Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Holy Passive Voice Batman!

Ever heard of this trick for identifying passive voice? If you can add "by zombies" and the sentence still makes sense, then its in passive voice! Let's use a real-life example shall we?


Toddler hit [by zombies] when gun goes off in car in Sunnyside

SUNNYSIDE, Wash. — A 3-year-old boy was critically injured [by zombies] when a firearm discharged [by zombies] in the vehicle he was riding in Monday night, Sunnyside police said.
He’s being treated [by zombies] at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center for a gunshot to the head.
The boy, who was not identified [by zombies], arrived at Sunnyside Community Hospital about 9:30 p.m. Monday, according to a news release from the Sunnyside Police Department.
Officers said they believe the gun’s firing resulted from an accident when the vehicle was in the area of Yakima Valley Highway and East Edison Avenue.
The vehicle and the gun were seized [by zombies], but police did not immediately release more information about the circumstances. They said they are continuing to investigate.

Why am I suddenly a grammar Nazi? Because there is no such thing as an accidental discharge! The use of passive voice to describe a negligent discharge does two things, it reinforces this popular and inaccurate notion that guns go off by accident all the time, and it deflects blame from the irresponsible owner/operator of the firearm! I am willing to bet a substantial amount of money that someone allowed the trigger on that gun to be pulled, whether with his finger or by carrying it improperly (ie, not using a holster).

Anyway, someone needs to show this trick to the media...

Link to source article: http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2012/10/24/toddler-hit-when-gun-goes-off-in-car-in-sunnyside

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