Re: active vs. passive

Subject: Re: active vs. passive
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 2017 13:04:03 -0700

On 8/8/2017 9:18 AM, Robert Lauriston wrote:

You're turning guidelines into superstitions.

Overuse of the infinitive form of "be" might a hallmark of bad
writing, but sometimes it's the right choice. "Use bulleted lists,
which are easy to scan and more likely to be read."
"Which"? I was taught in legal writing, "beware of the which-es." Your example would not be my choice. I would say, "Use bulleted lists because they are easy for the reader to scan and read." Also, when I first read your sentence, I thought you meant OCR and it is not true that bulleted lists are easier to scan with OCR.

Same goes for passive voice. "If the specified output directory does
not exist, it will be created automatically" puts the emphasis on the
directory. The point is that the user does not have to create it
manually beforehand. Nobody cares what creates it.

I would not state the command like that. First, "it will be created" refers to something outside of the sentence and the reader is left to assume what that it is. I would specify what is creating the directory. The system, app, program, or whatever it is. I would say, "The system will create the specified directory if it does not exist."

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: active vs. passive: From: Bernd Hutschenreuther
Re: active vs. passive: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: active vs. passive: From: Peter Neilson
Re: active vs. passive: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: active vs. passive: From: Lauren
Re: active vs. passive: From: Robert Lauriston

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