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    #1

    Active and passive voice and anthropomorphising

    I am often confronted with the following situation:
    The figure shows that ... vs.
    It can be seen from the figure that ...

    In writing reports, my superiors do not accept the over-use of the passive voice, whilst I deem it necessary to avoid anthropomorphising inanimate objects, like the figure in the example.

    Are there ways to get around this?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Active and passive voice and anthropomorphising

    There is nothing wrong with "The figure shows...". You could use "We can see from the figure..."
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Active and passive voice and anthropomorphising

    Yes, there is nothing "anthropomorphic" about phrases like "these statistics represent a growing trend..." or "the sign informs visitors ..."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #4

    Re: Active and passive voice and anthropomorphising

    It's only anthropomorphising if the inanimate object acts like a human. For example, the figure leaps off the page, dances a rhumba, and shows that this is anthropomorphising.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #5

    Re: Active and passive voice and anthropomorphising

    Quote Originally Posted by Douw View Post
    I deem it necessary to avoid anthropomorphising inanimate objects, like the figure in the example.
    I don't see your example as a problem. You can also state the facts and put the figure number in brackets.

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    #6

    Re: Active and passive voice and anthropomorphising

    Thanks to everyone for their insightful comments.

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    #7

    Re: Active and passive voice and anthropomorphising

    Douw, please note that there is no need to write a new post to say "Thanks". There is a "Thank" and a "Like" button in the bottom left-hand corner of every response. If you find a post helpful, click on one of those buttons (or both of them).
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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