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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1. Rationale As the business environment grows in its complexity, the importance of skillful communication becomes essential in the pursuit of institutional goals. Without communicating ideas and thoughts it would be impossible to identify common objectives and purposes necessary for successful operations. Without communication the chances for a successful outcome of any business endeavor are significantly reduced. Communication in business is carried out via oral and written documents. These written documents, or business correspondence, cover a wide range of genres including business letters, business contracts, memos, and reports. Given the importance of communication, it should come as no surprise that the primary purpose of a business report is to convey factual information regardless of which kind of report it is. Whatever the reason and whatever form they may take, reports have become an integrate part of our business society. The report plays the great role in the planning and organization of the business house. But it is not the planning and organization of the business alone which come under the review of a report; it is the whole of business which benefits by it. Business reports are required in disciplines such as accounting, finance, management, marketing and commerce. Writing business reports is one of fundamental business writing skills. Business reports here are defined as “ documents that present information on a specific topic for specific purpose” ( Boone, 1986: 308). One common kind of business is progress reports which are written to inform the reader what work has been done and what work remains to be done. A progress report provides the reader with detailed information regarding ups and downs of business through producing a record of a certain period of time such as a month, a quarter, or a year. Progress reports represent not only the writer's work but the writer's organizational and communication skills. To acquire these skills, report writers should gain deep insights into the discourse of progress reports. Specifically, they must have a good understanding of the common structure and linguistic features pertaining to a progress report. Therefore, a thorough study of the discourse of English business progress reports obviously promises a helpful and interesting research. It not only helps 2 businessmen in their work but also students and teachers in the course of learning and teaching business reports. 1.2. Aims of the study This study aims at analyzing English business progress reports. The specific aims of the research are as follows: • To investigate registers of the discourse of business progress reports in terms of parameters of registers, use of grammar, and use of vocabulary. • To examine the factors creating coherence of the discourse of business progress reports that is relevance and discourse structure. • To provide some suggestions for writing better business progress reports. 1.3. Scope of the study Due to the scope of a minor M.A. thesis, 10 English business progress reports are selected for the investigation. The English language used in these documents is authentic and is named in the Sources of data. Within the frame of a minor M.A. thesis, the analysis is confined to registers and factors creating coherence in English business progress reports at initial steps only. The limitations of this work would be good starting points for further studies on the issue. 1.4. Significance of the study The study adopts an integrated approach to investigate the discourse of business progress reports. It is an attempt to find out registers, and coherence employed in this kind of official documents. It makes a contribution to the study of business documents in general, and that of business reports in particular. It not only helps businessmen in their work but also students and teachers in the course of learning and teaching business reports. 1.5. Research methods used in the study To achieve the aims mentioned above, the study adopted an integrated approach to discourse analysis. Naturally, this is a functional approach regarding discourse as a process of interactive communication among members of the society (Nguyen Hoa, 2003). This approach looks into the concerned discourse in terms of registers and coherence. Firstly, all 3 the 10 reports collected were analyzed in terms of registers. Then, two variables of coherence including relevance and discourse structure were examined. To do this, all the reports were examined to find out all the relevant factors. And finally, discourse structure was identified. 1.6. Organization of the thesis: The thesis is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 is the Introduction which presents the rationale for conducting the study, the scope of the study, its significance, aims as well as research methods. Chapter 2 provides a theoretical framework for the study, including the notion of discourse, registers, coherence, and a brief description of English business progress reports. Chapter 3 reports the methodology used in the research including the subjects of the study, data collection methods, and data analysis procedure. Chapter 4 presents and discusses the results of discourse analysis in terms of registers and relevance. Chapter 5 is the last part of the study, “Conclusion”, that summarizes what is addressed in the study, points out the limitations, provides some suggestions for writing business progress reports, and for further study. 4 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter aims at establishing the framework of investigation. The first section presents briefly the notion of discourse and text, and distinguishes spoken and written discourse. In the next section, the concept and parameters of registers are reviewed. What comes after that is Coherence which involves the two constituting factors: relevance and discourse structure. The last section provides a general description of English progress reports focusing on definition and properties. 2.1. Discourse 2.1.1. Discourse and text For some linguists, the two terms “discourse” and “text” are sometimes be used interchangeably. According to Crystal (1992), discourse is seen as “a continuous stretch of (especially spoken) language rather than a sentence, often continuing a coherent unit, such as a sermon, argument, joke or narrative” and text is defined as “a piece of naturally occurring spoken, written or signed language identified for purposes of analysis. It is often a language unit with a definable communicative function, such as a conversation, a poster.” However, it is important to make clear the difference between the two terms “discourse” and “text”. Basically, there are two approaches to text (Nguyen, H, 1998: 10). The first approach regards text as: “the verbal record of a communicative act” (Brown and Yule, 1983:6). Sharing this view Widdowson, 1984: 100 considers text as the linguistic product of a communicative process. In the second approach, text is seen as a semantic or communicative category. Following this approach are Halliday and Hasan , and De Beaugrande and Dressler. Text is viewed by Halliday and hasan, 1976 as a “semantic unit” characterized by cohesion or a framework that is logical and general. Meanwhile, De Beaugrande and Dressler (1981:3) defines text as follows: communicative occurrence which posses seven constitutive conditions of textual communication, viz., cohesion, coherence, intentionality, acceptability, informativity, situationality and intertextuality. The difference and the interrelationships between the two terms is captured by Widdowson (1984: 100) by the following: 5 “Discourse is a communicative process by means of interaction. Its situational outcome is a change in a state of affairs: information is conveyed, intentions made clear, its linguistic product is text.” From the discussion of discourse and text above, in this thesis, I shall take the view that is clearly stated by Brown and Yule (1983: 1) “The analysis of discourse is, necessarily, the analysis of language in use.” As such, discourse is the communicative process while text is the verbal or physical record of this process, and discourse analysis is concerned with the functional analysis of language in use. 2.1.2. Spoken and written discourse According to Brown and Yule (1983), spoken language and written language are different in terms of their various functions. The first is used for the establishment and maintenance of human relationships (interactional use) and the latter for the working out and transferring of information (transactional use). Halliday (1985a) stated that “speaking does not show clearly sentence and paragraph boundaries or signal the move into direct quotation while writing leaves out the prosodic and paralinguistic contributions”. Cook (1989: 50) also insisted: “Spoken discourse is often considered to be less planned, more open to intervention by the receiver. There are some kinds of spoken discourse, however, like lessons, lectures, interviews and trials, which have significant features in common with typical written discourse etc. Conversely, there are times when readers do have rights to affect written discourse. Writers respond to the marker”. To sum up, spoken and written, despite some of their minor similarities, represent different modes for expressing linguistic meaning. 2.2. Registers 2.2.1. The concept of registers Register, or context of situation as it is formally termed, "is the set of meanings, the configuration of semantic patterns that are typically drawn upon under the specific conditions, along with the words and structures that are used in the realization of these meanings" (Halliday, 1978:23). They also point out that “the linguistic features which are typically associated with a configuration of situational features- with particular values of the field, mode and tenor- constitute a Register”. According to Celce- Mercia & Olshtain, 2000, discourse registers usually reflect the level of formality or informality of an instance 6 of a discourse or its degree of technical specificity versus general usage. Actually, register reflects degree of formality of the particular discourse by using a characteristic set of lexical and grammatical features that are compatible with the particular register. To put it another way, register can be seen as speech variety used by a particular group of people, usually sharing the same occupation or the same interests. The term "register" first came into general currency in the 1960s (Leckie-Tarry, 1993:28). Halliday et al. (1964:77) describe register as "a variety according to use, in the sense that each speaker has a range of varieties and chooses between them at different times." This use-related framework for the description of language variation (as contrasted with the user-related varieties called dialects) (Hatim and Mason, 1990:39) aims to "uncover the general principles which govern [the variation in situation types], so that we can begin to understand what situational factors determine what linguistic features" (Halliday, 1978:32). For Halliday, register is "the clustering of semantic features according to situation type", and "can be defined as a configuration of semantic resources that the member of a culture typically associates with a situation type" (Halliday, 1978:111). Seen this way, "the notion of register is at once very simple and very powerful" and "provides a means of investigating the linguistic foundations of everyday social interaction from an angle that is complementary to the ethnomethodological one" (ibid.:31, 62). The theory of register thus derived "attempts to uncover the general principles which govern" how "the language we speak or write varies according to the type of situation" (ibid.:32). Galperin (1981: 33) suggests five functional styles which appear mainly in the literary written language: the belle- letters, the publicity literature, the newspaper (press), the scientific prose, and the official document. 