Re: Passive activity, voice-wise

Subject: Re: Passive activity, voice-wise
From: "Matthew B. Hicks" <matt -at- UNIDATA -dot- UCAR -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 08:59:29 -0700

On Fri, 26 Jan 1996, loryn wrote:

> Entirely in active voice?

> "Experimental evidence *has demonstrated* ...."

A mistake I once made: The use of a helping verb does not automatically
make a construction passive. This is just a past tense form (I can never
remember the exact names for the tenses). "Demonstrate" is the verb and
"experimental evidence", somewhat inaccurately, is the actor (in reality,
researchers have demonstrated via experimental evidence). Had the
sentence read "Experimental evidence was gathered..." it would have been
a passive construction. In fact, I believe that the passive voice always
uses a form of the verb "to be", and is thus the prime motivator of
E-prime advocates. (There may be more to E-prime than doing away with "to
be", but I don't know what that would be.)

-Matt Hicks
matt -at- unidata -dot- ucar -dot- edu
Owner of the Dal-l Web pages:

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