Re: "The dialog box will appear"

Subject: Re: "The dialog box will appear"
From: John Kohl <sasjqk -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 13:26:07 GMT

In article <199703212031 -dot- MAA27192 -at- superfine -dot- verity -dot- com>, "Wayne J. Douglass"
<wayned -at- VERITY -dot- COM> writes:
|> At 01:17 PM 3/21/97 -0600, Geoff Hart wrote:
|> > At the time, there was a slight majority in favor of
|> > "appears", but I'd like to revisit this debate and get some
|> > more feedback on the issue. Are we choosing one over the
|> > other based on urban legend, or based on established,
|> > successful techniques? I'm particularly interested in
|> > feedback based on usability studies or published cognitive
|> > psychology work... "facts", not just personal preferences.
|> > (Please provide references, if any!)
|> I would be interested in any "usability studies or published cognitive
|> psychology work" myself - especially any methodolgy that would try to prove
|> that this nit makes a difference one way or the other.
|> This issue, like so many others, is an arbitrary style question. I find it
|> hard to believe that readers would pause over either construction because
|> it's confusing. The only rationale I have ever heard for deprecating "will"
|> is that the operations of hardware or software don't have a will. They only
|> do what they're designed to do in an "eternal present."

It makes a difference as far as translation is concerned. Many times,
when a translator encounters what appears to be a future tense in
English (i.e., "will"), he/she has to stop and try to determine whether
it really has a future meaning and should therefore be translated as
such. Whenever a document is going to be translated (or read in English
by non-native speakers of English), tech writers should avoid
introducing unnecessary linguistic complexities into the doc. Always
use the simplest tense possible.

John Kohl

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Re: Do techies really know what other techies need?
Next by Author: Re: appears vs is displayed
Previous by Thread: "The dialog box will appear"
Next by Thread: Policies, practices, and procedures

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads