The passive voice shows more interest in the subject experiencing the action while an active voice shows interest in the subject performing the action. The advice to avoid the English passive started in the early 20th century. In 1997, Brock Haussamen indicated that 19th-century writers on grammar and usage were able to show the correct structure and function of passives. However, early in the 20th century, we find writers strongly advising against the use of passive voice. According to George Orwell, the passive voice masks the active individual as well as the truth.
Personally, I think that avoiding the passives is bad advice. Despite the reasons given, I think the advice is biased because these writers are making critics but still using passives in their writing. Instead of advising against the use of passives, it would be best to teach students how to recognize passives in their writing and the discourse condition on passives. It would also be beneficial to show the students how non-canonical clauses fit into discourses.
The reason people who are learning to write are told to avoid the passives is that passive constructions are dull and static rather than lively and dynamic, evasive when it comes to responsibility and that they are feeble rather than bold. This may seem a bit problematic because passives are a lot wordier and since you don't see the actor, the constructions may be confusing.
Passive ID Exercise
Dangerous Passage and Multiplying Fines as Ice Is Left Uncleared
In the city, where walking is a way of life, keeping sidewalks clear in the winter is not merely a neighborly courtesy, it is also required under the law. Businesses, homeowners and others in charge of properties are given four hours from the time snow has stopped falling (longer if it ends at night) to clean the pavement. Failure to do so can result in tickets carrying fines of $100 to $150 for a first offense and up to $350 for multiple violations.
The Sanitation Department has issued more than 10,000 tickets this winter and more than 42,000 tickets since 2010, according to a New York Times analysis of city data. In total, those tickets carried fines of nearly $8.5 million (excluding a small percentage of tickets that were successfully challenged), of which just $2.6 million has been paid so far.
"Everybody complains about it in the neighborhood, but nothing gets done ," said Mr. Sullivan, a cook and single father of eight. "I really get mad because children and the elderly have to pass here every day. It's dangerous, and it has to be cleaned up." - According to Pullum's classification, the former is a special form of passive which falls under 'get passives'.
In cases where violations of the city's building code result in "structurally dangerous disrepair that poses an immediate danger to the public," the Buildings Department can issue an emergency declaration to have a building repaired or demolished. If a housing court upholds that declaration, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development will hire contractors and charge the cost back to owners.
Mr. Mellis said that the Sanitation Department enforces snow and ice removal by leaving tickets on the premises and also mailing copies to the owners or responsible parties listed in city records. Hearings on the violations are held by the Environmental Control Board.
The Times analysis found that more than $4.8 million in fines had been flagged by the city as past due. Fines are collected by the Finance Department, which sends notices for nonpayment of fines after 90 days but does not go as far as putting liens on the properties, according to a department spokeswoman.
However, it was not clear that some tickets were even getting into the right hands. For instance, two tickets left outside 896 East 167th Street last week, where tickets date to at least 2011, were addressed to William Myles, who neighbors said had moved out at least two years ago. Property records show that William and Sylvia Myles sold the house in April 2014 to Goodman Realty Group Corporation. Neither Mr. Myles nor Goodman Realty could be reached for comment.
A half-mile away, a three-apartment building in foreclosure at 794 Freeman Street has been issued tickets 23 times for ice so thick that one resident said it was like living in Alaska. Most of the tickets named Bank of New York Mellon as the responsible party. But Kevin Heine, a spokesman for the bank, said that it was a trustee for mortgage-backed securities, which are created when mortgages, including the one for this property, are pooled and placed in a trust for investors, and has only a limited administrative role that does not include maintaining the property.
Mr. Heine added that if the bank had received any tickets, it would have forwarded them to Bank of America, the company actually responsible for maintaining the property until January, when it was sold, according to records. A Bank of America spokesman said it was looking into the matter and would take of care of any snow removal, or outstanding tickets, if it was in fact responsible.
In cases where such issues have yet to be sorted out, some residents say they have no choice but to clean up their neighbors' messes because they do not want anyone to fall.
The owner of record of the vacant house, Frances Miceli, has been issued at least 46 tickets between that home and another property a block away, but has not seen any of them. She died years ago.
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