RE: Grammar Q

Subject: RE: Grammar Q
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "J Wermont" <jwermont -at- sonic -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 16:07:41 -0500

On Behalf Of J Wermont wondered out loud:
> (I'm much more averse to the
> > use of "will" than to the very occasional passive construction.)
> May I ask why? I hear this often, but I have never understood what
> are objecting to. The following makes perfect sense and sounds fine to
> Click the Delete Tag button at the bottom of the page. A
> dialog will appear.
> It makes sense to me because at the time the user is clicking the
> Tag button, the appearance of the confirmation dialog *is* in the
> So why not use the future tense?
I guess because it's in the nebulous future. When will it appear?
Instantly? (... in which case, you might as well have said "... dialog
appears") or some indeterminate time afterward (in which case other
things could have cropped up and distracted from the sequence, or we
just get tired of waiting, or...).
The argument that makes sense to me is that all the instructions occur
in the immediate present tense (written as imperatives), so the response
events might as well be described with the same immediacy. Otherwise,
you'd legitimately get into the future for your instructions any time
after the first step. "... a dialog will appear. Then you will select
... after which, you will need to..."
It's not that the responses HAVE to be in the same tense as the
instructions and actions that surround them, just that it's cleaner and
somehow more consistent to have everything happen in the glowing, vital
now. :-)

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Re: Grammar Q: From: louise . r . stevanovic
RE: Grammar Q: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Re: Grammar Q: From: J Wermont

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