Writing Tips 4


When should you use the present tense?

The rule: In technical documentation, use the present to indicate customary behavior, no matter when it happens.


  • When true, the statement indicates acceptance; when false, it indicates rejection
  • When you press Enter, the window appears
  • Whenever I start to get hungry, I eat!
  • Tomorrow I go to the dentist
  • Every day I get up before 6:00

When can you use the future?

  • When you want to be vague: Someday we will get married
  • When the time is important: Tomorrow I will go to the dentist, but the next day I won’t
  • For a command: You will clean your room! (In military tech writing they use “shall.”)

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