Today, Geoffrey Leech (University of Lancaster) gave a plenary lecture at the Helsinki Corpus Festival, called “Decline and (?)disappearance: The negative side of recent changes in Standard English”. One of his examples of recent change was the loss of the passive construction in English.
Factors contributing to this develepment, according to Leech, included the current forces of prescriptivism: usage guides, particularly in American English, often pronounce themselves against the use of the passive, and British English would appear to be influenced by this.
Particularly the grammar check of Word for Windows, Leech noted, contributes to a feeling of insecurity in this respect, causing writers to remove passive constructions from their writing.
Does Word for Windows have any other such effects on usage?