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Subject:Re: E-Prime (Passive Voice) From:Paul Trummel <trummel -at- U -dot- WASHINGTON -dot- EDU> Date:Fri, 11 Feb 1994 07:24:22 -0800
On Thu, 10 Feb 1994 Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- PROTEON -dot- COM wrote:
> Jim, please give at least me more detail about E-Prime. I wanna
> discuss it, but I don't know nuthin about it -- and I wanna learn.
The term e-prime relates to a style of writing that eliminates all use of
the verb "to be" (is, was, were, am, been, being, and are). Consequently, it
precludes use of the passive voice.
E-prime also eliminates:
1. The "is" of identity.
2. The "is" of prediction.
3. The "is" of passivity.
I believe that it helps writers, originally taught to write in the passive
voice, to change to a more active style of writing. It also creates an
understandable algorithm for translation of scientific German into English.
Additionally, e-prime has attributes that have become widely used in
psychotherapy because it eliminates the expressions "I am" and "you are".
As an example, I have written this message in e-prime and
have not used the verb "to be."
I recommend the book:
BOURLAND, D. David, Jr. and JOHNSTON, Paul Dennithorne (eds)
To Be or Not: An E-Prime Anthology
San Francisco, CA: International Society for General Semantics
for further information on this topic.
Department of Technical Communication
University of Washington
email: trummel -at- u -dot- washington -dot- edu