2.2.2. The parameters of registers Halliday (1978:64) finds the concept of register "a useful abstraction linking variations of language to variations of social context" and suggests "that there are three aspects in any situation that have linguistic consequences: field, mode, and tenor" (Eggins, 1994:52). According to him, field refers to "what is happening, to the nature of the social action that is taking place," mode concerns "what it is that the participants [of a transaction] are expecting language to do for them in that situation," and tenor has to do with who are taking part in the transaction as well as the "nature of the participants, their status and roles 7 (Hasan and Halliday, 1985:12). These three register variables, or parameters, delineate the relationships between language function and language form. In other words, a register is constituted by "the linguistic features which are typically associated with a configuration of situational features—with particular values of the field, mode and tenor" (Halliday, 1976:22). 2.2.2.1. Field According to Halliday (1978) “field is the total event, which the text is functioning, together with the purposive activity of the speaker or the writer, it thus includes the subject matter as one element in it”. It is clear that field is concerned with the purpose and subject matter of the communication. 2.2.2.2. Tenor The tenor of a text, which concerns the relationship between the addresser and the addressee, can "be analyzed in terms of basic distinctions such as polite-colloquialintimate, on a scale of categories which range from formal to informal" (Hatim and Mason, 1990:50). Tenor is divided into personal tenor and functional tenor. Personal tenor covers the degree of formality, and technicality of linguistic exchanges. It is concerned with the social roles of participants together with their status relationship and personalities such as the characteristics of the social relationships of participants; formality or informality; social identity; age; sex; power relations. Meanwhile, functional tenor is concerned with determining the social function or role of utterance, identifying the purpose for which the language is being used. 2.2.2.3. Mode Halliday and Hasan (1976) defines mode as “ the function of the text in the event, including therefore both the channel taken by the language spoken or written, extempore or prepared and its genre, or rhetorical mode, as narrative, didatic, pursuasive, “ phatic communication” and so on”. In other words, mode is concerned with the means of transmission. The two basic modes are spoken (monologue, conversation) or written (newspapers, reference books and so on). As such, the mode of an interaction which 8 manifests the nature of the language code being used can be distinguished in terms of, among other things, spoken and written. On the micro scale, mode refers to the use of grammar involving the use of modality, active and passive voices, kinds of sentences, etc and vocabulary innvolving archaic words/ phrases and technical terms. Use of grammar * Modality: A modal form is a provision of syntax that indicates the predication of an action, attitude, condition, or state other than that of a simple declaration of fact. The modality of a grammatical form is the quality or state in question. These include the assertion or denial of any degree or manner of affect, belief, certainty, desire, obligation, possibility, or probability on the part of the utterer. Modal verbs, like “can”, “could”, “will”, “would”, “should”, and “ought to”, express distinctions of mood, such as that between possibility and actuality. * Active and Passive voices: English verbs have two voices: active voice and passive voice. In grammar, the voice of a verb describes the relationship between the action (or state) that the verb expresses and the participants identified by its arguments (subject, object, etc.). In active voice sentences, the agent or doer of the action is the subject. The receiver takes the action of the verb. Active sentences follow the Agent- Verb- Receiver format. In sentences written in active voice, the subject performs the action expressed in the verb; the subject acts. In active voice, the person acting is clear: "The manager wrote the report yesterday". The person acting is the manager. In sentences written in passive voice, the subject receives the action expressed in the verb; the subject is acted upon. The agent performing the action may appear in a "by the . . ." phrase or may be omitted. In passive voice, the writer does not specify who is acting: "The report was written yesterday". It could have been written by the secretary, George Bush, or the manager- we don't know. 9 The sentence is still in passive voice if the writer specifies the actor later in the sentence: "The report was written yesterday by the manager". Sometimes the use of passive voice can create awkward sentences, as in the last example above. While active voice helps to create clear and direct sentences, sometimes writers find that using an indirect expression is rhetorically effective in a given situation, so they choose passive voice. Most handbooks recommend using active voice, which they describe as more natural, direct, lively, and succinct. * Kinds of sentences: There are three basic kinds of sentence structure: simple, compound, and complex. The simple sentence forms the building block for the other two. A simple sentence has two requirements. It must have a subject and a verb, and it must express a complete thought. A compound sentence is formed when two simple sentences are joined together with a conjunction. The most common conjunctions are and, but, and or. We use and to show addition, but to show contrast, and or to suggest a choice. The following example is a "traditional compound sentence": The plane was an hour late leaving, and many of the passengers appeared