Re: The Use of Future Tense in Procedures

Subject: Re: The Use of Future Tense in Procedures
From: Deborah Meltzer <deborah -at- STARQUEST -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 12:44:18 PST

>I always use the present tense, ie Press the ___ key. The ____ window is
>displayed, because with most of the documentation I have written (using
>Internet applications) I envisage the users with the folder on the desk,
>following each instruction line by line, looking for a result.

>I don't imagine many users would read it all, put the book away and then
>carry out the steps in this environment. The future tense is probably more
>appropriate in, for example, a training context where the action will not be
>conducted at the same time as the instructions are read.

>Cheers
>Nicole

The only time I would use the future tense is with a sentence like "If you
press the Kill key everything will explode." I played around with saying
"everything explodes" instead, but it seems to me that if an action is not
desirable, it's better to keep it out of the present and hope that it lives
in a non-existent future.

Deborah
"Time sweats for no one."
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Deborah Meltzer
StarQuest Software, Inc.
email: deborah -at- starquest -dot- com
voice: 510/704-2554
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