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Point of View in Writing and the Active/Passive Voice A dopted from College Writing Skills by John Langan, Purdue OWL , and The Bedford Handbook for Writers by Diana Hacker. Point of View
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Point of View in Writing and the Active/Passive VoiceAdopted from College Writing Skills by John Langan, Purdue OWL, and The Bedford Handbook for Writers by Diana Hacker
Point of View
When you write, you can take any of three approaches, or points of view: first-person, second-person, or third person.
First of all, I like comfort when I’m camping. My GMC motor home, with its completely equipped kitchen, shower stall, toilet, double bed, and color television, resembles a mobile motel room. I can sleep on a real mattress, clean sheets, and fluffy pillows. Next to my bed are devices that make me feel at home: a radio, an alarm clock, and a TV remote-control unit. Unlike the poor campers huddled in tents, I don’t have to worry about cold, rain, heat, or annoying insects. After a hot shower, I can slide into my pajamas, sit comfortably on my down-filled quilt, and read the latest best-seller while a thunderstorm booms outside.
First of all, modern campers bring complete bedrooms with them. Winnebagoes, GMC motor homes, and Airstream trailers lumber into America’s campgrounds every summer like mobile motel rooms. All the comforts of home are provided inside. Campers sleep on real mattresses with clean sheets and fluffy pillows. Next to their beds are the same gadgets that litter their night tables at home—radios, alarm clocks, and TV remote –control units. It’s not necessary for them to worry about annoyances like cold, heat, rain, or buzzing insects. They can sit comfortably in bed and read the latest best-sellers while a thunderstorm booms outside.
confusingly from one point of view to another.
The solution is to choose a suitable perspective
and then stay with it.
One week our class met in a junkyard to practice
rescuing a victim trapped in a wrecked car. We
learned to dismantle the car with the essential tools.
You (We) were graded on your (our) skill in
extricating the victim.
One of the fringe benefits of my job is that you (I)
can use a company credit card for gasoline.
Passive: The coolant pumps were destroyed by a surge of power.
Active: A surge of power destroyed the coolant pumps.
Original: The goalie crouched low, reached out his stick, and
sent the rebound away from the mouth of the net.
Revised: The goalie crouched low, swept out his stick, and
hooked the rebound away from the mouth of the
Original: Burying nuclear waste in Antarctica would be in
violation of an international treaty.
Revised: Burying nuclear waste in Antarctica would violate
an international treaty.
determine carefully who or what is performing the action.
Passive: The book is being read by most of the class.
Active: Most of the class is reading the book.
a passive-voice sentence.
Passive: Results will be published in the next issue
of the journal.
Active: The researchers will publish their results in
the next issue of the journal.
Passive voice has three basic characteristics:
The first sentence uses all three characteristics:
The meeting is being held by the human resources
It’s a great honor to be applying to a
Original: Many customers in the restaurant found the coffee
too bitter to drink, but it was still ordered
Revised: Many customers in the restaurant found the coffee
too bitter, but they still ordered it frequently.