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阅读、写作是中国留学生在美国读书最大的挑战,不论是在中学教育、还是在大学教育。在美国读高中的学生,一门人文课,一年至少要读25本书,写30多篇论文。美国大学的阅读写作量是高中阶段得5-8倍。在国内接受国际学校教育的中国孩子,写作也是难点和痛点。

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.”

这六十三字,字字珠玑,在内容和形式上都最透彻、最形象地说明了何谓“精炼”。

 

Elementary Principles of Composition
写作的基本原则

1、Choose a suitable design and hold to it.
选择恰当的布局结构,并始终如一

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.

任何一种文章都有其各自的基本结构。动笔之前需进行谋篇布局。在大多数的情况下,周密的构思是写作前的必要步骤。因此,写作的第一步就是设想或确定文章成品的结构,然后努力地将其实现。

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.

十四行诗遵从十四个诗行的结构,每行有五个音步。因此,十四行诗的作者对其作品应有的形貌了然于胸,即使他们有时不知道具体应该如何实现。而大多数的文章并没有如此明确的结构要求,更加灵活,但都有各自的骨架,等待作者为其增添血肉。作者心中的框架越清晰,写作成功的希望就越大。

2、Make the paragraph the unit of composition.
将段落作为文章的基本单元

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.

将段落作为基本单元是十分便利的,适用于所有文学作品。只要语意连贯,段落长短不限,既可以是短小精悍的单句,也可以是洋洋洒洒的长段。

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.

一个主题之下都会有几个分论题,每个分论题各以一段文字进行论述。这是为了便于读者理解,每一个段落的开始都是提示读者:论述将向下一个阶段推进。

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.

一般来说,段落的起始句要么能点明段落主题,要么能起到过渡作用。作为整个篇章的一部分,一个段落与前文的关系,以及它在整篇文章中的作用都需要阐释清楚。

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.

总的来说,合理的分段要兼顾视觉效果和行文逻辑。过长的段落会令读者望而生畏,因此,将过长的段落一截为二,即使没有意义和逻辑发展上的必要,也能在视觉上增强文章的可读性。但也应记住,一连多个短小的段落也可能会分散读者的注意力,为了分段而分段会使文章读来就像流水账或广告。因此,分段时,适度原则和条理性是需要重点把握的。

3、Use the active voice.
使用主动语态

The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive:

主动语态通常比被动语态更直接、有力:

I shall always remember my first visit to Boston.

This is much better than

这远远好过:
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,”

后一句没有前一句直接、有力、简洁。如果作者为了使句子更简洁省去by me,即:

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?

便会造成语意不明:到底这次经历会被谁铭记?是作者,未被指出的其他人,还是全世界?

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.

注意,在以上例句中,当句子被改得更有力时,通常也会变得短小精悍。换言之,简洁是生动有力的副产品。

4、Put statements in positive form.
用肯定句进行陈述

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.

肯定句要清楚明确,避免使用枯燥乏味、犹疑不决、含糊暧昧的语言。not是用来表示否认和对立的,不要用于回避直接的陈述。例如:

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.

以上两例展示了not一词本身固有的弱点。不论自觉与否,读者不会满足于单单被告知事情否定的方面,他会想了解肯定的东西。因此,一般最好将表达否定概念的句子也用肯定的形式表述出来。

Placing negative and positive in opposition makes for a stronger structure.

将肯定与否定形式并列运用可构成更有力的句子结构。

Statements qualified with unnecessary auxiliaries or conditionals sound irresolute.

以不必要的助动词、情态动词或条件句修饰的句子会给人游移不定之感。例如:

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.
使用肯定、明确、具体的语言

Prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, the concrete to the abstract.

语言应明确、肯定、具体,忌笼统、含糊、抽象。例如:

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.

研究写作的人有一个共识:唤起并吸引住读者注意力的最好方式就是使语言明确、肯定且具体。那些最伟大的作家,如荷马、但丁、莎士比亚,他们的作品之所以动人,很大程度上归功于他们关注具体事物,描写重要细节。

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.

在进行阐述或说理时,也应牢牢把握住具体的事例。即使论述的是普遍原理,也应通过阐述该原理在具体事例中的应用来充实文章。

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.

赫伯特•斯宾塞在《款色哲学》一书中用两个句子做例子,展示了如何将模糊而空泛的句子改得生动而具体。

6、Quit needless words.
删掉多余的词语

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.

生动有力的文章必然是简洁的。就像一幅画作中不应有多余的线条,一台机器不应有多余的零件,一句之中也不应有赘词,一段之中也不应有赘句。这并不是要求作者笔下句句精悍,或省去所有细节只保留主题轮廓,而是要求每个词都要起到作用。

然而,许多常见表达都违背了这条原则。

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。

文章来自于William Strunk 教授的-The Elements of Style, 如需英文论文代写帮助,请联系本站客服。点击右侧客服悬窗即可发起会话,同时也可扫描右侧二维码关注meeloun官方微信公众号进行咨询。

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