Re: passive voice is discussed actively

Subject: Re: passive voice is discussed actively
From: Stephen Victor <svictor -at- LGC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 1996 09:45:09 -0600

Gwen Barnes wrote:

> I would make a case for using a passive sentence directed at nobody in
> particular in this instance, so that everyone reading the manual is
> implicitly responsible for the correct installation of the pump.

One of the traditional objections to the passive voice is that it can
diffuse responsibility by removing an agent. I think this is possibly
the best argument against widespread use of the passive voice.

A well-organized manual contains some statement of the manual's intended
audience. A well-written procedure contains active, imperative sentences
directed (implicitly) at that audience.


Stephen P. Victor svictor -at- lgc -dot- com
Landmark Graphics Corporation svictor -at- compassnet -dot- com
15150 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079 USA De gustibus non disputandum est

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