I have been experimenting with different forms of grammar recently, and have enabled Verbose Grammar Checks in Microsoft Word to alert me when I am unknowingly using the passive voice.

I wanted to find an alternative to can be that is not in the passive voice. If possible can you alter the following sentence, to avoid the passive voice:

C can be compiled natively.

  • 4
    One could argue that this is what passive voice is intended for. – d'alar'cop Mar 15 '14 at 11:15
  • You could say 'One can compile C# natively'. – WS2 Mar 15 '14 at 12:50
  • 1
    The passive voice is not to be avoided. Some languages specifically inflect their verbs for the passive voice, because of how incredibly beneficial it is. – Anonym Mar 15 '14 at 16:14
  • @user61979: Yes, and the benefits are not to be gainsaid. – rhetorician Mar 15 '14 at 20:51

The point about the passive voice is that it removes the subject of the active-voice version. It focuses the attention on the object (C#, in this case).

To convert to the active voice, the subject needs to be replaced. Or: you need to replace the subject.

You can compile C# natively.
I can compile C# natively.
One can compile C# natively.
Those who are able to can compile C# natively.

In some cases, the passive voice is exactly right, and cannot realistically be converted to active voice.

The general rule with Microsoft's grammar checker is to take all its advice with a huge pinch of salt, and certainly tune its rules. For myself, I turn it off altogether.

  • Microsoft's grammar checker's advice should be taken with a huge pinch of salt, and its rules certainly tuned. It is considered best turned off, by some. Or, Don't be overcome by passive resistance. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 15 '14 at 16:24

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