1. jenk
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    jenk New Member

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    Passive voice

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by jenk, Jul 25, 2010.

    I write medical content for medical software and I need to avaoid using passive voice. I need some help revising 2 sections of a piece I am working on. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    The risk of death from MRSA infection is high for known carriers according to a study published in a 2008 issue of “Clinical Infectious Disease”. (Reference 1, p 176) MRSA is an acronym for methicilllin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is a bacterium that was once treated successfully with methicillin until recent years. For MRSA carriers, eradication is the goal and treatment, or the decision not to treat, may vary among health care providers according to a review published in a 2010 issue of Advanced for Nurse Practitioners”.

    The second one is:

    Rifampin used for decolonization is rarely used alone. It is used in combination with other oral antibiotics.
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think one reason people use the passive voice for medical and other technical prose is that it removes the active agent from the statement. For example, your sentence

    "Rifampin used for decolonization is rarely used alone."

    could be rewritten in active voice as

    "Doctors rarely use Rifampin alone for decolonization."

    But this identifies the agent ("Doctors"), and for some reason that practice has traditionally been frowned upon. (I could have rephrased that last bit in active voice as "For some reason, people have traditionally frowned upon that practice.")

    If you can get away with it, put the agents back into the statements and the active voice appears almost by magic.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The way to convert passive voice to active voice is to find the active subject for the verb.

    For example:
    Who successfully treated the bacterium? The subject is notr specified. If the subject is unknown, you may need to leave the sentence passive. That's one reason passive voice exists - sometimes the subject is unknown or is deleberately unspecified. In this case, however, you can make the subject doctors or clinicians or medical personnel:
    Now you should be able to handle the rest.
     
  4. jenk
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    jenk New Member

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    Thank you both so much. This is just the information I needed to help me "take it from here".
     

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