I need to create two versions of a document, one in future tense and one in past tense:

Document A: The consultant will do X.

Document B: The consultant did X.

In the past, I've handled this by writing document A, then editing a copy into document B. This creates problems when making major changes; I can try to modify both documents simultaneously, or I can just edit document A and recreate B.

Neither of those approaches seem very efficient. Are there any well-established processes or patterns to handle this challenge? Is there a term to describe this scenario? Just knowing the right terminology would help me in researching this.

  • Are all the changes from "will do" to "did", or will other verbs need to be changed as well?
    – user16226
    Aug 23, 2016 at 17:38
  • There are many verbs. That was just an example.
    – SArcher
    Aug 23, 2016 at 23:29

1 Answer 1


With some tools, you can tag the two verb forms as conditional text in the source document and then render the version you want in the output.

If you're writing a status report, I recommend using verb forms that let you sidestep revising/conditionalizing text, as shown here.

Example A

  • Consultant writes blog post. Completed.
  • Client publishes blog post. In progress.

Example B

  • Consultant: Write blog post. Completed.
  • Client: Publish blog post. In progress.
  • Finding tools that support conditional text is a significant topic. Some versions of MS Word support "variable substitution" as does LibreOffice Writer: help.libreoffice.org/Writer/Variables
    – rolfedh
    Aug 25, 2016 at 13:06

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