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ERIC Number: ED518890
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 159
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-1066-7
ISSN: N/A
Changes in the Use of the Passive Voice over Time: A Historical Look at the "American Journal of Botany" and the Changes in the Use of the Passive Voice from 1914-2008
Dumin, Laura Marie
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Oklahoma State University
Scope and Method of Study. This study looks at 15 articles from the "American Journal of Botany"--5 articles from 1914-1918, 5 articles from 1962-1966, and 5 articles from 2004-2008--to determine if and how the use of the passive voice has changed over time. Findings and Conclusions. The ways in which the passive voice was used, and the sections ("Methods, Results, Discussion") and spaces where it occurred (categories into which the verbs fit, "Citation, Fact, Natural processes, Prior work, Research, Data, Hypothetical, Tools, Textual"), changed in subtle ways over time. The findings show that the section in which the passive voice occurred most frequently changed over time, with the "Methods" in the 1910s having the highest percentage (40.69%) of passives in that 5-year period, the "Results" in the 1960s having the highest percentage (42.34%) of passives in that 5-year period, and the "Discussions" in the 2000s having the highest percentage (37.18%) of passives in that 5-year period. Certain verbs were more likely to occur than others in this corpus, leading to some interesting findings. "Initiated" was an interesting verb to find, as it occurred only in the "natural process" space and only in the 2000s. I think that this is a niche verb, one that will occur only in certain disciplines of scientific writing. The full passives were another part of the data that I examined. Of the 2,283 passive "be" constructions in the corpus, 228 (or 9.99%) contained a "by"-phrase and were counted as full passives. The data suggests that the use of the passive voice has not become better or worse, but has evolved as a tool for helping scientists to discuss what they are doing in their experiments. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A