2

I have been checking my writing in Grammarly and correcting my grammar using the Free Plan. But there are some warnings that can only be fixed using the Premium Plan. One thing that is bugging me a lot is the warning of "Passive Voice Misuse" in this sentence. What would be the proper usage of passive voice in this sentence? And why is Grammarly considering it as an error?

The sentence is as follows:

The well is divided into three sections as surface (0 to 4,000 ft), intermediate (4,000 to 13,290 ft), and production (13,290 to 20,000 ft) sections considering casing design, which was mentioned in the first chapter.

8
  • 4
    You may find this post helpful: Canonical Post #1: When to Trust Your Grammar Checker Grammar checkers are not 100% accurate. They only give you a suggestion that there might be a problem, and they miss a lot of problems, especially when dealing with more complex sentences.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 7, 2021 at 19:16
  • 3
    There are other problems in that sentence, ignoring the numbers in parentheses, we get “The well is divided into three sections as surface, intermediate, and production sections considering casing design, which was/were mentioned in the first chapter.” Q. What was mentioned in the first chapter, the casing design, the three different sections or both?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 7, 2021 at 19:22
  • 1
    @ColleenV bear in mind that the answer was written way back in 2013, language programmes have become more sophisticated since then.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 7, 2021 at 19:26
  • 1
    Then the grammar checker got lucky, I would use were because the nouns are plural.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 7, 2021 at 19:31
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA No amount of sophistication will solve the issue with grammar checkers until we either make English have more rules than it has exceptions to rules or we accidentally create a Skynet more interested in correcting our grammar than wiping us out :) It wouldn't be a bad idea for someone to update the post though.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 7, 2021 at 19:40

2 Answers 2

1

The well is divided into three sections as surface (0 to 4,000 ft), intermediate (4,000 to 13,290 ft), and production (13,290 to 20,000 ft) sections considering casing design, which I mentioned in the first chapter.

Replace was with pronoun - eg. I, we, they, etc. Like others have mentioned, It's not wholly wrong to have it the way you have written it.

1
  • Often academic style forbids the use of personal pronouns in reports, which is what this excerpt sounds like. Aug 18, 2021 at 4:28
0

Grammarly isn't telling you to use passive correctly (you are already doing that!) It is asking you to consider using the active voice instead.

Remember that Grammarly is a tool for native speakers. It highlights potential issues in spelling, grammar and style. But it expects the native speaking user to make decisions. The passive voice tends to get overused by native speakers when writing scientific reports (under some half-remembered rule about personal pronouns being forbidden, which doesn't exist in any style guide I've seen or used). Grammarly, therefore, has an algorithm that tries to spot the passive voice and asks you to consider rephrasing in the active voice.

It is up to your judgement whether to follow its advice. In this particular case if "the first chapter" refers to "the first chapter of this report that I am writing" then Grammarly is making a useful suggestion, and I'd rephrase as "... which I mentioned in the first chapter". But if the first chapter is the first chapter of some book that you are writing about, then the passive voice is useful and I'd ignore this recomendation.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .