Strunk and White on when passive is preferable

Subject: Strunk and White on when passive is preferable
From: Tom T Kiersted/asf <Tom_T_Kiersted/asf -at- ASF-NOTES -dot- FOUNDRY -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 15:43:04 EDT

"'The dramatists of the Restoration are little esteemed today.'

'Modern readers have little esteem for the dramatists of the Restoration.'

The first would be the preferred form in a paragraph on the dramatists of the
Restoration, the second in a paragraph on the tastes of modern readers.


--Strunk and White



Further, from Plotnik's _Elements of Editing_:

"A little Strunk and White is a dangerous thing. Some editors are driven by a
cursory reading of _The Elements of Style_ to change such sentences as "the
outcry was heard round the world" to "everyone in the world heard the outcry."
True, the active voice is generally more forceful, and a procession of passive
constructions is a safe cure for insomnia. But the passive voice is a perfectly
legitimate alternative when used for variety or to make a key word in the
sentence by making it the subject (e.g., "outcry" in the example above).


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