.wowfabgroovy.net
ICQ: #26779340


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