In English composition classes, the teacher always stresses certain topics like not using passive voice, having correct comma usage, and not using vague pronouns like “it” or “thing”. Does anybody have experience with what kind of similar widespread writing problems in Japanese academic writing there are? I’ve heard that passive voice is completely normal in Japanese, so it made me curious.
I’m sure those kinds of things exist, but the passive voice thing in English is stupid. If you look at style guides telling you not to use it, you can often find them using it in the damn section explaining why not to use it. It’s a tool that allows you to shift the focus of a sentence forward or backward to make things flow better. It has a place. /rant
The problem with passive voice isn’t passive voice–it’s that people learn the rule and take it to be some dogmatic truth of writing. When I was in high school and undergrad, I was advised several times to never include it in a formal essay.
There are definitely places where passive voice is abused though (as this example underscores):
Other prescriptive rules of formal English are even dumber–like don’t split an infinitive. Don’t start a sentence with ‘but’ or ‘and’. I have no idea though about similar things in Japanese though.
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