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View Full Version : why do people say "I am in receipt of" something



SandyD
12-10-2005, 07:59 PM
instead of "I have received"?

:confused:

Unassisted
12-10-2005, 08:07 PM
Use of passive voice lends an air of authority?

SandyD
12-10-2005, 08:23 PM
Yet writing instructors discourage use of passive voice. At least in my experience.

Falls City Beer
12-10-2005, 08:32 PM
Yet writing instructors discourage use of passive voice. At least in my experience.

They should, anyway. Nevertheless, as UA points out, some believe rather stubbornly that the passive voice gives language a rhetorical fluorish. It's difficult to say exactly why that is--I think it might come from the language of "officialdom," which is to say, the language of law, bureaucracy.

Pay attention next time you see a police officer talking about nabbing a suspected killer: "The suspect was apprehended by the officer on the scene. It came to our attention when the suspect was under surveillance..." instead of: "The officer apprehended the suspect; we suspected after weeks of surveillance...."

SandyD
12-10-2005, 08:52 PM
Oh sure ... I see it all the time. I work for an insurance company. Seems like so much clutter to me. Noncommital rather than authoritative.

Falls City Beer
12-10-2005, 08:53 PM
Oh sure ... I see it all the time. I work for an insurance company. Seems like so much clutter to me. Noncommital rather than authoritative.

Exactly. Filling up the air with noise.

traderumor
12-10-2005, 11:34 PM
Dear Professor Burns (an accounting professor) finally broke me of using passive voice whenever writing professionally or scholarly. I still struggle with it, thank goodness that even the low end word processing programs have grammar checks. Then there's my boss, who also knew Burns, gets a few snide "Burns would flunk you" from me after reading some of the wordy gobbedlygook he writes.

Redsland
12-11-2005, 02:43 PM
A shocking number of public relations professionals write in passive voice. Rampant hackery.

macro
12-12-2005, 12:05 AM
There are two things that people say that bug me. The first is the expression "could care less", which, of course is meant to convey a sense of indifference. What it really means, though, is that there is a level of uncaring that they have yet to reach, so they're not as indifferent as they could be.

The other is the use of the word "I" in an attempt to sound proper, when the correct word is "me", as in "They went to the game with Joe and I".

Slightly off-topic, but sorta related...Why is everything in the TV news business today "Breaking News"? "Breaking News this" and "Breaking News that"... Even if there's been little change in the story for the past four hours, it's still breaking news.

My other pet peeve with TV news is the expression "NBC News has learned...". I guess that conveys that they have really been doing some serious investigating better than saying "Some guy just called on the phone and told us..."?

vaticanplum
12-12-2005, 09:33 AM
The other is the use of the word "I" in an attempt to sound proper, when the correct word is "me", as in "They went to the game with Joe and I".

If they're trying to sound proper this way, they're grammatically incorrect. This is the object of a preposition and should be "me". If, however, someone says "he's better than I," it does sound stuffy and pretentious, but it's actually correct. The easiest way to figure this out is to take out part of the sentence in the former case ("They went to the game with I" is obviously wrong) or add in the part that's missing in the latter ("he's better than I am").

My pet peeve along these lines is the word "myself". It's a recent craze to use "myself" in everything. "He and myself," "bring it to myself," or my personal favorite, "Myself and John will be at lunch..." All of these are wrong and make me want to kill people.

OldRightHander
12-12-2005, 11:30 AM
Don't get me started on grammar. I will use the passive voice sometimes if I want to poke fun at people who use it seriously. There are a few other ones that really drive me nuts, and I have touched on some of them on here before.

There, their, they're. Get them straight.

Using a plural pronoun when talking about one person in an attempt to avoid being gender specific. The word "their" cannot refer to one person. "An employee should do their job" is not grammatically correct. If you must be PC, at least say his/her, but not their.

Plurals don't get an apostrophe before the s. My wife and I have 2 cars, not 2 car's.

I can be really pedantic when it comes to grammar, so I will stop now. I don't need to get too carried away with this.

traderumor
12-12-2005, 11:36 AM
There, their, they're. Get them straight.

Does anyone else have trouble typing the wrong homonyms on message boards such as this won even though ewe are thinking of the write won? For example, I often type the wrong to, too, or two, even though I mean two use the write won. :help:

Or am I just a dork (as if that is the determining factor ;) ) ???

OldRightHander
12-12-2005, 11:38 AM
Does anyone else have trouble typing the wrong homonyms on message boards such as this one even though you are thinking of the right one? For example, I often type the wrong to, too, or two, even though I mean to use the right one. :help:

Or am I just a dork (as if that is the determining factor ;) ???

I have caught myself doing that at times, but I try to proofread my posts for grammar and spelling before I submit them, and then if I catch something I will go back and edit it. I'm perhaps a bit too picky.

traderumor
12-12-2005, 11:40 AM
I have caught myself doing that at times, but I try to proofread my posts for grammar and spelling before I submit them, and then if I catch something I will go back and edit it. I'm perhaps a bit too picky.

You can see what happens when I proofread :D

Roy Tucker
12-12-2005, 12:09 PM
I wrote in passive voice for 20 years. A writing instructor broke me of the habit. It was a real struggle.

I've turned on passive voice check in Word's grammar check. I still have lapses. It's like being an alcoholic.

Northern Dancer
12-12-2005, 03:57 PM
instead of "I have received"?

:confused:
Or just "I received".

SandyD
12-13-2005, 10:00 PM
In a dated document, "I received" might be misleading. The reader might assume that the object was received on the date of the document, which may or may not be correct.

That may or may not be important, so it may or may not matter.

Falls City Beer
12-13-2005, 10:49 PM
That may or may not be important, so it may or may not matter.

No it is important--it (the present perfect "have received") emphasizes an action that has recently occurred or ended in the near past. To say "I received" leaves the action in an indeterminate time in the past. Plus the present perfect demonstrates that the action has a bearing on the current state of things (presumably the e-mail).

ochre
12-13-2005, 10:59 PM
No it is important--it (the present perfect "have received") emphasizes an action that has recently occurred or ended in the near past. To say "I received" leaves the action in an indeterminate time in the past. Plus the present perfect demonstrates that the action has a bearing on the current state of things (presumably the e-mail).
Yeah, but before all that I had received it.

Falls City Beer
12-13-2005, 11:00 PM
Yeah, but before all that I had received it.

Right.

SunDeck
12-14-2005, 07:11 AM
I have a theory, those who have to write or communicate professionally, but who read very little tend to use the passive voice and all the other "official" sounding language.
Just a hunch.

TeamCasey
12-14-2005, 07:17 AM
Does anyone else have trouble typing the wrong homonyms on message boards such as this won even though ewe are thinking of the write won? For example, I often type the wrong to, too, or two, even though I mean two use the write won. :help:

Or am I just a dork (as if that is the determining factor ;) ) ???

I do it all the time. In my case, I blame it on slow typing. My thoughts are about 3 sentences ahead of my fingers.

I'm appalled when I go back and reread one of my own posts.

I'm an excellent speller. You'd never know that online though. :laugh: I suppose I should use spellcheck, but why sweat the small stuff. :)

TeamCasey
12-14-2005, 07:18 AM
I had to look up passive vs. active voice.

*Guilty*