1

Considering the previous situation, the experimental results are given in table 1.

Is it wrong to use passive voice in the second part of this structure (the experimental results are given in table 1.)? I know that the subject in the second part should be available, but I can't find any other way to express this sentence

  • The subject of the main clause (your 'second part') is "the experimental results". – BillJ Jan 3 at 14:37
  • @BillJ So this sentence is not wrong? – Pablo Jan 3 at 14:41
  • 1
    It's grammatically okay. – BillJ Jan 3 at 14:41
3

The sentence the way you have it is fine. Even though experts in English style tend to recommend against overuse of the passive voice, it is common to use it for technical reports, experimental results, etc. In these situations the experimenters or the presenters of the information often want to minimize their own role in the presentation, so they use the passive voice to eliminate references to themselves in the sentences.

Instead of saying,

Considering the previous situation, we/I have given the experimental results in table 1.

they use the passive voice, and the "we"/"I" drops out of the sentence:

Considering the previous situation, the experimental results are given in table 1.

In this sentence, the focus is on the experimental results, not the people writing up the results.

If you would rather use the active voice, the subject of your sentence could be the table:

Considering the previous situation, Table 1 shows the experimental results.

|improve this answer|||||
  • I would rather use the passive voice, but I was hesitant whether it's correct or not. – Pablo Jan 3 at 14:55
1

The introductory participial phrase is confusing. I doubt that the results are considering any situation. I suspect that you mean

The results of experiments concerning (related to) this situation are shown in Table 1.

In this case, I stylistically like the passive because it emphasizes the important information in the sentence. If, however, you are one of those who have been taught that using the passive voice is a sin against the Holy Spirit, it is easy to transpose into the active voice:

Table 1 shows the results of experiments related to this situation.

EDIT: By the way, I see that another answer says that many advise against overuse* of the passive voice. This is in my opinion good advice about style. It is NOT a grammatical rule. Moreover, even as a guide to style, it cautions against overuse rather than use. There are several situations where the passive voice is natural and stylistically appropriate.

Finally, as the other answer points out, in some academic fields it is considered improper to use the active voice in describing how an experiment was designed and conducted because the focus should be on the experiment rather than the experimenter.

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.