Passive Voice? + Procedural steps

Subject: Passive Voice? + Procedural steps
From: "Peter Ring, PRC" <prc -at- PIP -dot- DKNET -dot- DK>
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 10:19:22 +1

On 7 Nov 1996 Elaine R. Firestone wrote:

> "For data reduction, the desired quantity is the response of the
> band after the out-of-band has been removed."

> You aren't talking about a person, you're talking about a process.
> I left it alone since there aren't any people involved and, as I
> said, it's a process. How would y'all handle a sentence like the
> above?

Try this:

"If needed, remove out-of-band data until the desired band response
is reached."

Shorter and clearer? - close to being obvious! The good old
procedural step method: "Conditions - Action in imperative mode -
Result" strikes again! (FYI: These are the C, A, and R points of the
"hewires-CleAR" system for writing procedural steps, described in my
book, see my "User Friendly Manuals" website below).

The funny thing is, that when unwinding sentences like the original
one, all their ambiguity problems are displayed - and that's maybe
why so many scientists prefer the long complicated sentences with
passive voice!

Greetings from Denmark

Peter Ring
PRC (Peter Ring Consultants)
- specialists in user friendly manuals and audits on manuals.

prc -at- pip -dot- dknet -dot- dk - the "User Friendly
Manuals" website with links, bibliography, list of prof.
associations, and tips for technical writers.

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