Re: active vs. passive voice

Subject: Re: active vs. passive voice
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Michelle Vina-Baltsas <Michelle_Vina-Baltsas -at- datascope -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2008 23:16:06 -0700

Michelle Vina-Baltsas wrote:
> I've read many threads on this listserv related to the use of "appears"
> vs. "displays" or "is displayed".

Yes, we like this one a lot. The way we sail into it with such
determination gives assurance that tech writing isn't just a bunch of
jaded boomers jockeying for jobs.

> During a meeting yesterday, with my
> fellow tech writers, we had a heated discussion about whether we should
> use "is displayed" or "displays" when writing a result (For example,
> "Select the XYZ button. The EXY dialog box is displayed.") One writer
> insisted that the use of "is displayed" should not be used because it is
> in the passive voice.

The rules would drive me crazy if I didn't share with English that
winking delight at all of the anarchic, informal processes that provide
her with renewed vim, vigor, and vitality. This language embraces,
loves, and bears the children of exceptions to the rules.

> To be honest, my head was spinning so quickly that I
> decided to refrain from offering my opinion.

Vertigo? Your doctor can treat the symptoms with an antihistamine.

Good luck, but do get a checkup.

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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active vs. passive voice: From: Michelle Vina-Baltsas

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