Challenge to active-verb advocates (and Passive Voice)

Subject: Challenge to active-verb advocates (and Passive Voice)
From: David Ibbetson <ibbetson -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 21:03:16 -0500

If I describe an experiment in the natural sciences that I performed, with
rare exceptions I make the tacit claim that the same results would have been
obtained whoever performed the experiment. The passive voice, by not naming
the experimenter, implies this.

When the choice of experimenter affects the results one is typically
reporting a failure in experimental technique. (I remember an occasion when
an assayist was "promoted" to a favoured bench by a window. She got wrong
results. It emerged that reflections of her red hair were affecting the
end-point she saw.)

David (the idiot) Ibbetson


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