upset. Of the three types of sentence structures, the complex sentence is the most sophisticated. It allows you to use clauses to change the ordinary pattern of "subject-verb-predicate." A complex sentence contains a clause, which is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb but does not express a complete thought. There are three kinds of clauses: adverb, adjective, and noun. Of the three types of clauses, the business writer uses adverb clauses the most. Adverb clauses answer questions such as "when, where, how, why, and under what condition" something is done. Two examples of adverb clauses are as follows: Since I joined this company…and Because I was promoted…Both word groups have a subject and a verb, but neither expresses a complete thought. Use of vocabulary: * Archaic words and phrases Archaic words/ phrases are the ones no longer in dictionary use, though retained for special purposes. This type of words often appears in the works of formal style such as legal and business documents. Some examples are in accordance with, pursuant to, hereby..... * Technical words: 10 Technical words terms define typical words or phrases on specific fields. These terms build the technicality- a particular feature of a type of documents. For example, in legal documents, these technical terms serve as linguistic means contributing to the clarity and airtightness of legal documents. In business documents, these technical terms are business terms that are used in the documents. 2.3. Coherence Coherence is an essential matter in the course of discourse analysis. According to Nguyen Thien Giap (2000: 192) “It is coherence that makes a product of language a discourse or a text”. Coherence is really a combination of many variables, two of which are relevance and discourse structure. 2.3.1. Relevance The notion “relevance” is a concerning aspect in the theory of discourse analysis. According to Brown & Yule (1983), relevance is an important factor helping to achieve discourse coherence. Relevance is realized by relevant factors, and these factors often exist together to form relevant structure which in turns makes coherence for discourse. Brown and Yule (1983: 84) puts it: A discourse participant is speaking topically when he makes his contribution fit closely to the most recent elements incorporated in the topic framework. 2.3.2. Discourse structure There have been a number of studies on discourse structuring. In this study, the author presents Mann and Thompson’s (1987). Their Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) is a theory of text organization which provides a framework developed to account for text structure above the clause level, by hierarchically positing relations between spans of text. The theory is based on the understanding that a text is not merely a string of clauses, but consists instead of hierarchically organized groups of clauses that stand in various relations to one another. These rhetorical relations can be described functionally in terms of the purposes of the writer and the writer's assumptions about the reader. They hold between two adjacent parts of a text, where, typically, one part is nuclear and one a satellite. In this respect, they resemble Grosz and Sidner's relations. . As well as representing the relationship between two text spans, rhetorical relations also convey information about 11 which span is more central to the writer's purposes. The nucleus is the more central span, and the satellite is the less central one. The central constructs in RST are rhetorical relations. Text coherence is attributed principally to the presence of these relations; RST provides a set of around 23 rhetorical relations. The numbers vary slightly from paper to paper, but the central core of relations as presented in Mann and Thompson are given in Table 1. Table 1: Mann and Thompson's Relations elaboration circumstance solutionhood Volitional cause subject Cause cluster Volitional result condition Non- volitional cause otherwise Non- volitional result interpretation purpose evaluation restatement summary motivation sequence entithesis contrast background presentational enablement evidence justify concession 12 An analysis of a text consists in identifying the relations holding between successively larger parts of the text, yielding a natural hierarchical description of the rhetorical organization of the text. RST characteristically provides comprehensive analyses rather than selective commentary. Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) (M&T; Mann & Thompson 1986) is an analytic framework designed to account for text structure in running text above the clause level. It takes clauses as its atoms, and relates them hierarchically, using a number of predefined rhetorical relations. These relations are defined functionally, in terms of what their intended effect on the reader is. Examples of such relations are JUSTIFY, ELABORATION, PURPOSE, ANTITHESIS, and CONDITION. The full definition of these relations consists of constraints on the text spans related (most relations are asymmetrical, with a nucleus span differentiated from satellite spans); constraints on the combined span; and a description of the relation’s expected effect. For example, the relation JUSTIFY, between a nucleus span N and a satellite span S, is described as having the effect “R[eader]’s readiness to accept W[riter]’s right to present N is increased” (M&T 1987:11). In other words, if a JUSTIFY relation is posited, then the span S is understood to provide justification for the writer’s claim in N. The following example illustrates how this definition is applied: 1. The next music day is scheduled for July 21 (Saturday), noon–midnight. 