Which of the following sentence are correct:

  • The RDFs for [hmim][PF6] at 348K and 1 atm were selected to report and interpret.
  • The RDFs for [hmim][PF6] at 348K and 1 atm were selected for reporting and interpretation.
  • The RDFs for [hmim][PF6] at 348K and 1 atm were selected to be reported and interpreted.

I didn't find any match for the bold parts, so I am confused which one is correct for this sentence.

I guess it be #3 because it must be in passive voice, but if we can select something for the purpose of another action then #1 and #2 can also be correct.

  • 2
    They're all fine - it's really just a stylistic choice. Personally, I'd probably favour #2 (for reporting and interpretation) for this specific context, but even that might depend on exactly what words were used in preceding and following sentences. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 14:35
  • @FumbleFingers a more complete sentence is The RDFs of IL at different temperatures from 298 to 348K are almost the same. Therefore, RDFs for [hmim][PF6] at 348K and 1 atm were selected to report and interpret
    – Ahmad
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 14:38
  • 2
    I won't be sucked into discussing finer points of style, where my opinion isn't necessarily worth more than that of any other native speaker. They're all fine. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 14:40
  • I agree with FumbleFingers, #2 seems like the most appropriate wording in this context. The phrase "for reporting and interpretation" clarifies the intent of the selection, and in that context, the word "for" best conveys the meaning. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Actually, all three of them are in the passive voice. So if you're looking to choose one in the passive voice, any of those three will do equally well.

The reason that all three are in the passive voice is the phrase "were selected".

In the passive voice, the verb is modified by a form of 'be' -- in this case, 'was'.

Active voice: "X does Y".

Passive voice: "Y is done by X".

The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (go Badgers!) is one of many places that encourages the use of the active voice whenever possible:

Generally, try to use the active voice whenever possible. Passive voice sentences often use more words, can be vague, and can lead to a tangle of prepositional phrases.

In order to change this to the active voice, you'd need to take the verb -- in this case, "select" -- and make the subject of the sentence be whoever (or whatever) is doing the selecting. For example:

The team selected the RDFs for [hmim][PF6] at 348K and 1 atm for reporting and interpretation.

This sentence is generally clearer and less wordy than the passive voice version.

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