Declarative vs. imperative

Subject: Declarative vs. imperative
From: "Ruby Isaacs" <ruby -at- quendi -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2002 16:12:14 -0400

Will you please post your editorial advice for the following situation? It's for a colleague of mine.

"I am working on a manual of procedures concerning safety for inspectors and have come across a mishmash of text that switches from....declarative statements such as 'Inspectors must always....' to ones addressed directly to the reader that are imperative such as 'you must never ... you are required to be....'

My instinct is to improve the text by choosing to describe inspectors' actions, but at the same time I am concerned that the message may be more successfully delivered by the imperatives.

Have you encountered this problem before or do you know what is standard in a manual such as this ... even if not I would appreciate your views."

Ruby Isaacs

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