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re: passive voice
Probably, passive voice is seldom appropriate in instructions, but it can be
useful and appropriate elsewhere. For example, passive works well when the
agent is unknown or unimportant. It's useful to make a command a bit more
tactful. To answer Darcey Harding's concern, most scientists find passive
useful in the materials and methods section of a research report. In this
case the agent is either obvious or unimportant, and passive saves the
constant repetition of "I" or "we."
When using the passive, be careful of producing dangling modifiers, for
example, "After drawing the blood, the calf was returned to the pen." Here
the case of the blood-drawing calf can be cleared up with the active "After
drawing the blood, I returned the calf to the pen" or a clearer passive,
"After blood was drawn from the calf, the calf was returned to the pen."