Use of Passive Voice in Writing

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by puma1552, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. puma1552 macrumors 601

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    #1
    "This experience has provided me intimate insight into not only Japanese society but also Japanese disposition, yielding me a rather unique perspective from which to approach my research interests once admitted to IR/PS"

    Is this passive voice because of the "has provided"?

    This is a sentence from my grad school SoP for a master's in international relations. My background is engineering, where we subconsciously used nothing but the passive voice. As a result, despite how many websites I read on passive voice, I can never be too sure if I'm using it or not.

    If this IS passive voice, how would you rework it in active voice without losing the erudition it has? It seems like whenever I work around what seems to be unavoidable passive voice, the resultant active voice sounds far more trite and unintelligent.
     
  2. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    #2
    This experience gave intimate insight into Japanese society and disposition. As a result, I can better approach research interests after admission to IR/PS.

    Passive voice can be tricky when writing in the first person. Now, I'm no grammarian and I can't guarantee that my reworking is the best solution. However, I think it's best to avoid being verbose as much as possible. If you can say what you want with less words than it is usually better to do so. Unless, your trying to up your word count, but teachers are usually adept at busting you on that. :D

    Here's a link on passive voice that might be helpful, even though you say you've read many.
     
  3. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #3
    It's not passive.

    Subject "experience"
    Predicate "has provided" - the "has" confers tense, not passive voive
    Object "me"

    Passive: "I was provided by this experience an intimate insight into not only Japanese society but also Japanese disposition..."
     
  4. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

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    #4
    Awesome, I agree about being too verbose as well; there is no word limit but the school encourages us to limit it to 2-3 pages, which is difficult with the multitude of questions they ask. Mine is sitting at 3.25 pages or so, so I feel I can shorten key sentences to get her down under 3 pages.

    Oh man this makes me feel better. I had like five sentences kind of like this that I thought were passive but this makes me feel a lot better--what you wrote is DEFINITELY passive.

    So now I just need to work on final shortening and tightening, hopefully I can have this done today! Thanks guys!
     
  5. emt1 macrumors 65816

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    #5
    "yielded me" is a strange expression... or is it just me?
     
  6. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

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    #6
    No, it's not you.
     
  7. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

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    #7
    yeah i never felt comfortable with it either, i ended up changing it
     
  8. emt1 macrumors 65816

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  9. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

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    #9
    Ehhh i don't think i want to do that...
     
  10. emt1 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    If you want it to be good, you will. :D
     
  11. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #11
    Don't be so passive :D
     
  12. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

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    #12
    lol ill pass, wouldnt want anyone ganking my grad school SoP :D
     
  13. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

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    #13
    Well, when I gave the draft of my thesis to my grad adviser, I was shocked over how many pages he just took and marked a BIG RED X over the whole page. You'll get there.
     
  14. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

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    #14
    w0rd

    I currently have it being reviewed my one of my letter writers (who happens to be an Ivy grad) and I'm sure she will rip it apart. This school wants me to write four essays, one of which is an optional one for a fellowship. The other two required are final after painstaking revisions (upwards of 40 hours into revising one, ouch), and this SoP is coming to the very end now I finally feel. Once this is finalized, I will be done with the required stuff. I have the optional draft done, but not revised so that one needs a bit of work still. If I'm lucky I can send this app off in another week or two.

    Then finish my other 3 :(

    UCSD
    Columbia
    NYU
    Syracuse
     

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