Does anyone know if there is a rule to detect the use of passive voice in the English language? Has anyone ever tried this? Passive voice is a common mistake, and would be a good rule to have. Thanks.
There’s no such rule yet. The English rules currently don’t have a maintainer and my time to work on English support is very limited. There’s a description on how to write rules at http://www.languagetool.org/development/ and we’re happy about contributions. Feel free to give it a try and ask questions here.
Well, the rule might be included quite easily but actually this is not an error at all but a wrong stylistic advice based on crappy ‘Elements of Style’. According to ‘Elements…’, Jane Austin, Charles Dickens etc. did not know anything about English and committed huge mistakes. But there could be a special rule for simplified English.
If the passive rule is added (and I think it should), it should be optional and turned off by default.
Personally, I don’t like stylistic rules. It increases the number of false positives. Passive voice is OK, we just should not abuse it. If LanguageTool starts giving too many false positives or nit-picky stylistic warnings, users will just start ignoring errors and give up with LanguageTool. I’ve tried LanguageTool in Italian, and it annoyingly highlighted most of the sentences with stylistic rules. It’s best to give fewer errors and focus on real errors. I think that there are plenty of real mistakes which can be detected in English or in other languages. For example, French speakers often make those mistakes because of differences in French and English (none of them detected at the moment by LanguageTool):
- error #1: (capitalization) He speaks good english. -> He speaks good English. I will start on monday in january. -> I will start on Monday in January.
- error #2: I look forward to meet you. -> I look forward to meeting you.
- error #3: I will learn you how to swim. -> I will teach you how to swim.
- error #4: I live in Paris since 1990. -> I’ve lived in Paris since 1990.
- error #5: I will call you when I will know about it. -> I will call you when I know about it.
On Sonntag, 20. Mai 2012, you wrote:
Personally, I don’t like stylistic rules. It increases the number of
I absolutely agree…
- error #1: (capitalization) He speaks good english. -> He speaks good
English. I will start on monday in january. -> I will start on Monday
This is a spell checking issue by the way, as “Monday” and “English” should
always be uppercase.
About Italian: I suggest you discuss this on the mailing list, asking to
turn off those rules by default.
this rule is not in the rule set jet, but I implemented this in my rule set and tested this in LTool as stand-alone application. Do you mean the passive voice formation error or passive voice usage in common (Like error message: Try to avoid passive voice!)?
I meant the passive voice usage in common writing (error message: Try to
avoid passive voice!). I know that this is a stylistic preference, but I
had a lot of teachers in school (high school and university) that frowned
upon the passive voice construction for the type of writing that I was
doing. I felt that if a rule like this was implemented, it may help a lot
of people who are trying to avoid the passive voice when writing.
I started work on an passive voice rule as well, but I did not get very far
as things in my personal life have been very hectic lately.
On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 12:47 AM, Inna N. [via LanguageTool User Forum] <
this rule is not in the rule set jet, but I implemented this in my rule
set and tested this in LTool as stand-alone application. Do you mean the
passive voice formation error or passive voice usage in common (Like error
message: Try to avoid passive voice!)?
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