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Use the present tense

The simplest and strongest form of a verb is present tense.

The present tense makes your writing simpler, more direct, and more forceful. The more you use conditional or future tense, the harder your audience has to work to understand your meaning. Writing entirely in the present tense saves your audience work and helps make your point clearly.

Don’t say Say
These sections describe types of information that would satisfy the application requirements of Circular A-110 as it would apply to this grant program. These sections tell you how to meet the requirements of Circular A-110 for this grant program.

Even if you are covering an event that occurred in the past, you can clarify the material for your user by writing as much as possible in the present tense.

Don’t say Say
Applicants who were Federal employees at the time that the injury was sustained should have filed a compensation request at that time. Failure to do so could have an effect on the degree to which the applicant can be covered under this part. You may not be covered under this part if you were a federal employee at the time of the injury, and you did not file a claim at that time.

Occasionally, of course, you may need to use other tenses. For example, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) frequently refers to what may happen in the future if certain events occur. But use tenses other than the present only when necessary for accuracy.