Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs

Subject: Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: sphilip <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2012 06:57:00 -0700 (PDT)

I knew I shouldn't have used an over-simple example! That never works... When will I ever learn?

And no, I don't blindly suggest that lower word count equals greater clarity, although in this discussion that may prove (too late to do any good) to be the case.


Har har...ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ cud



________________________________
From: sphilip <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com>
To: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Cc: Milan DavidoviÄ <milan -dot- lists -at- gmail -dot- com>; "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2012 8:48 AM
Subject: Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs




On 22 Oct 2012, at 17:58, Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

The simple example, "An alert is posted" says less than "The system posts an alert."ÂTo say as much in passive voice requires "An alert is posted by the system"Â That's almost a 30% increase in words.ÂÂ
>
>

You know I really, really wanted to let this drop(!), but maybe because its a Monday rather than a Fridayâsorry, but the idea that your example carries more information in active than passive seems just bizarre, possibly because the tense is entirely inappropriate.

No further information is given byÂ

"The system has posted an alert."Â

than

"An alert has been posted."

The fact that the 'system' posted the alert (as opposed to who?) is either irrelevant or understood in context. *Only if* the _agent_ of the posting is relevant to the user is active voice justified here.Â

And of course, if we're counting words, then the active voice is unnecessarily longer. However, possibly more important than arguing about the use of AP and PV is the belief that word count is directly proportional to clarity. You're kidding right?

1. Attach the gimmblewit to the jummblebit (6 words, totally clear, right?).

2. Attach the blue, diamond-shapedÂgimmblewit to the green, diamond-shaped jummblebit. (10 words, far more perspicuous).

Neither word count nor choice of active or passive voice make a jot of difference to clarity if they are not used appropriately in line with both the reader's expectations and the subject matter at hand.

Best



Phil
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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
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: sphilip
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Chris Despopoulos
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: sphilip

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