RE:future tense vs present tense

Subject: RE:future tense vs present tense
From: "Michael West" <mike -dot- west -at- bigpond -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2012 21:24:10 +1100

I'm sorry to hear this is what passes for "interesting conversation" where
you work.

About that specific example, it should be written as, "To save your changes,
press ENTER." Avoid passive voice constructions in instructional writing;
they are ambiguous.

About that general principal, you will do your readers a favour if you
reserve future tense for things that do not happen at present; for example,
things that the software doesn't do now but "will" (according to somebody)
in the future. Needless to say, that is something that should generally be
avoided like the plague, for reasons that go well beyond questions of
English usage.

Use present tense to describe events and capabilities that can be observed
at the time of reading.

Mike West

> I had an interesting conversation with one of my colleagues. The topic was

> when to use future tense in instructions versus present tense. Such as:

> "After you press ENTER, your changes will be saved." versus "After you
> press ENTER, your changes are saved."

> I have my own opinion but I thought I'd ask other people what they think.


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