TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Have ye the will to use it, then? From:Sharon Burton-Hardin <sharonburton -at- EMAIL -dot- MSN -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 28 Apr 1999 16:53:59 -0700
I knew I didn't want to get into this but...
Of course you must use the job title is that is the relevant way to refer to
You could easily - in most situations - write the sentence as "The Migration
Manager sends the file" using the present tense. In general - life and the
universe are full of real exceptions - the present tense is the best to work
from. If you force your self to ask "Can this sentence be written in present
tense, will it change the meaning/intent/etc?" If the answer is Yes, then do
so. It is frequently clearer and more concise to do so. Not always but
I also teach people writing pol&procs and they agree frequently that the
present tense does make things clearer.
President of the Inland Empire chapter of the STC
Home of RoboNEWS(tm), the unofficial RoboHELP newsletter
Check out www.WinHelp.net!
From: Mark Dando <danmcc -at- OZEMAIL -dot- COM -dot- AU>
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU <TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU>
Date: Wednesday, 28 April, 1999 4:28 PM
Subject: Re: Have ye the will to use it, then?
|Sharon Burton-Hardin wrote:
|>No. No future tense. Rarely. You hardly ever need it. Present imperative
|>works fine for nearly everything. And they user is You. Second person. So
|>have present tense, second person. Please. There is a ton more to tech
|>writing than these 2 things but these 2 are elemental. The we come to
|>passive voice but that is another rant.
|>I struggle to teach students this and I am generating a career and a
|>business based on these 2 simple premises. Amazing but true.
|To insist on present tense, second person for all forms of technical
|is unnecessarily limiting.
|I write, and teach SMEs to write, process documents. At the higher level
|especially (policies and procedures, as against work instructions), the
|second person is generally not suitable because of the multiple audiences
|and actors involved in the process. We generally use the third person for
|precision, and often the future tense because it better conveys a sense of
|obligation than the present ("The Migration Manager will send the file.").
|The future tense is also needed for conditional activities.
|Can posters to this list please keep in mind the breadth of activity
|by the terms "technical writing" and "technical communication". I've never
|written a software manual, and usually describe my discipline as business
|communication rather than technical communication, but much of it is very
|technical. And much of what appears on this list is very relevant.
|Dando McCredie Pty Ltd
|danmcc -at- ozemail -dot- com -dot- au
|Phone 61 2 4784 3460
|Mobile 61 417 280 581
|Fax 61 2 4784 3461
|7 Easter Street
|Leura NSW 2780
|From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000==