RE: Grammar Q

Subject: RE: Grammar Q
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 09:11:23 -0700

Janice Gelb wrote:

> I know that you are adamantly opposed to the use of "you" but
> I still find it hard to believe that you consider these
> rewrites clearer and easier for the reader to comprehend than
> the original sentences.
> To each his or her own, I guess... Our styles are so
> different that it's probably a very good thing that we don't
> work at the same company as writer/ editor!

Craig Hass wrote:

> I'd have to agree entirely with Janice on this one, and I
> don't think this is just a matter of preference.

I agree completely with Janice and especially Craig. It's not just
preference or style. Case in point:

> "The IMD toolbar is displayed in the bottom left of the
> screen and it can be moved anywhere on the screen."
> Or "...and is movable anywhere..." for a slightly awkward
> avoidance of "can be," which may seem passive.

Sentences don't "seem passive" -- they either are or they aren't. A
sentence is in the passive voice when the subject of the sentence is the
object (or indirect object) of the action. Passive voice uses a form of
the verb "to be," generally followed by a past participle. Clearly,
"toolbar ... is displayed" and "toolbar ... can be moved" *are* passive
voice. Not because I have a "gut feeling," or a "sense," or they "seem"
passive, but because they _fit the definition_ of passive voice.

Words mean things. Not everything is a matter of taste or preference.
This isn't Through the Looking Glass.

Pedants 'r Us ;-)

Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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Re: Grammar Q: From: Janice Gelb

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