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On Behalf Of Fred Ridder just couldn't resist saying:
> One thing this whole discussion has overlooked is that both the
> second person and the future tense have a legitimate use when it is
> desirable to describe some alternative action and the (typically
> undesirable or unintended) result of that action. What I'm referring
> is a kind of informational admonition that doesn't need the additional
> emphasis of a "note" or "caution" markup. For example, in a procedure
> step, you may say something like:
> If you click Foo [instead of Bar], a kludge will occur.
> with the assumption that the reader is not trying to accomplish a
> If the result of the nonstandard action is atypical or undesirable, it
> doesn't work to recast the statement as:
> To perform a kludge, click Foo.
> because that's not what the reader needs or wants to do.
> It seems to me that in the hypothetical case of hypotheticals, the
> future tense is specifically appropriate because it *is* talking about
> the "nebulous future", namely an action or result that should not be
> made to occur when following the procedure.
I use similar constructions for exactly that sort of situation.
The references to the exceptional or non-standard or optional situations
then stand out nicely from the main instructional sequence which is all
written in the mode:
1. Do this. That happens.
2. When that happens, do this other thing. Such'n'such occurs.
3. At the such'n'such dialog, do...
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