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  1. #1
    gorikaz is offline Member
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    Which tense is more appropriate?

    Dear native speakers,

    Someone, please help me clarify which of the tenses (future or present) sounds more appropriate or correct in a document such as a manual? Also, please tell me its reason. In my opinion, both of the following sentenses seem to be grammatically correct, but I cannot figure out why one could be more appropriate or correct than the other, if someone says so. Or could these sentences be both correct and appropriate to use in a document such as a manual?

    (Example A)
    1. This bit is cleared after this operation is performed.
    2. This bit will be cleared after this operation is performed. (To me, this seems to be more natural than the above 1 because "the time this bit is cleared" is "after something happens". No??)

    (Example B)
    1. If /When "0" is set, this pin sets "1".
    2. If/When "0" is set, this pin will set "1".

    Hmmm, I am confused...

  2. #2
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    apex2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Which tense is more appropriate?

    Are you referring to a computer manual? If so, then they can all apply, depending upon whether one bit is 1 or 0, and what operation is being/will be performed.
    Some clarification from you would enable me to provide an answer.

  3. #3
    gorikaz is offline Member
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    Re: Which tense is more appropriate?

    Hmmm, unfortunately I do not know how I could further clarify these examples. However, I have now understood that both of these sentences, 1 and 2 in these examples, are not wrong to be used in a manual such as the one in the electric/electronics industry. By the way, is there a difference (big or slight difference) between 1 and 2 in each example? Almost none?

  4. #4
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    apex2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Which tense is more appropriate?

    Almost no difference; it depends upon the time and the reason.
    A1 and B1 would be more likely in a manual.
    A2 and B2 would be more likely during a continuing teaching process. That is ' we will now examine the whole process and what we expect to happen.....'

  5. #5
    gorikaz is offline Member
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    Re: Which tense is more appropriate?

    Dear apex2000,

    Thank you for your comment and advice on this matter.
    I think I have got the point, but I wonder if it is wrong if A2 and B2 are used in a technical document, such as a manual. Do you think it is not wrong but it (=which form to be used) all depends on the writer in the end?

  6. #6
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    Re: Which tense is more appropriate?

    The problem is I'm not one of the native speakers addressed to but as far as I know "If you boil water it turns into steam".

  7. #7
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    apex2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Which tense is more appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by gorikaz View Post
    Dear apex2000,

    Thank you for your comment and advice on this matter.
    I think I have got the point, but I wonder if it is wrong if A2 and B2 are used in a technical document, such as a manual. Do you think it is not wrong but it (=which form to be used) all depends on the writer in the end?
    Not wrong, just not as good, not what a reader would expect.

  8. #8
    gorikaz is offline Member
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    Re: Which tense is more appropriate?

    Thank you for your further comment and advice.
    Well, my conclusion is that I should probably try not to use the future tense (will + verb) as much as possible in the examples such as the ones given, though I know that they are not grammatically wrong at all and still could be used in a technical document if I want to... How does it sound?

  9. #9
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    apex2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Which tense is more appropriate?

    Right. You will not have a problem.

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