Re: Future tenses

Subject: Re: Future tenses
From: Tommy Green <tgreen -at- AESBUS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 11:38:27 -0600


I have written manuals in both the present and future tenses. I'm currently writing maintenance and service guides for the computer industry and we try to use the imperative sense, i.e. "Click on the Node at the left end of the line to expand that block and give..." We try to use steps and bullets as much as possible. I would use "Choosing Data Information from the window menu will display the Data Info dialog" as a NOTE or IMPORTANT.

Hope this helps

Awise man is just a fool with a good memory
Tommy D. Green
AESBUS Technology Group

-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Nickerson [SMTP:Doug_Nickerson -at- ONSETCOMP -dot- COM]
Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 1998 11:14 AM
Subject: Future tenses

Writers all,

I have a manual [that] I'm working on that has a plethora of sentences
sim. to the folllowing:

"Choosing Data Information from the Window menu will display the
Data Info dialog.
Clicking on the node at the left end of a line will expand that block and
give specific details of the particular category."

In your experience, is present tense preferred for these types of
Is it usual to say "the dialog will be displayed, the node will expand,
"the device
will start running?

Or is "press begin and the device starts," better?

Indeed, does anyone know from where I'm coming?

Doug Nickerson
Programmer/ author/ Father/ person
Bourne. Mass.


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