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What's wrong with the passive voice? "It was seen by me," is passive. "I saw it," is active. Here, the passive voice is indeed silly. However, to insist on the active voice ignores the efficacy of the passive voice (why has it evolved?). Consider science writing, where objectivity is honorable. "We did this, then we saw this, so we conclude this." Who did is trivial versus what was done. "The dog was seen by me," is silly. But, "The lost, brown dog for whom the kids were searching was seen by witnesses on the corner," places the dog more prominently—likely to be what the autonomous author intended. The passive voice ought be avoided only when the "by..." phrase is contextually expendable or silly.
—Dr. NAD
Scientist disagrees with Dr NAD.
Over/Under vs More than/Less than
The use of "over" and "under" to mean "more than" and "less than" is my peeve. "Over" and "under" signify positions. I see too many occasions of my pet peef: "over 500 people attended"; "children under five years of age," etc. I'm waiting to see the one that says "the roof is more than the third floor" or "the garage is less than the building." :) My kids used to get really sick of me, upon seeing the sign at an Anchorage, Alaska, mall that stated "over 40 stores," always muttering "what's over them but the roof?" Here's to clean, clear communication!
Karen L. Lew
(son's sweet graphics site)
Ridiculous, repeated redundancies
"Venomous diatribes" is redundant; it's a type of redundancy known as a pleonasm. A diatribe is always venomous.
Other examples:
new recruit
general public
close proximity
revert back
huddle together
completely full
ATM machine
general consensus
my personal opinion
unauthorised trespassing
stem originally
first origins
violent explosion
new innovation never ever
join together
emotional feeling
successfully refute
enclosed herewith
Dean Morris
PIN number
HIV virus
MAC card
AIDS syndrome
SCUBA gear
reason why

positively sure
pitch black
a little bit
vulgar obscenities
absolute truth
popular hit
secret hideaway
stupid idiot
binding contract
deep abyss
annoying pest
James Pedroso

"Anyways" is not a word!

The Lost 'h'
Where have all the 'h's gone? Context doesn't always identify the word intended. I would probably know whether 'whine' or 'wine' was meant, but I might not know whether a person saw a 'wheel' or a 'weal', or whether a person heard a 'whale' or a 'wail.' I seem to be in a tiny minority. I even say 'herb' with a 'huh' at the front. Professor Henry Higgins would be proud of the way I make the candle flame wiggle. I only leave out the 'h' in 'whoa', 'hour' and its derivatives, and maybe a couple of other words.
Gene Garretson

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