active, passive, and ... commanding

Tommy Reynolds Tommy.Reynolds at
Wed Jul 12 02:28:31 UTC 2006

Uttered Karsten Wade <kwade at>, spake thus:

> Ah, my favorite part of documentation mailing lists, the grammar
> debates. :)

How can there be debate when I am right?
> Once you accept that, you quickly find that you never need the passive
> voice.  Even to avoid awkward sentence structure.  If you want to say
> that something "will happen", it either "is going to happen" or "might
> happen."

> But the commanding voice examples such as, "You will click the OK
> button," actually is more confusing than commanding.

Agreed. We are not Micro$oft to command our users...
I once worked for a company whose standard was that all titles must
be gerund phrases ("Opening A File") on the theory the gerund for
relates to a specific task or action, thus avoiding the document
becoming a littany of feature descriptions and bullet lists.  After
all, every feature is provided to accomplish a given task, no?

However, this makes for exceedingly ugly documents and I don't like
the grund rule but I do like their focus on tasks and not features.
Use cases of the world, unite!

I'm already an anomaly, I shall soon be an anachronism, and I have
every intention of dying an abuse!

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