Re: Computer instruction in the present tense

Subject: Re: Computer instruction in the present tense
From: Marlana Coe <mcoe -at- SOHO -dot- IOS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 10:35:38 +0100

>Date: Thu, 20 Jul 1995 16:08:33 -0700
>Reply-To: Bonni Graham <bonnig -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
>Sender: "Technical Writers List; for all Technical Communication issues"
><TECHWR-L -at- VM1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu>
>From: Bonni Graham <bonnig -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: Computer instruction in the present tense
>Comments: To: techwr-l -at- vm1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu
>To: Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L <TECHWR-L -at- VM1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu>
Bonni writes:

>Peggy wrote:
>>
>> I have read that such instruction should be written in the
>> PRESENT tense. What do you out there in the trenches do, and
>> why?
>>
>I use present tense unless the action is not immediate.

>For example:

>When you press the Framis button, the system creates a new framis.

>(happens immediately upon button pressing).

>When you press the Framis button, the system will create a new framis
>after you exit the screen.

>(happens later; you may be able to do other things before the framis is
>created)

>Hope that helps!

>Bonni Graham
>Manual Labour

99% of the time I write in present tense. I teach Tech Writing at UCLA,
and I teach students to always write in present tense...then I go back and
give them the few exceptions. All tech writing books and the handbook
advise writing in present tense. After all, users read it in the present
tense.

--Marlana


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