Active voice to conditional: The Programme is of vital importance, and would assist ...


Senior Member
NZ English
The Programme is of vital importance, and would assist in creating a significant improvement in the quality of life of disabled people of all ages.

The following criticism was made about the above sentence on a site discussing bad writing:

It starts with the active verb and then switches to the conditional 'would'

What is wrong with changing from active to conditional?
And how would I change the sentence to prevent this change?

Thank you a lot
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Like most such criticism, it's nonsense. All the verbs are active voice, for one. (Though of course predicative 'is' has no choice about this.) There's nothing wrong with the so-called change, for another. The sentence is fine as it is.

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The conditional "would assist in creating" suggests that the programme has not been put into effect, whereas "The programme is of vital importance" suggests that it is in operation. There is a further issue: if it has not been adopted and put into effect, can it really be called a "programme"? Wouldn't it be more accurate to call it a "proposal"?

    If this "programme" is in fact running, why say that it "would assist in creating ..."? If the "programme" is in operation, it must be possible to determine whether it does in fact assist in creating .... If it does, then why not say ".. assists in creating ....."?

    If the "programme" has not been adopted, then I would say something along the lines of "This proposal should be adopted, as it would assist ..."
    Last edited:
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