Monday, April 06, 2009

You might be a little jaded by grading if you sent this e-mail to your grad students

I'm just saying, you know, hypothetically.

SUBJECT: Stop what you're doing RIGHT NOW

. . .unless you're, like, in the ER or something, and read Strunk and
White's advice on using the active voice. It's tip #14, and it's on
page 18 of the edition I have.

While you're at it, read #15, #16, and #17, too.

Seriously, you people have a love affair with the passive voice. And
you know what? It's time to break it off. He's just not that into
you (or your thesis).

Tip #14 folks, tip #14.

Your professor, your readers, your employers, and your country will
thank you.

That is all.

For now.



Bardiac said...

In my old copy of Strunk and White, the part on not using the passive voice is largely IN the passive voice. :(

Anonymous said...

I just tell my students to check all the boxes on the grammar check in Microsoft Word. :)

crgilvr said...

As someone who makes her living editing things that are written by academics, I just about fell off my chair laughing at this post.

Terminal Degree said...


My hubby is an English prof, and he finally got a rubber stamp that says "Avoid passive voice."

He uses that stamp a lot. (And I borrow it a lot.)

ScienceWoman said...

Hear Hear. I'd like a stamp that says "explain your reasoning."

Anonymous said...

this is totally awesome!

Kate said...

Ooh. We could have a whole line of stamps. I would like "where is the evidence?" and "awkward" stamps.

Jeff Mather said...

At least you're in a position to send such an e-mail. I find myself just gritting my teeth during meetings with my coworkers. "Several bugs were identified and reported to Intel."

grumpyABDadjunct said...

Oh man I hear you!

And I want a stamp that says "explain the significance of this."