Re: Passive voice

Subject: Re: Passive voice
From: Richard Hamilton <dick -at- rlhamilton -dot- net>
To: Dave C <davec2468 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 15:05:22 -0800

> if you want humorous replies: “because it keeps me employed!”. no end of source material to correct.

Gee, don't you mean "because I'm kept employed by it"?

You can find lots of good examples of passive vs. active voice on the web. Search for "passive versus active voice examples." I'd especially look for examples where passive voice obscures the meaning or creates ambiguity.

But do you really want to go on a crusade to get your managers and colleagues to change their writing style? It's not quite as bad as trying to convince them to follow your religious or political beliefs, but to some it's pretty close.

If you are responsible for editing the content, then just change passive to active (when appropriate; active isn't always best) and don't worry about it. If people complain when you change their content, then I'd ask them to point out specific examples and then go over the merits of those examples. You probably won't convince them to change their writing (and I wouldn't even try. If they get the idea from the examples, great, if not, don't worry), but you may convince them that your editing is valuable.

If you are not responsible for the content (either directly or as an editor), I'd let it go; this battle isn't worth your time, and you'll probably lose anyway.

Best regards,
Richard Hamilton
-------
XML Press
XML for Technical Communicators
http://xmlpress.net
hamilton -at- xmlpress -dot- net



On Nov 23, 2014, at 13:43, Dave C <davec2468 -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

> if you want humorous replies: “because it keeps me employed!”. no end of source material to correct.
>
> also might get you a quick 1-way trip to the curb…
>
> dave
>
> -=-=-=-
>
>> I think the best approach is probably to cite several of the well-respected authorities that give us guidance in this direction (unfortunately authorities I don't currently have a list of but I'm sure someone else on this list probably does).
>>
>> Of course, we could always just say "Well, I have standards, even if you don't." but we might find ourselves blinking and scratching on the pavement if we offer that snarky comment to management that doesn't have a sense of humor.
>>
>> Best Regards,
>>
>> Mike
>
> -=-=-=-
>
>> On 11/23/2014 9:46 AM, Dave C wrote:
>>> What arguments do we make to management and/or document originators that passive voice is… well, bad? I’ve always found a tepid audience when trying to describe why.
>>>
>>> Thanks,
>>> Dave
>>
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Eschew, Evade, and/or Eradicate Legalese: From: Mike Starr
Passive voice (was: Eschew, Evade, and/or Eradicate Legalese): From: Dave C
Re: Passive voice: From: Mike Starr
Re: Passive voice: From: Dave C

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