Re: a question about verb tense/is or was?

Subject: Re: a question about verb tense/is or was?
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2001 18:37:37 -0500

Steve,

1. To open the ABC window, click the ABC.

2. When you open a new issue on the support page, a technical analyst
reads it and responds during business hours.

3. The book includes the following chapters [unless you mean to imply it
hasn't been written yet, in which case I agree with you].

The question isn't one of grammatical correctness but of simplicity of
language. When we write software documentation, we do not know the
English language skills level of our reader. When it is possible to
simplify by using a present progressive or imperative construction
rather than a simple future construction, do so. Try it. <future>You'll
like it.</future> Use the future tense when it is necessary rather than
whenever it is possible.

Dick

Steve Hudson wrote:
>
> 1. Click the ABC - the ABC window will open.
>
> 2. The technical writer will respond to your post with some writing.
>
> 3. The Book will contain the following chapters
>
> I use imperatives in instructions
>
> Steve
>

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