Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs

Subject: Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs
From: Kathleen MacDowell <kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "WongWord -at- gmail -dot- com" <wongword -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2012 01:29:53 -0500

Super refs
Thanks
On Oct 21, 2012 12:26 AM, "WongWord -at- gmail -dot- com" <wongword -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> a couple of articles i have saved for reference on this topic
> http://www.biomedicaleditor.**com/passive-voice.html<http://www.biomedicaleditor.com/passive-voice.html>
> http://www.biomedicaleditor.**com/active-voice.html<http://www.biomedicaleditor.com/active-voice.html>
>
> Irene Wong
> ------------------------------**--------------------
> From: <jimmy -at- breck-mckye -dot- com>
> Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:15 PM
> To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs
>
> I suspect academics favour the passive because they are often describing
>> complex actions without specific agents. That makes it inappropriate to
>> name a subject explicitly.
>>
>> The other reason to use the passive is when the verb takes the 'weight'
>> of the meaning rather than the subject or object. English constructions
>> typically put the semantic 'load' to the end, and the passive lets the
>> writer put the verb in that position.
>>
>> As for organizational pressures, I must be terribly lucky to have never
>> experienced something similar. Am I a fluke, or are most technical writers
>> really given so little discretion and ownership of their work?
>>
>> On 2012-10-20 23:26, McLauchlan, Kevin wrote:
>>
>>> Well, we've had the discussion before, but does anybody remember
>>> (even confined to some niche) a good reason for using passive voice?
>>>
>>> Unlike some, I don't shriek and begin to wither when I or someone
>>> occasionally uses passive voice (sunshine on a vampire...).
>>> Although, I admit, my skin begins to crawl when passive voice is
>>> strung together through paragraph after paragraph, page after page.
>>>
>>> So, not counting the minor writerly affectation of applying it sparingly,
>>> to inject some variety into one's writing, is there any reason for
>>> employing
>>> large gobs of passive voice that doesn't come back to avoidance of
>>> responsibility?
>>>
>>> As far as I'm concerned, and until I'm... ahem.... actively persuaded
>>> otherwise, passive voice was (still is?) beloved of bureau'rats
>>> (the "c" is silent) because it is embraced as a cloak of anonymity
>>> and a way to deflect and diffuse (also defuse) blame.
>>>
>>> Is there any other (legitimate) reason to prefer passive voice?
>>> (And please don't say "because the customer/your boss wants
>>> it that way" - because then I'll say, then what is THEIR reason
>>> for wanting it that way. And you'll say "it doesn't matter, they're
>>> the ones paying the bills", and I'll say, it matters to me or I wouldn't
>>> have asked the question. I want to know if I should automatically
>>> harbo[u]r diminished respect for whoever demands passive voice
>>> as the default, or could they have a reason other than evasion of
>>> blame/responsibility as a defining cultural trait?
>>>
>>> It goes toward TW self-respect and not feeling like a total hack
>>> in how you earn your daily bread.
>>>
>>> Becca said
>>> ...
>>>
>>>> I do think that the numbered and indented paragraphs aren't the best
>>>> way to do things... but then, what people are writing and calling
>>>> procedures aren't what I would call a procedure... there's very little
>>>> "do this... do this next step" in them. Most of them are written
>>>> passive voice (and I'm getting a lot of push-back when I try to write
>>>> them in active).
>>>>
>>>> I'm doing the best with what I've been given, but I have very little
>>>> (read,none) influence over the finished projects.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
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>>>
>>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^**^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>>> Writer Tip: You have more time to author content with Doc-To-Help,
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>>> See the &#8220;Getting Started with Doc-To-Help&#8221; blog post.
>>> http://bit.ly/doc-to-help-3-**steps <http://bit.ly/doc-to-help-3-steps>
>>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^**^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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>>
>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^**^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> Writer Tip: You have more time to author content with Doc-To-Help,
>> because your project can be up and running in 3 steps.
>>
>> See the &#8220;Getting Started with Doc-To-Help&#8221; blog post.
>> http://bit.ly/doc-to-help-3-**steps <http://bit.ly/doc-to-help-3-steps>
>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^**^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^**^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Writer Tip: You have more time to author content with Doc-To-Help, because
> your project can be up and running in 3 steps.
>
> See the &#8220;Getting Started with Doc-To-Help&#8221; blog post.
> http://bit.ly/doc-to-help-3-**steps <http://bit.ly/doc-to-help-3-steps>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^**^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
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> Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Writer Tip: You have more time to author content with Doc-To-Help, because your project can be up and running in 3 steps.

See the &#8220;Getting Started with Doc-To-Help&#8221; blog post. http://bit.ly/doc-to-help-3-steps
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Follow-Ups:

References:
passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: jimmy
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: WongWord -at- gmail -dot- com

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