Future Tense Controversy

Subject: Future Tense Controversy
From: marybl -at- libertymedical -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 08:32:27 -0700

Hi, I'm new to the list and am hoping to get some feedback on an issue
that has come up with our corporate lawyers.

Our department writes training manuals, IS user manuals, and company
policies and procedures. We have always written these in present tense,
active voice. The lawyers are now wanting us to write everything in future
tense (and thus putting it in passive voice).

Needless to say, the writers are not happy with this new edict, as we
believe that present tense and active voice should always be used in
technical writing. The lawyers are saying what we do is not 'technical
writing'! My question is, can any of you direct me to sources regarding
what is and what is not considered 'technical writing' and also sources
that define rules for using present and future tense in technical writing.

Mary Block
Manager, Knowledge Management
Liberty Healthcare Group


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