re: Declarative vs. imperative

Subject: re: Declarative vs. imperative
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 09:07:32 -0700 (PDT)

Ruby Isaacs' friend wonders about declaratives vs imperatives


Determine who the target audience is (is it the inspectors?)

Present conceptual information as declaratives, such as stating regulations.

Present directions that are given to the audience as imperatives.

You can try to write something like:

"Regulations specify that inspectors must....
"As an inspector, you must 1. 2. 3. ..."

Or something similar.

You could also present the conceptual information, such as what constitutes safety, why safety is important, and when to consider safety issues, at the beginning of the manual (presented as declaratives). Then, follow up with specific instructions (presented as imperatives).

If the manual is written for inspectors, your friend might consider using "you" at all times, instead of switching between "an inspector" and "you." Without know the exact content, though, it's difficult to offer anything more specific.

Sean Hower

technical writer

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