Impersonal expressions

A new debate tonight. Here is a remark from Politico on the last one that almost perfectly captures the post-truth media environment.

It is clear that Biden's substantive high points — and there were several places where he took clear command of the debate on issues ranging from entitlements to taxes — will be partly shadowed by his nonstop succession of incredulous smiles, sneers, taunts and guffaws that were apparently intended to show self-confidence and fighting spirit but struck many viewers as undignified and rude.

"will be partly overshadowed" is needlessly impersonal.  The author might better have written: "Biden won the debate on substance, but I'm annoyed by his facial expressions, so I am going to deduct points from him.  But I'm going to make this a third person passive construction (sorry, I don't know the technical name), so it doesn't look like me who's doing it."

via Charles Pierce


2 thoughts on “Impersonal expressions”

  1. I would have written, "In my opinion Biden won the debate; however, voters may find his body language off putting."
    That's what the author was trying to say.

  2. Hi Ben, Thanks for your input. Some may find the reference to what “voters may find” not much of an improvement at all. One can still insert anything there.

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