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  1. Crystal Parney

    Crystal Parney Member

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    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

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    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

    Crystal Parney Member

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    Space is endless, boundless. Within it I am microscopic.

    Thanks, Maia.
     
  4. Webster

    Webster Senior Member

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    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

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    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

    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I think endless and boundless are the same thing.
     
  7. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    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

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I liked maia's version best
     
  9. Webster

    Webster Senior Member

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    '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

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    To answer the original question: no, it is not passive.
     
  11. cazann34

    cazann34 Active Member

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    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

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto the 'not passive' judgment...
     
  13. singphantom7

    singphantom7 Banned

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    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

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    The rule of thumb is if you can insert 'by zombies' after the verb, it's passive. Useful trick.
     
  15. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    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.
     

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