Should communicators ever use passive voice?

An SAT question makes clear it’s correct, but Orwell and Strunk & White insist we should state things actively.

Just about everyone in the communications business, it seems, has read “The Elements of Style,” a book that has shaped the writing of generations of wordsmiths.

“Use the active voice,” declare authors William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, because it is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive. The passive has almost come to seem incorrect.

So, it surprised some Sunday when the answer to the Scholastic Aptitude Test’s Question of the Day contained the passive voice.

The College Board’s SAT asked respondents to select the best option for the underlined portion of this sentence:

They determine the color and flavor of honey by the flowers from which the nectar is taken.

a) They determine the color and flavor of honey by the … [in other words, the original phrasing].

b) Honey’s color and flavor is determined by which…

c) Honey’s color and flavor determined by those…

d) The color of honey, and its flavor, determined by the …

e) The color and flavor of honey are determined by the…

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