thread: 2011-02-07 : Design scales: to the text!

On 2011-02-07, Vincent wrote:

Well, okay, I guess. I forgive you. It's one of my favorite subjects to rant about and I don't want to get too off-track, so I'll try to restrain myself.

Active voice: "I kicked the ball." The subject of the sentence acts upon the object of the sentence.

Passive voice: "the ball was kicked by me." The subject is acted upon by the object; it receives action, it doesn't take action.

Abbreviated passive voice: "the ball was kicked." The subject is acted upon by an unspecified object. To sentences in abbreviated passive voice, I like to append (in portentious tones) "BY UNSEEN FORCES." The ball was kicked BY UNSEEN FORCES. This much concentrated passive voice was read BY UNSEEN FORCES, so a nosebleed was gotten BY UNSEEN FORCES.

While we're here, imperative voice: "kick the ball." You are the subject, implicit or explicit ("Jesse, kick the ball").

From Spione: "When the Tresspass is considered Disclosed by the person running the spy [passive voice], the Dossier is unfolded and laid upon the table with both sides up [abbreviated passive voice]."

Of the above, Burning Wheel's the best - it lapses into passive voice only when things get complicted, when "extra successes must be allocated" - and Buffy's by far the worst. It's terribly constructed. "After creating the character, some (use common sense [imperative voice]) Qualities and Drawbacks may be acquired or lost in the course of a game [abbreviated passive voice]. For example, a scarring wound could reduce a character's Attractiveness [active voice], or a change in fortune could increase or decrease the character's Resources or Social Level [active voice]. When such a change is brought about during play [abbreviated passive voice], no experience points (see p. 131) are needed to purchase them [abbreviated passive voice]." No experience points are needed BY UNSEEN FORCES to purchase them, give me strength.

Rebuilt into mostly imperative voice, with some active, which is what you oughta use when you write instructions: "After you've created your character, gameplay might lead you to add or remove some Qualities and Drawbacks. Use common sense. For example, you could reduce your character's Attractiveness to reflect a scarring wound, or you could increase or decrease your character's Resources or Social Level to reflect a change in fortunes. In these cases, you wouldn't have to pay experience points to purchase the changes."

If anybody wants more grammar talk, I'm happy - happy! - to oblige. I love grammar, it's the measuring, mixing and kneading of my craft. Say so and I'll make a front page post.


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