1. Crystal Parney
    Offline

    Crystal Parney Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Michigan

    Help with a sentence

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Crystal Parney, Nov 30, 2012.

    Hey everyone, I've been working this sentence and I think I've gotten it where I want it, but then I am wondering if it's passive. I know passive voice is frowned upon in fiction, so I want to make sure I am not using it. Here's the sentence.

    Space is endless, boundless, and within it I am microscopic.

    Thanks for any help...
     
  2. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i'd strongly advise dropping the comma and 'and'... making it two short, much more impactful sentences... a comma after 'it' may be optional...
     
  3. Crystal Parney
    Offline

    Crystal Parney Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Michigan
    Space is endless, boundless. Within it I am microscopic.

    Thanks, Maia.
     
  4. Webster
    Offline

    Webster Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    France
    Space is endless, boundless. And, within it, I am microscopic.

    That would be my preference. I know less is more, so you should probably go with the other suggestion. I'm just prone to drawing things out.
     
  5. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,723
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Actually, I prefer the original version, though I should point out that it depends on the context. To really know how good it is, we'd have to see the whole paragraph.

    And in answer to the original question, it is not passive.
     
  6. JJ_Maxx
    Offline

    JJ_Maxx Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    3,339
    Likes Received:
    501
    I think endless and boundless are the same thing.
     
  7. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I agree with minstrel that it depends on the context. You should go over that passage/paragraph and see which version has the greater impact.
     
  8. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    I liked maia's version best
     
  9. Webster
    Offline

    Webster Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    France
    'boundless' serves as a re-emphasis. It's an aesthetic judgement call. I'm interested to know what Crystal's final choice will be...
     
  10. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,533
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    To answer the original question: no, it is not passive.
     
  11. cazann34
    Offline

    cazann34 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Here's my two cents worth.

    Space is endless; boundless and infinite, and I am nothing but a microscopic speck within it.

    Thanks to Primary Resourses for: A sentence is written in active voice when the subject of the sentence performs the action in the sentence.

    e.g. The girl was washing the dog.

    A sentence is written in passive voice when the subject of the sentence has an action done to it by someone or something else.

    e.g. The dog was being washed by the girl.

    *If I understand the above mumble-jumble your sentence is not in passive voice. But thanks for posting it. It gave me a reason to look something up. And apologies for rewriting for sentence.
     
  12. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    ditto the 'not passive' judgment...
     
  13. singphantom7
    Offline

    singphantom7 Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2012
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    1
    I agree with maia's version. And I wouldn't take out 'boundless' even though it has a similar meaning. I think it has a nice, poetic ring, and I'm a stickler for short, simple sentences.

    I like it.
     
  14. NigeTheHat
    Offline

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    757
    Likes Received:
    575
    Location:
    London
    The rule of thumb is if you can insert 'by zombies' after the verb, it's passive. Useful trick.
     
  15. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Rule of thumb? Don't thumbs tend to be among the first bits to fall off zombies?

    The "rule" works (when it does) because in passive voice, the actor of a verb action is not the subject of the sentence. The actor, if named at all, generally appears in a prepositional phrase beginning with the preposition "by."

    And that is what makes passive verbs useful, too. If you don't wish to, or are unable to, identify the actor, you can use passive voice:

    If we could name the murderer, there could be no story. So passive voice is a good choice here. You could use an anonymous pronoun instead:
    but it's not necessarily a better choice, because you may prefer the recipient of the action (Rigby) to take the subject role in the sentence rather than the direct object.

    The problem with a rule of thumb is that it doesn't help you understand why or why not to use a construct.
     

Share This Page