As a guide to good writing, Kellye Crane ranks alongside George Orwell and Stephen King. By which I mean they all make the same mistake.
But before I get onto them, I want to mention William Safire.
In 1979, Safire wrote a list of ‘fumblerules of grammar’ – rules that break themselves. You can get a flavour from the first three:
Remember to never split an infinitive.
A preposition is something never to end a sentence with.
The passive voice should never be used.
And so on.
But the passive-voice fumblerule is real. Stephen King, in his 2001 book On Writing, said: “Adverbs, like the passive voice, seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind.”
“Have been created”? Passive alert! But does this really make King seem timid? I don’t think so. Continue reading