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Subject:Re: passive voice From:"Virginia L. Krenn" <asdxvlk -at- OKWAY -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU> Date:Wed, 24 Jan 1996 08:52:30 -0600
> It seems to me that many people treat words written in the passive
> voice as if they were leprosy germs. The passive voice is "real"
> English which has perfectly legitimate uses.
> A meeting is held every Wednesday. This is a perfectly legitimate
> sentence which says exactly what I want to say. In order to make
> the sentence active, I would have to research who originally decided
> to hold the meetings so I could say: Tom holds a meeting every
> Wednesday. However, the point of the sentence is not Tom; it is
> meeting and Wednesday. Who decided that the meetings would be held
> on Wednesday is not important to the communication. What if Tom has
> been fired? Then I would have to say:
> Tom used to hold a meeting every Wednesday, but Tom was fired. Now,
> nobody holds a meeting every Wednesday. Everyone just comes to a
> meeting on Wednesday out of habit.
> It's very important not to use passive voice when active would be
> better. But it is also important to recognize those occasions when
> the passive voice is the better choice.
> Janet Valade
> jvalade -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com
Although I do not have any hangups about using passive voice when it
makes sense to do so, the example above is probably not the best that
you could have chosen. It does not provide any information about *who*
is meeting. I would write it as follows.