Who Is Doing It, Part II

Here are three more examples of sentences where people are actually doing the action stated by the verb, not the subject of the sentence, which is actually the object, so passive voice is needed.

Bad Example #1:

These data will optimize the development plan for the field.

Wrong. The data will just sit there until the person uses them to optimize the field.

Corrected Example #1: These data will be used to optimize the development plan for the field.

Bad Example #2:

Phase 3 of the program will design and implement an EOR pilot project.

No, it won’t; the engineers will.

Corrected Example #2:

Phase 3 of the program will involve the design and implementation of an EOR pilot project.

Bad Example #3:

We initiated a study that intends to mitigate this situation when it occurs.

How is a study going to have a mental intention when it has no free will? How is it going to mitigate any kind of situation once it occurs? A study simply cannot do such things.

Corrected Example #3:

We initiated a study to find ways to mitigate this situation when it occurs.

We initiated, we will find ways, and we will mitigate.

So these three examples and the three I shared yesterday all have the same solution.

Ask yourself: Who is doing it? Is the Plan doing it? Is the Study doing it? Is the data doing it? I don’t think so.

Figure out what the verb is, figure out who is doing the action the verb implies, then choose your wording so that the people are doing the action, not the object being used to carry out that action.

2 Responses to “Who Is Doing It, Part II”

  1. petrocomputing Says:

    Cynthia in Houston commented via email:
    “This email is very helpful as I have used this language before myself! Wow, never realized what I was doing. I will keep this in mind when I am writing from here on out and avoid these traps, which are so easy to fall into. Have a wonderful day and thanks for the tips!”

  2. Can inanimate objects own or do things? « CyberText Newsletter Says:

    […] https://oilpatchwriting.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/who-is-doing-it-part-ii/ […]

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