It is not so amazing to me that Geoffrey Pullum, who wrote his own grammar book, seeks to malign the work of Strunk and White, touted as the pocket bible for grammarians and writers.
He attacks S&W's use of "Use the Active voice" and suggests that they are clueless about the active and passive voice, by citing several sentences they used as examples under the heading active voice.
If one does not read S&W closely, one might construe, as Geoffrey Pullum does, that S&W were listing four examples of passive voice, which should be changed to active voice.
That is not the case. After using examples, which convey the same meaning but one uses the active voice; the other, passive, S&W explain why they should be used in their particular settings. There are occasions when one is preferred over the other.
Strunk and White often begin with one point and move on or expand to include more points. They do that here.
They shift to how to use the active voice most effectively.
"The habitual use of the active voice makes for forceable writing. This is true not only in narrative concerned principally with action but in writing of any kind. Many a tame sentence of description or exposition can be made lively and emphatic by substituting a transitive in the active voice for some such perfunctory expression as there is or could be heard.
S&W show that a more forceable active voice can be made when using transitive verbs in the active voice. Transitive verbs are verbs, which take an object as opposed to intransitive verbs which don't have an object.
The four examples which Pullum blasts as showing S&W as clueless about the active voice, Pullum says are examples of passive voice when, in fact, S&W are speaking of forceable active voice, not a passive-active voice comparison. S&W are giving examples of 'perfunctory expressions' which could gain 'force and vigor' by using the transitive verb in the active voice. This is no longer a discussion of passive/active voice, but mundane versus virule.
Pullum states: "There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground" has no sign of the passive in it anywhere. [S&W didn't say it had; Pullum assumed it and then complains about it.]
"It was not long before she was very sorry that she had said what she had" also contains nothing that is even reminiscent of the passive construction. Yes, it is true. It is not passive. S&W don’t claim it is. Pullum claims they said it is.
"The reason that he left college was that his health became impaired" is presumably fingered as passive because of "impaired," but that's a mistake. It's an adjective here. "Become" doesn't allow a following passive clause. (Notice, for example, that "A new edition became issued by the publishers" is not grammatical.)" Pullum alludes to something that is not there and then, blasts it as wrong. This is building a straw man in order to break it down.
Contrary to what G. Pullum is putting into S&W's mouth, S&W close the subject of active voice by saying, "Note in the examples above when a sentence is made stronger, it usually becomes shorter. Thus brevity is a by-product of vigor." Again, S&W summarize their thought in that their examples were dealing with strength of words, not passive/active comparisons.