2. I’ll post more details later, 3. but this is a good time to reserve the place on your calendar. In this text, units 2–3 are in a JUSTIFY relation with unit 1. They tell readers why the writer believes he has the right to say unit 1 without giving ‘more details’, in particular without giving the location of the music day event (M&T 1987:10). Its popularity is perhaps best attributed to a combination of features: the emphasis on a functional conception of relations; the carefully presented set of relation definitions; the simply stated structural theory. It is not easy to use the order of the clauses to locate S and N. Here are, however, some preferred ordered featuring new information in final positions , such as: 13 Satellite before Nucleus Nucleus before Satellite Antithesis Elaboration Background Enablement Concessive Evidence Conditional Purpose Justify Restatement Solutionhood 2.4. General descriptions of English business progress reports 2.4.1. Definition Progress reports is a very common type among many other types of reports which belong to subcategory of business documents and can be referred to as a common genre. A progress report is written to inform a supervisor, associate, or customer about progress that has been made on a project over a certain period of time. Business reports is defined by Boone (1986: 308) as documents that present information on a specific topic for specific purposes. Business progress reports consist of progress reports in general business, business plan, business proposal, marketing plan, strategic plan, business analysis, project report, project analysis, project proposal, project review, financial plan, financial analysis, and others. Business progress report is therefore understood as a report on business activities over a certain period of time. Monthly progress reports are reports of business activities over a month. In such reports, any or all of the following are explained: • How much of the work is complete • What part of the work is currently in progress • What work remains to be done • What problems or unexpected things, if any, have arisen • How the project is going in general 14 2.4.2. Properties of English progress reports * Functions of progress reports Progress reports have several important functions • Reassure recipients that you are making progress, that the business activity is going smoothly, and that it will be complete by the expected date. • Provide their recipients with a brief look at some of the findings or some of the work of the activity. • Give their recipients a chance to evaluate your work on the business activity and to request changes. • Give you a chance to discuss problems in the activity and thus to forewarn recipients. • Force you to establish a work schedule so that you'll complete the activity on time. * Content of progress reports Most progress reports have the following similarities in content 1. Background on the business activity itself: In many instances, the recipient is responsible for several business activities. Therefore, the recipient expects to be oriented as to what your business activity is, what its objectives are, and what the status of the business activity was at the time of the last reporting. 2. Discussion of achievements since last reporting: This section follows the progress of the tasks presented in the proposal's schedule. 3. Discussion of problems that have arisen. Progress reports are not necessarily for the benefit of only the recipient. Often, you the writer benefit from the reporting because you can share or warn the recipient about problems that have arisen. In some situations, the recipient might be able to direct you toward possible solutions. In other situations, you might negotiate a revision of the original objectives, as presented in the proposal. 4. Discussion of work that lies ahead: In this section, you discuss your plan for meeting the objectives of the business activity. 15 5. Assessment of whether you will meet the objectives in the proposed schedule and budget. In many situations, this section is the bottom line for the recipient. In some situations, such as the construction of a highway, failure to meet the objectives in the proposed schedule and budget can result in the engineers having to forfeit the contract. 16 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY 3.1. The subjects of the study The subjects of the study are business progress reports from different companies with reporting time from 2006 to 2007. 3.2. Data collection methods The study aims at providing an overall analysis of the discourse of English business progress reports. To obtain reliable results, it is presumed that the research should be based on a fair amount of description, presenting business progress reports as they as. In this study, since there has not been any source indicating the number of reports that is sufficient enough for analysis, 10 reports with reporting time from 2006 to 2007 were selected for analysis by the author. It is hoped that this number would be sufficient data. These 10 reports were collected from the Internet Sources and different companies, the addresses of which were provided in the list of Source of Data at the end of the thesis. 3.3. Data analysis procedures The study adopted an integrated approach in the hope of providing a thorough analysis of the discourse of English business progress reports. As other approaches of discourse analysis, the focus of the study was functional language in the relationship with societyculture. Unlike other approaches, the integrated approach helped provide an overall analysis basing on coherence. Naturally, this is a functional approach regarding discourse as a process of interactive communication among members of the society (Nguyen Hoa, 2003). This approach looks into the concerned discourse in terms of registers and coherence. Firstly, all the 10 reports collected were analyzed in terms of registers. including the three parameters of, use of grammar, and use of vocabulary. To do this each report was analyzed thoroughly, sentences in each report were numbered to examine features belonging to grammar such as length of sentences, kinds of sentences, etc and vocabulary such as the use of archaic words and phrases and technical words. Coherence is really a combination of many variables. However, in this study, not all the variables were considered. Two essential variables of coherence including relevance and discourse 17 structure were examined. All the reports were examined to find out all the relevant factors. And finally, discourse structure was identified. 