今天meeloun教育小编要跟大家分享的是，William Strunk教授的“小册子”－The Elements of Style中部分内容。作为一名英语教授，Strunk教授清楚地知道“简洁－表达精准”是英文论文写作的艺术。Strunk教授告诫学生:
“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subject only in outline, but that every word tell.”
Elementary Principles of Composition
1、Choose a suitable design and hold to it.
A basic structural design underlies every kind of writing. This calls for a scheme of procedures. In most cases, planning must be a deliberate prelude to writing. The first principle of composition, therefore, is to foresee or determine the shape of what is to come and pursue that shape.
A sonnet is built on a fourteen-line frame, each line containing five feet. Hence, sonneteers know exactly where they are headed, although they may not know how to get there. Most forms of composition are less clearly defined, more flexible, but all have skeletons to which the writer will bring the flesh and the blood. The more clearly the writer perceives the shape, the better are the chances of success.
2、Make the paragraph the unit of composition.
The paragraph is a convenient unit; it serves all forms of literary work. As long as it holds together, a paragraph may be of any length—a single, short sentence or a passage of great duration.
A subject requires division into topics, each of which should be dealt with in a paragraph. The object of treating each topic in a paragraph by itself is, of course, to aid the reader. The beginning of each paragraph is a signal to him that a new step in the development of the subject has been reached.
As a rule, begin each paragraph either with a sentence that suggests the topic or with a sentence that helps the transition. If a paragraph forms part of a larger composition, its relation to what precedes, or its function as a part of the whole, may need to be expressed.
In general, remember that paragraphing calls for a good eye as well as a logical mind. Enormous blocks of print look formidable to readers, who are often reluctant to tackle them. Therefore, breaking long paragraph in two, even if it is not necessary to do so for sense, meaning, or logical development, is often a visual help. But remember, too, that firing off many short paragraph in quick succession can be distracting. Paragraph breaks used only for show read like the writing of commerce or of display advertising. Moderation and a sense of order should be the main consideration in paragraphing.
3、Use the active voice.
The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive:
I shall always remember my first visit to Boston.
This is much better than
My first visit to Boston will always be remembered by me.
The latter sentence is less direct, less bold, and less concise. If the writer tries to make it more concise by omitting”by me,”
My first visit to Boston will always be remembered.
It becomes indefinite: is it the writer or some undisclosed person or the world at large that will always remember this visit?
The habitual use of the active voice, however, makes for forcible writing. This is true not only in narrative principally concerned 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.
但是，使用主动语态，往往可以使文章更生动有力。这不仅适用于侧重情节的记叙文，而是对各类文章都有助益。通过对主动语态的及物动词替代there is(有)或could be heard(能被听到)等不痛不痒的表达，可以使许多平淡乏味的描述或说明变得更加生动、有力。例如：
Note, in the examples above, that when a sentence is made stronger, is usually becomes shorter. Thus, brevity is a by-product of vigor.
4、Put statements in positive form.
Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, noncommittal language. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion.
All two examples show the weakness inherent in the word not. Consciously or unconsciously, the reader is dissatisfied with being told only what is not; the reader wishes to be told what is. Hence, as a rule, it is better to express even a negative in positive form.
Placing negative and positive in opposition makes for a stronger structure.
Statements qualified with unnecessary auxiliaries or conditionals sound irresolute.
If your every sentence admits a doubt, your writing will lack authority. Save the auxiliaries would, should, could, may, might, and can for situations involving real uncertainty.
如果你的每个句子中都有令人生疑的成分，整篇文章就很难令人信服。因此，只在真的需要表达不确定时使用would ,should, could, may, might和can这些助动词。
5、Use definite, specific, concrete language.
Prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, the concrete to the abstract.
If those who have studied the art of writing are in accord on any one point, it is this: the surest way to arouse and hold the reader’s attention is by being specific, definite, and concrete. The greatest writers—Homer, Dante, Shakespeare—are effective largely because they deal in particulars and report the details that matter. Their words call up pictures.
In exposition and in argument, the writer must likewise never lose hold of the concrete; and even when dealing with general principles, the writer must furnish particular instances of their application.
In his Philosophy of Style, Herbert Spencer gives two sentences to illustrate how the vague and general can be turned into the vivid and particular.
6、Quit needless words.
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short, or avoid all details and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
Many expressions in common use violate this principle.
The fact that is an especially debilitating expression. It should be revised out of every sentence in which it occurs.
The fact that（那个……的事实）是个尤其无力的短语，应将其从出现的每句话中删掉。例如：
Who is , which was, and the like are often superfluous.
Who is , which was等类似的表达常常是冗余的。
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