Passive voice

Subject: Passive voice
From: Tony Ioven/Voice Processing Corp <Tony_Ioven/Voice_Processing_Corp -at- VPRO -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 07:30:43 -0600

It amazes me how the passive voice has become the black sheep of the English
language. The prospect of using it has become as unthinkable as the prospect
of an unmarried character in an early English novel losing her "virtue"
("Pamela -- Virtue Rewarded" by Samuel Richardson (?) comes to mind).

In fact, there is a time to use the passive voice (when you want to emphasize
the object of an action), just as there is a time to use the active voice (when
you want to emphasize the doer of an action).

I really think the bad rap that the passive voice gets is due to the negative
connotation of its name. So -- we're writers. Let's write a new name. One
suggestion: Instead of a sentence being written in the "active voice" or the
"passive voice" -- in fact, instead of its being in a "voice" at all -- a
sentence would be either "actor-oriented" or "object-oriented."

Tony Ioven
tioven -at- vpro -dot- com


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