TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Sidenote to "don't S... From:BurkBrick -at- AOL -dot- COM Date:Mon, 6 Jun 1994 12:29:19 EDT
Barb (BurkBrick -at- AOL -dot- COM) writes:
> As a sidenote, 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!
Dianne Phelan replied:
>Continuing the sidenote, I was taught there is a LEGAL
>difference between "shall" and "will" (and also between "that"
If I can defend myself a wee bit here - The writer I was working with was
changing sentences from "Turn the On/Off switch On" to "The operator shall
turn the On/Off switch On." I found this to be excessive - especially because
this was supposed to be a military off-the-shelf manual. The users were army
"grunts" who (I believed) would be more confused than enlightened by the use
"Shall" does seem to be popular in military documents, but I don't recall
seeing it in any of the style specs - anybody know why this is so prevalent
in military documents?