RE: Future tense in instructions?

Subject: RE: Future tense in instructions?
From: "Bowen, Marianne" <Marianne -dot- Bowen -at- Nextel -dot- com>
To: "'David Slonosky'" <David_Slonosky -at- i2 -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 09:03:39 -0500

I disagree that "most tech writers" avoid passive voice. I feel that passive
voice has its place, especially in tech writing. Quite often passive voice
allows much clearer communication. If I have the choice between a convoluted
sentence in active voice and a clear, short sentence in passive voice I will
always go with the latter.


-----Original Message-----
From: David Slonosky [mailto:David_Slonosky -at- i2 -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2000 1:56 PM
Subject: Re: Future tense in instructions?

"will be displayed" is also passive voice, which most tech writers avoid
the plague. Just being a fussy grammatarian.


Geoff hart <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA> on 01/21/2000 09:17:25 AM

Please respond to Geoff hart <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>

To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
cc: "'sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net'" <sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net> (bcc: David
Subject: Future tense in instructions?

<<When you click the X button the X dialog will be displayed>>

Again, the problem with "when". "Once you have clicked" would be more
grammatically correct if you prefer this style. Again, "appears" is much
shorter than "will be displayed", is much more direct, and eliminates any
uncertainty (will = will eventually, appears = it's going to happen now, in
response to what you just did). I've seen some argument against "appears"
(e.g., "appears to be what?"), and had reservations about this verb myself
back when I began techwhirling, but I now find the arguments unconvincing.
If you're skeptical, "will display" is perfectly acceptable, since "display"

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