Re: The Use of Future Tense in Procedures

Subject: Re: The Use of Future Tense in Procedures
From: Gillian McGarvey <gmcgarv -at- PSYCHE -dot- OVID -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 Nov 1996 15:10:15 -0500

We've opted to go with the second example, keeping it all in the present
tense. We try to avoid using "will," as it tends to appear in
practically every sentence in docs like Release Notes ("this will now
happen" "this will now do that" -- instead we say "this happens" and
"this does that"). I'm sure many people feel strongly about this; I
think it's most important to be consistent throughout the doc.

On Wed, 6 Nov 1996, TIMMERMAN wrote:

> Hi All,

> Much concern is given about writing procedures in the active vs. the
> passive voice. So, what verb tense should be used when writing
> procedures? I see alot of, "Press the ___ key. The ______ window
> will appear on the screen." If I use the future tense, should I also
> describe when the user can expecte to see the action? When will the
> _____ window appear on the screen? Immediately, within five minutes,
> tomorrow? When will it appear on the screen?

> Or, should I write the procedure in the present tense, (i.e., Press
> the ___ key. The ______ window appears on the screen.). Is one way
> right and the other wrong, or is one preferred over the other? Does
> anybody give a hoot?

> Don Timmerman, dtimmerman -at- anl -dot- gov


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