18 CHAPTER 4 THE ANALYSIS OF ENGLISH BUSINESS PROGRESS REPORTS This chapter aims at presenting the results of analyzing 10 English business progress reports in an integrated approach. Firstly, coherence attained by different relevant factors is explored. Next, on the basis of coherence and the organization of relevant factors, the discourse structure of business progress reports is identified including: the beginning, the body, and the ending. 4.1. Registers 4.1.1.Field These reports are written with the aim to inform a supervisor, associate, or customer (or interested partners) about progress that has been made on a project over a certain period of time. Specifically, they provide background on the business activity, discuss problems encountered during reporting time and propose some future activities. With this brief look, the recipients have a chance to evaluate the work on the business activity and to request changes so that the business activity will be completed on time. 4.1.2. Tenor As mentioned in Chapter 2, tenor is divided into personal and functional tenor. All these business progress reports are in the written form. Business progress reports belong to a subcategory of business documents. Obviously, the language used in the progress reports is the language of business documents. Furthermore, progress reports are written to keep interested parties informed about what has been done on a business activity and about what remains to be done. They represent not only the writer's work but the writer's organizational and communication skills. Often the reader is the writer's supervisor. As a result, in terms of personal tenor, the tone employed in business progress reports is formal, serious and respectful. In terms of functional tenor, business progress reports are written to provide recipients with a brief look at the progress of the business activity including findings and also encountered problems. Thus, they can reassure recipients that the business activity is going smoothly and that it will be complete by the expected date. 19 4.1.3. Mode As discussed above, the language used in business progress reports is formal and respectful which is attained through the appropriate use of grammar and vocabulary. 4.1.3.1. Use of grammar Modality It is noteworthy that modality in English is a complicated concept. The analysis of sentences in the data shows a surprising result that only modal “will” is used in progress reports referring to activities in future. The explanation for this may lie in the fact that the primary of a business in general and of a progress report in particular is to provide the reader with factual information. Furthermore, a progress report states clearly what work has been done and what work has not been done. The modal is mostly used in the “Future activities” section. Below are some representative examples of the modals that occurred in the data. COG staff will continue to work with their software contractor to update GRH software as needed The County will install a new computer for rideshare and the rideshare staff agreed to wait until the new computer is installed. GM and CRA will continue discussions and arrange to meet with IDNR to resolve issues. Additional information in regards to the stream restoration will be submitted in September. Use of active/ passive voices 27% Active Passive 73% Chart 1: The frequency of occurrences of active and passive voices in English business progress report. 20 From the chart above, it can be seen that active sentences are used more frequent than passive ones. The use of active voice helps convey the meanings of the sentences clearly. Active voice is more direct and concise than passive voice. Active voice sounds more responsible: "Duknyk and staff presented the mass marketing radio spots and TV Storyboard at the September 17thTPB Work session". Passive voice is, however, still appropriate for some sentences. It is most effective for minimizing the role of the person performing an action, or for leaving out the actor altogether, when the action, and not the individual’s identity, is the crucial point. E.g: A total of 464 new applicants were registered and 377 commuters were re-registered. However, business writers should use the passive voice very sparingly. It may make the writing unclear by keeping the identity of the actor secret. Passive voice is also a poor choice for sentences because it often sounds awkward and evasive. This is particularly true in the case of progress reports. Readers may interpret passive voice as an attempt to avoid admitting responsibility, as in the following example: "A series of radio advertisements and direct mail as well as diorama’s for metro were developed for review." For business communication, the active voice is usually the better choice, and should dominate. After all, business communication is mostly about people doing things with each other, building trust, and being efficient.. However, too many active voice sentences may lead to lack of variety. And in this case, passive voice can be used to add variety. Sentence order The sentence order, which is determined by which part of sentence coming first, is related to thought patterns and affects the making of text. It was found in the data upon which this study is based that most of sentences in the progress reports begin with subjects accounting for 85%. This conforms to the fact that the most common sentence patterns in English have the subject first, followed by the verb. For example: The sampling program is being carried out under the supervision of Dr. Tom Nowicki of Mineral Services Canada, a Qualified Person in terms of NI43-101.
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