I have very simple sentence, however I have 3 problems with it. The major one is whether I should you Past Simple or Present Perfect when saying that something was/has been generated. The Second one is whether I should use this or that, and the third one is whether I should use by or with. The sentence is as follows:

This/That documentation was/has been automatically generated by/with XYZ tool.

Maybe it is worth to mention, that this sentence is placed in the generated documentation itself.

4 Answers 4


If the sentence is in the documentation itself, you should certainly use this.

I don't think it matters which tense you use; I would find either perfectly acceptable.

I would suggest with or using. Presumably the documentation was produced by a person by means of XYZ?


The choice of this or that is simple - as the message printed on the documentation itself and the statement is self-referential, you should use 'this'.

For the same reason, I think 'has been' is the correct option. This is the present perfect continuous tense. Although the document has been generated in the past from the perspective of the reader, the text itself was generated in real-time, so it makes sense that it would use the present continuous tense.


I agree that this is the correct choice. That would imply "something else that is not this document".

For tense, I think was generated is preferable. The generation of the document is completely in the past by the time the reader reads the document, so referring to it with a present tense sounds odd.

Any of with, using, or by sounds OK to me.


"This", definitely.

I don't think either "has been generated" or "was generated" is incorrect. As a native speaker I might use either. I can't even think an "obvious" preference in this case.

"By", "With" or "Using" are all OK.

Sometimes, there's more than one way to do it. [Programmer's joke]

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