key to the kingdom

My students are taught
not
to write passively, in passive voice.
Never
invert the hierarchy. (The subject: You
understood.) I
am told to say objects should not come
before subjects.
In other words, it is best not
to remind
your reader of objects first,
of the dog
run over by the dented car,
or the man
ignored by his wife, smoking
a Camel.
For example, a good academic
would
never say, The forests were stripped,
before the men,
smelling of gas, realized their mistake.
Instead,
we should say, The men, smelling of gas,
realized
their mistake after stripping the forest,
or
The men stripped the forest, and
smelling
of gas, finally realized their mistake.
It is all
about the subject and what he chooses.
Objects
wait at the end. Those who are done unto
do not
take the rightful place of those who do.
Don’t forget this,
children; it’s an important English rule
(though,
true, one often broken by poets).

2011

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