1

Should I say:

"Acoustic parameters of these sentences were extracted to analyze. "

or

"Acoustic parameters of these sentences were extracted for analysis. "

Or anything else?

3
  • Hmm... I don't know. How about "Acoustic parameters for analysis were extracted from these sentences"?
    – user230
    Oct 10 '14 at 8:11
  • 1
    Both seem correct.
    – v kumar
    Oct 10 '14 at 9:20
  • 2
    I prefer some element of passive use: "to be analysed" or the neutral "for analysis", since these options externalise the action. Of course, if the writer is involved in the analysis, then "to analyse" may be equally acceptable.
    – JMB
    Oct 10 '14 at 9:30
0

The second is correct, the first is not.

Passive voice is generally recognized as not conducing to clarity, and it should be used sparingly.

The acoustic parameters of these sentences were analyzed.

The acoustic parameters of these sentences were extracted for analysis.

We analyzed the acoustic parameters of these sentences.

What does "were extracted" actually do to advance the understanding? Nothing.

7
  • 2
    But you've changed the meaning of the sentence. The parameters were extracted, but not analyzed in the original. "We extracted the parameters for analysis... (using the Smith-Jones algorithm)". In technical writing the distinction can be very important, particularly when you're documenting an experiment for peer review.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 10 '14 at 14:01
  • I see your point, but I'm not blinkered by such literal-mindedness. Oct 10 '14 at 14:05
  • We used the Smith-Jones algorithm to extract the acoustic parameters of the sentences for subsequent analysis with the Eta-Zeta algorithm. Or Using the Smith Jones algorithm we extracted the acoustic parameters of the sentences for analysis with the Eta-Zeta algorithm. Oct 10 '14 at 14:07
  • 4
    If it is documentation, being literal is important. Steps need to be reproduced and methodology verified. Passive voice isn't a horrible thing for all types of writing. When you're documenting an experiment, it doesn't matter who extracted the parameters. The main problem with passive voice is that it makes it easy to hide the agent ("Mistakes were made.") which is bad for most types of writing. In scientific articles written for peers, someone extracted the parameters but it's not important who did it, just that they were extracted in a particular way at a particular stage of the process.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 10 '14 at 14:20
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    "The acoustic parameters of the sentences were extracted for analysis." is not more ponderous than "We extracted the acoustic parameters of the sentences for analysis." and the the passive emphasizes the parameters more than the active does. Forcing something into active voice just for the sake of using active voice can just as easily lead to convoluted sentences as using passive voice. There has been a lot of discussion about passive voice being unfairly denigrated. Passive voice can often be the clearest way to state something.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 10 '14 at 15:45
0

Both of them seem to be acceptable, but the second one certainly sounds more in keeping with the distancing from the speaker effected by use of the passive.

The comment by JMB provides a suitable answer:

I prefer some element of passive use: "to be analysed" or the neutral "for analysis", since these options externalise the action. Of course, if the writer is involved in the analysis, then "to analyse" may be equally acceptable.

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