Re: Don't "Should" on Me!

Subject: Re: Don't "Should" on Me!
From: BurkBrick -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 21:02:53 EDT

>What think you about the use of "should," "have to," "must,"
>"need to," and (sometimes) "WILL" in the instructions that
>you read and write?

I'm with you - I avoid them as much as possible. I also watch "will" because
it's often used because we believe that, in the future, this product *will*
do what we says it does. However, by the time the customer gets the product,
it *does* do what we say it does (or at least we hope it does). To my ear, it
sounds more confident.

As a side note, I worked with a writer for a while that changed all my
"wills" to "shalls," which I think is the absolute in condescension. As a
contractor, there wasn't much I could do about it - he had final say - but I
got out of the contract as soon as possible!

>I call the "should/must/need to" constructions parental language,
>because parents often use them in talking with their children.
>Because I don't like reading them, I avoid writing them. I write
>direct requests instead.

Actually, this isn't the rationale I use - the imperative is just as didactic
and parental as the other forms. For example: "Make your bed!" "Take out the
garbage." However, I think there are lots of other good reasons to use it.


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