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  1. #31
    Jane Forsman

    Re: Go Granny Go...

    I think I'm understanding everything so far. I think . . . :-\

    Hmm, grammar doesn't sink into me very well. I think I get by thanks to the amount of reading I do, not due to any outstanding marks in 10th grade English.

  2. #32


    My reason for mentioning the construction of the passive was to demonstrate why the contructions Jane used (He was walking, she was sitting) cannot be passive. No past participle, no passive. And without knowing the construction, one can't use it, even if one knew where and how it was used.

  3. #33
    Bob Kellogg

    Under Construction

    Add me to Gran's fan club. I've only written one sonnet in my life and won't ever do it again. So I'll justr have to sing Granny's praises in blank prose. Also, somewhere out of earshot.

    Do you think passive got a bad name because of society? Don't be passive, be active! Don't just sit there and take it! Fight back.

    I was guilty of confusing passive tense with what some call passive writing. But Strunk had better words fo it:

    "Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless,
    hesitating, non-committal language."
    ...William Strunk, Jr., "Elements of Style," Rule 12

    I've aldso pointed out what Gran hinted at; that passive, weak writing has been deliberately employed in business and hierarchical communications to avoid making definite assertions.

    Bob K.

  4. #34

    Re: Under Construction

    Hi Jane,

    I'm a Boston girl too! Work in Boston, live in Plymouth. Have you heard anything about GrubStreet? It looks like they have some good classes, all taught by local pubbed authors. I think the link is www.grubstreet.org


  5. #35
    Purana Purdy

    Voiceless/ intransitive verbs


    It isn't just the presence of the past partcipial form or a the presence of a form of the verb 'to be' that makes/ allows/causes a verb to be passive.

    The first condition for voice which MUST exist is that the verb must be transitive. No transitive verb, no voice.

  6. #36

    Re: Voiceless/ intransitive verbs

    I haven't been on the boards for a few days. We've been iced in here in Portland and I mostly have been reading all the books on writing everyone has recommended to me.

    I appreciate Gran's remarks on passive voice. She has been very helpful to me in the past with her succinct explanations that help make things clearer to the beginning writer like me.


  7. #37
    Jane Forsman

    Re: Voiceless/ intransitive verbs

    Pam, I've only been a Boston girl for about three months! I was a Virginia girl for the past ten years, then moved up here in late October to be closer to my sister, who is a senior at Boston University. Incidentally, the classes I'm applying for are at BU.

    I'll check out this Grub Street thing right away, thanks for the tip!

  8. #38


    Purana, you are right, of course. I didn't mention either that the passive cannot be formed from the perfect continuous (present, past and future).

    All I was doing by my short post was to show that without the past participle, a construction is not passive.

  9. #39

    Re: Passive Pedantic Prolixity

    Sorry to be such a pedant, but:

    "War has been destroying Afghanistan for the past twenty years"

    Present Perfect Continuous, Active

    "Afghanistan has been being destroyed for the past twenty years."

    Present Perfect Continuous, Passive

    So perfect continuous verb groups can be passive - it's just very unusual (not to mention hard to follow).

    In fact, any verb group can be passive/active, regardless of the tense (I think).


    [Just call me Mr. Pedant...]

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