Re: Computer instruction in the present tense

Subject: Re: Computer instruction in the present tense
From: Gregory Keith <GKeith -at- DELRINA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 1995 18:32:00 PDT

> I have read that such instruction should be written in the
> PRESENT tense. What do you out there in the trenches do, and
> why?

Write in the PRESENT tense and the active voice (not to say that passive
voice means the past tense, which isn't true). The present tense is better
because it gives the sense of something happening here and now, not in some
distant conditional future or in some other place. It also has a degree of
confidence and certainty that says "When you do this, this happens". Your
user needs to know that when they perform an action, a certain result is
obtained.

Greg

Gregory Keith
Documentation Specialist
Delrina Canada
gkeith -at- delrina -dot- com

"Our minds are porous and forgetfulness seeps in: I myself am distorting and
losing, under the wearing away of the years, the face of Beatriz."
Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph


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