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"Richard J. Collins" <writejob -at- DNAI -dot- COM> at 4/2/97 7:10 PM wrote:
> The standard justification I have seen used for preferring the present
> tense is that technical writing is a branch of scientific writing and in
> scientific writing the present is preferred. It is easier to keep
> relationships clear if you "normalize" everything. For example, in an
> astronomy book you will read something like "the moon revolves around the
> earth" not "the moon will revolve around the earth". Unless you have a
> pointed reason to go off into the future, processes are always better
> understood if everything is couched in terms of the present.
Without agreeing or disagreeing with your hypothesis that present tense is
better, I'd like to point out that your example is not a parallel
situation. The moon *is* currently revolving around the earth. You don't
have to do anything to make it happen. However, you may have to perform a
procedure to make some desired event occur "in the future".