MET workshop: grammar pathway minisession

On voice: activating the passivists, passifying the activists

Facilitator: Irwin Temkin

Have you met people with opinions on passive voice? While some of us may have been taught that the passive voice is more “objective” and thus more suited to impersonal expository prose, others have been advised to systematically prefer the active voice. George Orwell and the European Commission, for example, exhort us to avoid the passive altogether, and MS Word’s grammar checker consistently flags our use of it. But do we really need to passively accept such dogmatic views? Can we develop clear criteria for choosing one voice or the other when we translate or write our own texts? In this session we will try to do just that.

About the facilitator: Irwin Temkin has been an EFL/ESL teacher and teacher trainer for over 30 years and relatively recently has branched out into translating and authors’ editing. His interest in grammar came initially through his study of other languages; this, perhaps, has been responsible for his somewhat “relativist” attitude at odds with the “absolutist” dictates of some prescriptive grammarians, professional or otherwise.

What participants have said about this workshop: 
“Complex issues tackled in a light-hearted way. Engaging speaker.”