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?

  • Hmm... I don't know. How about "Acoustic parameters for analysis were extracted from these sentences"? – snailcar Oct 10 '14 at 8:11
  • Both seem correct. – v kumar Oct 10 '14 at 9:20
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    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
-1

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.

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    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 parted ways Oct 10 '14 at 14:01
  • I see your point, but I'm not blinkered by such literal-mindedness. – Tᴚoɯɐuo 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. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 10 '14 at 14:07
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    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 parted ways Oct 10 '14 at 14:20
  • I don't concur with you that the main problem of the passive voice is obfuscation of responsibility, though that is certainly one of its abuses. The main problem, IMO, is that the passive voice tends to produce ponderous sentences, where active voice would produce concise ones: We extracted the acoustic parameters of the sentences and analyzed them. "We" with the active frequently appears in scientific papers in respected journal articles. There is a misperception that eliminating "we" lends greater objectivity to scientific writing. Clarity is the #1 goal. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 10 '14 at 14:33

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