What to say to people who LIKE the passive voice

Subject: What to say to people who LIKE the passive voice
From: David Tietyen <tietyen -at- PICARD -dot- MSOE -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 1994 13:43:47 EST

Thank you Bonnie for the historical perspective on the passive voice. I
plan to use it, with your permission, in future classes. Our engineering
students have difficulty understanding the importance of communicating in
the active voice. Part of the problem is that some of their labs require
they use passive voice. Guess that's the scientific viewpoint of
technical writing coming into play. :-)
I agree with Len that passive is the "lazy" way to write and that active
takes work. While there definitely are situations in which passive is
necessary, and welcome,active is certainly easier for the reader. I
suggest to my students that they look at a passive sentence and ask
themselves if changing it to active will alter the meaning of the
sentence. If the meaning is not altered, then change it.
Just a few cents from the unbearably cold midwest.
David Tietyen
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Tietyen -at- picard -dot- msoe -dot- edu

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