Passive Voice Grammar Question

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  1. eugbug profile image98
    eugbugposted 5 weeks ago

    I always run into trouble with these type of sentences. Grammarly tells me this one is wrong, no matter what way I rearrange it. So here's two suggestions. I'm not sure which is correct:

    Cross-cut saws were used to cut up trees which had been felled by an axe, into manageable sections.

    Cross cut saws were used to cut up trees into manageable sections, which had been felled by an axe.

    Grammarly likes the hyphen between "Cross" and "Cut" (One less error with it included), but it's giving me a "passive voice misuse" error with boith. Also using "which" or "that" seems to be an issue, but I think "which" is more common in British English.

    1. dougwest1 profile image99
      dougwest1posted 5 weeks agoin reply to this

      I like Beth's suggested change. It reads well. About Grammarly, is it worth the money? Does it truly help?  Even though I write a lot, my grammar isn't as good as I would like.

  2. profile image0
    Marisa Writesposted 5 weeks ago

    Grammarly picks up lots of "errors" which are not errors.  If you follow it slavishly, you'll end up with stilted, old-fashioned English. 

    The first one sounds better to me, because it's the trees which have been felled, not the sections.  However the comma makes it awkward. How about:

    After being felled with an axe, the trees were cut up using cross-cut saws.

  3. Beth Eaglescliffe profile image98
    Beth Eaglescliffeposted 5 weeks ago

    I like Marisa's suggestion, but I would add a second sentence for clarity.

    After being felled with an axe, the trees were cut up using cross-cut saws. This created manageable sections of timber to work with.

    1. bravewarrior profile image95
      bravewarriorposted 5 weeks agoin reply to this

      I like Beth's suggestion. It reads smoothly and the second sentence clarifies the point.

      1. eugbug profile image98
        eugbugposted 5 weeks agoin reply to this

        Yes, that probably makes sense, rather than trying to compound everything into one sentence.

  4. bhattuc profile image79
    bhattucposted 5 weeks ago

    Grammarly picks so many errors, whether you take it or not. Beth has given a good substitution.

  5. CYong74 profile image97
    CYong74posted 5 weeks ago

    Grammarly is AI. Designed to see only black and white and nothing in between. If you adopt every suggestion it makes, your text bore every reader to tears.

    1. MizBejabbers profile image90
      MizBejabbersposted 5 weeks agoin reply to this

      Right on. You are pointing out one of my pet peeves. I also get frustrated at the syntax feature on my Word program that wants to seed my sentences with unnecessary commas.

  6. MizBejabbers profile image90
    MizBejabbersposted 5 weeks ago

    Eugene, What Grammarly is pointing out in your use of which is that if you use "which" you need a comma before the phrase also. "... which had been felled by an ax,..."

    Take it from an old legal editor who can quote sources. "Which" is used in independent clauses. If removed, the sentence can still stand alone without it. "That" is used in dependent clauses and if removed the sentence may not have a point of reference. However, I personally believe it would be better to make it into a dependent clause by substituting "that" for "which" and leaving out the commas.

    An easy rule to remember is: Always surround an independent clause in the middle of a sentence with commas. Never place commas around a dependent clause.

    Technically, your last sentence is grammatically correct because you use the independent clause at the end. The use of the comma separates it from the word "sections" and refers it to the word "trees". At least that is how we punctuated an independent clause at the end of a sentence in the law books that had to stand up in a court of law. But because some confusion exists anyway. So I believe that using "that" with no commas is the way to go.

    As a quick reference guide, I use Hodge's Harbrace College Handbook. Any addition will contain an explanation of dependent and independent clauses. I also agree that you can chop your sentence up into two sentences, which is also something that we did in our work. It is however you prefer. But if you add a comma before "which" in your first sentence, I think Grammarly will be satisfied. If not, then ignore it.

    Hope that helps. Happy Holidays to you.

    1. eugbug profile image98
      eugbugposted 5 weeks agoin reply to this

      Ok, thanks. Now my head hurts! I think I'll stick with two sentences. Happy Holidays to you too.

      Edit: Grammarly has something to say about "which" and "that" here:

      1. MizBejabbers profile image90
        MizBejabbersposted 5 weeks agoin reply to this

        My meaning exactly, just different semantics. Frankly, I think I like the use of "essential" and "nonessential" better than the English teacher usage of "dependent" and "independent". Come to think of it, I believe that is what we called them in my work environment. Thanks.


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