英文写作技巧:让你的文笔简明清晰的5个方法

英语沟通能力不可忽视的一部分就是书面交流,即英文写作。仅仅语法词汇使用正确是不够的,即使英语是母语的人也要通过学习和练习来提高写作能力,让文笔更加流畅优美,将意思表达得清楚明白。

从2018年起,我会在BrightSpeaking上里增加一些关于英文写作技巧的原创文章,和大家共同学习如何写好各类英语文章。今天先聊聊让文笔显得简明清晰的几个常用方法:

 1. 去掉累赘模糊的名词

英语中有一些名词是抽象的,没什么具体意思,比如factor, area, situation, degree, consideration, case等。这些词常会让句子显得冗长,枯燥。去掉的话也不影响句子意思,还显得简洁很多。

原句: Strong reading skills are an important factor in students’ success in college.

修改后: Strong reading skills are important for students’ success in college.

 

原句: “He is an expert in the area of sociolinguistics.”

修改后: “He is an expert in sociolinguistics”

 

2. 减少使用程度副词,如very, just 

程度副词用来强调所说事物或动作的程度, 最常见的就是very. 这一类的词还有usually, really, basically, just, clearly等。这些词被用得太多了,因为没有什么实质内容,  比较抽象,读者一般都略过去。应该尽量少用这类副词。

Mark Twain的一个著名的写作窍门就是 “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

很多时候,我们可以直接删去这些副词。

比如:

Her brother was very convinced that she would not survive.

Clearly, he could not defend his position.

有时可以用更生动具体化的形容词或动词来表现出程度。

原句:  He was very afraid when he saw the police.

修改后: He was terrified when he saw the police.

 

原句: Children ran very fast to scoop up candies.

修改后: Children scurried to scoop up candies.

 

3. 减少使用“There is” “There are”

“There is” “there are” 是英语常用句式,但如果经常使用会让文章显得枯燥乏味。这是一种相对无力,缺少活力的句式,暗示着一种被动的语气。有的可以被改写成更生动的句子。比如:

原句: There are stink bugs in every room of my house. 

修改后: Stink bugs have descended upon every room of my house.

 

原句: There are some students who seem to have a natural gift in writing.

修改后: Some students seem to be naturally gifted writers.

 

4. 去掉重复性的词

我们写作时常会有意无意地写了没有必要地重复性的词,比如“free gift”, 礼物不就该是免费的吗?不然还叫礼物。这些多余的字应该从文章中删去。

原句: Every single person should love reading.

修改后: Every person should love reading.

 

原句: This new innovation will blow your mind.

修改后: This innovation will blow your mind.

类似的还有terrible tragedy, future plan, past memory, 等等。

 

5. 加强句子/段落的连贯性

句子是段落的基本组成部分,而段落连起来才成为完整的文章。句子及段落之间的连贯性和逻辑性影响着篇章的整体结构及效果。

首先要恰当使用关联词(transitional words)将句子或段落衔接起来,使句子清楚明白,段落间自然过度。常用的关联词有累加的(如in addition, furthermore), 类比(如similarly, likewise), 转折(如but, on the contrary), 总结(如in conclusion, in short), 等。

另外,还要确保内容上的逻辑衔接,不要单纯依赖关联词。让句子的排列自然合理。逻辑混乱的文章让读者摸不着头脑,读不懂,更别提喜欢读了。

看看下面的例子:

原句: We arrived at the airport. We saw that our plane would be late. Robin took advantage of the delay to go to the newsstand. She looked for a paperback to read on the plane. I went directly to the gate. I realized I should have told Robin to buy me gum. Robin got to the gate. She told me she’d thought of it. She handed me a pack of gum. It was my favorite.

修改后: When we arrived at the airport, we saw that our plane would be late. Robin decided to take advantage of the delay to go to the newsstand and look for a good paperback to read on the plane, but I decided to go directly to the gate. It was then that I realized that I should have told Robin to buy me some gum. Fortunately, when Robin got to the gate, she told me that she’d thought of it herself. She handed me a pack of my favorite gum.

(Source:https://www.universalclass.com/articles/writing/how-to-refine-sentences-to-improve-your-writing.htm

在修改后的段落里,原来看似单摆浮搁的事情被用一些关联词或暗示关联的词语/句式联系起来了,更有条理性。

 

除了上面介绍的几点,还有很多让写作更生动具体的方法,今后慢慢和大家分享。Stay tuned.

 

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