Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs

Subject: Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs
From: sphilip <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com>
To: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2012 10:16:17 +0700

On 22 Oct 2012, at 02:52, Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

> Ok, let me try to be more precise... As a rule there's no place for passive voice in writing that instructs people in the use of complex systems.
>

I can agree with that insofar as its fairly trivial if one understands what active voice is. i.e., a construction for either describing or telling what the subject of a sentence is doing/will do/has done/should do. Obviously, if you are addressing the subject, you need to use active voice.

So the statement above really amounts to no more than: there's no place for passive voice in writing that requires active voice.

That's not to say there's no place for passive voice in technical writing, for the simple reason that not all technical writing - and not even all instructional writing - is only concerned with actually providing instructions. As we all know, there is context to be set for when instructions are to be followed, there are descriptions to be given so that the instructions can be carried out accurately, and there are explanations to be provided so that the user can learn when and if to follow the instructions in similar situations that cannot be covered in the writing (such as when the system has a wide, possibly indefinite, range of applications).

Phil
http://applehelpwriter.wordpress.com



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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Chris Despopoulos
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Milan Davidović
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Chris Despopoulos

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