active voice v. passive voice

Subject: active voice v. passive voice
From: "Jonathan Stoppi" <stops -at- qualum -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 13:18:25 +0200

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

As you know, it's a very old-fashioned English attitude to think that the
active "You can" is too personal, not to say "aggressive" or (gasp!)
American.

But that's obviously not an argument you can use. For a more authoritative
source, cite George Orwell, or - more topically - "The Elements of Business
Writing" by Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly, to name just two.

The active voice engages the reader, the passive one is a sedative. It's
all a question what your boss wants his readers' reaction to be.

- Jonathan Stoppi
The Tall Guy
stops -at- qualum -dot- com


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