Date of publication: 2017-09-03 16:27
Following last week’s post on how to find your voice , here are the first 655-ish words from five books with unique and strong voices a mix of first and third person, and of new and classic authors.
89 The proportion of passive verbs varies with the type of prose: scientific prose, for instance, may show far more passives than narrative prose. But to point this out is not to denigrate scientific writing. The difference merely reflects the different natures of content, purpose, and audience....
This planet has—or rather had—a problem. Which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
Haha, great saying. There 8767 s a lot of creative power in just letting go and not being analytical until the editing stages. I think it was Hemingway who said 8775 Write drunk, edit sober. 8776
Academic writing often focuses on differences between the ideas of different researchers, or between your own ideas and those of the researchers you are discussing. Too many passive sentences can create confusion:
Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.
Thank you so much for putting Douglas Adams 8767 exerpt from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I love those books and he has the most wonderful voice out of all authors that I have read.
89 Lauren Kessler and Duncan McDonald [in When Words Collide , 8th ed., Wadsworth, 7567] offer two situations in which the passive voice must be used. First, passive voice is justified if the receiver of the action is more important than the creator of the action. They use this example:
89 [Randolph] Quirk et al. [in A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language , 6985] attempt to get over this problem by presenting a passive gradient and the notion of semi-passive , exemplified by the following sentences:
Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a doornail.
Look at how long that last sentence is, with only one comma, and how it makes you read straight through it without breathing—and how subtly it conveys the talkative teenage girl. Mr. Heinlein achieves the ultimate victory in turning himself into an underage female.