RE: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs

Subject: RE: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Slager Timothy J <Timothy -dot- Slager -at- dematic -dot- com>, tech2wr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2012 12:09:56 -0400

But the context was entire documents written in passive voice.

Other than "because we said so" (which is a sufficient reason
for a TW to acquiesce, but not a legit reason), what is a reason
to do page after page after page - entire documents - in passive

Again, the only one I can come up with is the completely
un-flattering "avoidance of blame", "deflection of
responsibility" (which come to the same thing, ultimately).

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Slager Timothy J [mailto:Timothy -dot- Slager -at- dematic -dot- com]
> Sent: October-22-12 8:10 AM
> To: McLauchlan, Kevin; tech2wr-l
> Subject: RE: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs
> MSTP has a fairly succinct list of rules for when to use passive voice:
> "It is all right to use passive voice in the following situations:
> -To avoid wordy or awkward construction
> -When the subject is unknown or the emphasis is on the receiver of
> the action
> -If casting the user as the subject might sound blaming or
> condescending, especially in error messages and troubleshooting
> content"
> I remember using passive voice a couple of times in the past week or
> so; as I recall, it was for the first of these reasons. I remember using it
> because I try to avoid it.
> tims
> > 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?

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passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Slager Timothy J

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