I think in the following sentences at the picture, using the verbs clean, create and add are incorrect grammatically. For example in the sentence Add readme, the readme file has already been added by developer why he has used an imperative sentence?

What i think is correct:

Adding readme or the readme file has been added (not add readme)


  • 1
    There can't be an answer to this in my opinion. – SovereignSun Dec 14 '17 at 7:34
  • Many times the imperative is used in the planning and the exact title used could be copied to the readme when done. – mplungjan Dec 14 '17 at 9:38
  • It's very unfair and really unacceptable and unbearable if you down voted this question just because i used the words related to programming and use picture of GitHub repository!. I spent 20 minutes to finding the right place to write and ask this question. Please give a little motivation. – kokabi Dec 14 '17 at 14:18
  • @SovereignSun in your opinion i'v asked an opinion-based question?! – kokabi Dec 14 '17 at 14:23
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    I think it is a matter of style or convention, not grammar. Any number of programmers might have a different opinion on this. In any case, I don't see any ambiguity as to what was actually done. – user3169 Dec 15 '17 at 0:57

No error whatsoever

There is no error here. It’s perfectly common, and perfectly grammatical, to use the grammatical form of an imperative command for the title of a commit.

This matches the same style as routinely found in in-line code comments:

 * Give them something to think about

# Fetch remote file earlier in the sequence

// Delete the file

-- Be careful with the inner join

This is the very same style as is often enough found to label commits, and there is nothing “grammatically wrong” with it.

ᴘʀᴏ ᴛɪᴘ

Whenever you see a bunch of native speakers repeatedly using grammar that doesn’t seem to match any of the “rules” you were taught, do not assume that you’re right and the native speakers are wrong.

Instead you should assume the native speakers are grammatical in their own language, but that you simply haven’t come to understand why yet.

Your job when finding grammar you don't understand is to figure out why it makes sense to native speakers but not to you.

  • "Your job when finding grammar you don't understand is to figure out why it makes sense to native speakers but not to you." That's exactly why i asked here. – kokabi Dec 15 '17 at 7:02

All I can say is that I almost expect developers' commit notes in a repository to have bad grammar, because devs hate writing them. However, because commit comments are intended to describe changes that were made in a specific version, I find them most helpful when they begin with a past participle:

  • "Added readme file."
  • "Cleaned up some code." (Although this one is not very useful, anyway, without being made more specific.)

By the way, you might have better luck with this question in a programming StackExchange community. Here, for example, is one question about best practices of this kind: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/321720/best-practices-for-version-control-comments

  • thank you but I'm sure if i ask this question in programming StackExchange, it will be close and downvote soon. Although in the context of the question, the words of programming and GitHub have come, but the question is about english grammer and not programming at all! – kokabi Dec 14 '17 at 14:30
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    I think you are right that if you phrase the question the way you did here, it would get closed down over there. However, you might be able to rephrase it as a question about whether anyone has worked with best practices of how to phrase commit comments, especially in a multicultural dev team. I didn't downvote you, but the difficulty for this community is that this question has no real answer, because the comments in the screenshot are sentence fragments. There's no definitive right or wrong tense in incomplete sentences. (I don't think they are intended to be imperative, just fragments.) – joiedevivre Dec 14 '17 at 17:54

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