RE: active voice v. passive voice

Subject: RE: active voice v. passive voice
From: Christina Rothwell <crothwell -at- bowstreet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 11:04:31 -0500

Perhaps pointing your co-worker to several guides may help you in explaining
your view. The following books suggest active over passive voice:

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., and E.B. White
Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications

I hope this helps!

-----Original Message-----
From: Carnall, Jane [mailto:Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2001 10:29 AM
Subject: active voice v. passive voice

Back again...

A co-worker has gone through a manual and, among other things, carefully
changed active voice to passive voice. I asked him about it, pointing to a
specific example:

New: Two topologies are available in defining Cats: pedigree or moggy.
Old: You can define two types of Cats: pedigree or moggy.

He said "Personal preference: I just don't think that saying 'You can'
sounds good." I suggested that, post deadline, we discuss whether active
voice or passive voice was appropriate. My co-worker may be fairly
representative of the audience for this manual in his distaste for active
voice, second person pronouns.

I looked this up in the archives and found a very similiar request last
year, from Meg Halter, who was <writing a user guide for a piece of software
and my boss feels strongly that the active tense and second person
singular is "too personal".> She asked if there was a US government style
guide that positively recommended active voice and second person singular
pronouns as good things - but I couldn't find if anyone responded to her

I don't need a US government style guide, and I've downloaded a number of
good arguments off the archives, but I would like to present my co-worker
with a more rational reason why we should do it my way other than 'Everyone
knows', 'Here are some other people who agree with me', or 'I'm the
technical writer, just do it my way'.

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Compaq, UK
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.

Develop HTML-Based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 ($100 STC Discount)
**WEST COAST LOCATIONS** San Jose (Mar 1-2), San Francisco (Apr 16-17) or 800-646-9989.

Sponsored by ForeFront, Inc., maker of ForeHelp Help authoring tools
for print, WinHelp, HTML Help, JavaHelp, and cross-platform InterHelp
See for more information and free evaluation downloads

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: RE: installation doc
Next by Author: Re: Affect and Effect
Previous by Thread: RE: active voice v. passive voice
Next by Thread: Re: active voice v. passive voice

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads