Monday, March 23, 2009

Passive Voice

A good post has been written by Jonathan on the virtues of the passive voice.


Jonathan said...

Notice how the author relies mostly on copulative verbs and passives in the passage you quote in your last post: "Pin-up pictures, a radio, a box of paperback detective stories, a bag of fruit, coffee-making equipment, matches, shaving equipment — these were some of the objects, many of them illicit, that were introduced by patients." Yet we might agree that this is effective writing. The passive in this example allows him to foreground the list and only at the end make a note about agency.

Thomas Basbøll said...

Yes, I actually thought of your defence of the passive voice (for the right purpose) when I chose that sentence. It is effective, but not because it slavishly follows some stylistic "rule". I'm no good at rules anyway. That's why I liked your post. (BTW, I hope we also agree that my sentence in this post is NOT an effective use of the passive voice?)