This will be short. I don't seem to have as much energy as I'd like, and I've got a bevy of other things on the go.
Last week, I talked about player agency, and got slapped around a bit. I don't mind. Mostly, I got the impression that people just didn't think grammar was that important; that the future tense is as viable as any other tense; and that in general the social system is breaking down and this is what we've got.
My players offline did have a real good time regarding issues of permission when they came around Saturday to play. As it happened, I was too sick to run and we chatted about life and sociology and watched a 1959 movie, The Bridal Path, which my daughter, her Scotland-loving boyfriend/husband (they live together), and the lesbians who run in my world hadn't seen. A good time was had by all.
If I am talking about agency, I intend to make a simple point: I have power as a DM. We don't play without my say-so, and if we are playing, then I'm going to lay out some rules of propriety and address that I think are appropriate for players to follow if the game, as a whole, is going to run smoothly. There is a shibboleth to running in my world, and those who participate and enjoy the pleasure of my labor are going to adhere to it. It is, if you can forgive the absolutism, a point of privilege of being a DM.
Why should I care about grammar? Because communication requires clarity, and communication about action, doubly so. If I make a statement as a DM that is unclear to the player, I do not quibble and haw about how I made the point previously. I fix my statement and extend my effort to make the point clear. I expect in absolute terms for a player to do likewise - and if my insistence on clarification includes that they will put the previous statement into the present tense, I don't really give a damn how inconvenient that is, or how much permission it requires, or whether the player is in the mood. Clarity is more important - by a damn sight - than the differences between future tense or present.
I run a good world. When I ask a player, "Are you doing it, or will you do it?", it is done for good reason. I attempted to express that good reason, but I suppose I missed getting that across. Lord Thanatos, besides, put it better than I could have hoped.
Such little idiosyncracies and shibboleth's are the way it goes. I wonder how many DM's recognize the frequency with which they give ground on things they find important just to make players happy.
I wouldn't recommend making it a habit.