Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs

Subject: Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2012 13:45:04 -0700

On 10/20/2012 3:26 PM, 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?

Passive voice is better for argument when a persuasive voice is necessary because it is useful for persuading a reader from one position to another.

Active voice is better for direction when there is only one position.

Active example: Turn on the light to illuminate the room.
Passive example: The light illuminated the room when it was turned on.

The active example leaves no room for how to light up a room, while the passive voice alludes to what lights up the room and the reader is left to figure out how to do it. What is hidden in the two contexts and why passive voice is better for argument, is that in the active voice, the reader is being told what to do while the passive voice empowers the reader to find a logical solution. The logical solution for darkness is hidden within the context, since there really is only one way available in the context to light up the room and the reader is permitted some satisfaction for having found this one way, but there really was no other option. This is similar to how political ads sway voters to make stupid decisions...


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References:
passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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