Re: The Use of Future Tense in Procedures

Subject: Re: The Use of Future Tense in Procedures
From: John Trollope <John -dot- Trollope -at- TEAM17 -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 1996 09:42:42 +0000

<SNIP>
>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?

This isn't the future tense, but a conditional one. E.g.
If you drink too much, you will probably get drunk.

So your sentence is:
[if you] press the ___ key, the _____ window will appear.

This is actually an indirect command - A conversational act if we want to
get linguistic about it.

>Or, should I write the procedure in the present tense, (i.e., Press
>the ___ key. The ______ window appears on the screen.).

In English, this construction sounds awkward to me. I'd use the first.

FWIW,
John

--
John Trollope - John -dot- Trollope -at- Team17 -dot- com \ "Un dictionnaire,
French translator and product localiser \ c'est tout l'univers
http://www2.team17.com/~jtrollope/francais/ \ par ordre alphabétique"
Team17 Software, Ltd.-http://www.Team17.com \ Anatole France
"A dictionary is the entire universe in alphabetical order" - Anatole France


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