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如何避免英语写作中的常见错误(二)

注:以下讨论中的同位语的例子将以粗体表示。

我做过小学教师,因此我能想象得到在中国或其他国家教小孩写好英语时会遇到多大的挑战。学习一门新语言涉及到很多方面,包括学习字词意思,学习单词拼写,学习正确的发音,以及学习如何将字词标点等组合成一个句子。中国人在写英语时,和其他非英语为母语的人一样,可能不曾有人教过他们关于写出好的英语时很多应该注意的重要细节。今天,我们将再次关注一些写好英语的重要问题,而这些也可能正是教师教授英语时因为有太多内容需要传授而被忽略的。

具体而言,我们将讨论以下几个方面:正式与非正式英语,特别是在科技论文标题中使用时;科技论文写作中数字的正确使用方法;一些有趣的单词复数形式,特别是复数拉丁词;句子中时间单位的使用;以及如何在连续的句子中使用单词,尤其是当用到 “分别”这个词时。

在正式英语中,不要用“and”这个单词开始一个句子。在科技论文中以“and”开始一个句子显得太非正式了。一般应该使用下面的词组替代and,如in additionmoreover therefore also等等。此外,科技论文中以“besides”这个单词开始一个句子也通常是非正式的用法。这里给出一些其他非正式的单词(括号中的单词是应该使用的、更为正式的形式),如whole (entire) big (large) huge (very large)a lot (manyseverala considerable amount of)等等。

同样,科技论文写作时应尽量客观。因此,作者们应该避免非正式的或具有批判性的词语。它们更多地是表明一种观点,而不是科学地阐述。例如,应该使用“ high levels of particulate air pollutants” 而非 “ bad air pollution”。其他不恰当的词语(括号中是不错的选择)包括: mismanaged city planning (city planning that was not scientifically sound),terrible farming techniques (unsustainable farming techniques), and bad grazing methods (grazing methods that were not ecologically sound)。关键就是句子中应该避免任何不必要的批判,目的是表明目前存在比那些过去使用过的更好的方法。

同位语的概念与我们之前讨论过的关于标点符号的内容比较接近。非英语为母语的作者在科技论文写作时常常无意识地就使用了同位语。同位语的概念非常简单。在一个句子中,一件事往往等同于另一件事。那么,讨论的第二件事就是一个同位语。这里是一个简单的例子。That dog, the black one, is the dog that bit me. "That dog"和" the black one" 指的就是同一只狗," the black one"就是一个同位语。同位语的使用使你可以将多个句子结合起来,组成的句子更加有趣,进而可以提高你的科技论文写作水平。这里有一些简单的例子,其中的句子或句子的一部分可以组合成同位语,这在科技论文写作时很常用。每组中的第二句是同位语,使用粗体文本表示。在这部分讨论中,其他所有同位语的例子都以粗体表示。

The site was a barren on the southern slope of the mountain. The GPS coordinates were 47°34’15”N 23°19’33”E.

The GPS coordinates of the site, a barren area on the southern slope of the mountain, was located at 47°34’15”N 23°19’33”E.

The study area had a continental climate. The study area was located in a coniferous forest.

The study area, a coniferous forest, had a continental climate.

即使懂得如何使用同位语的作者也经常忘记一个同位语应该由逗号隔开;也就是说,一个同位语的前后都应该加一个逗号,从而与句子的其余部分隔开。

数字的基本使用规则非常简单。拼写出从一到十之间整数的单词,而其他数字比如负数就直接写数字,如11,−11, 47等。另外两个简单的关于数字的规则也很有用。在写大于9999的数字时,通常会在每三个数字之间用逗号隔开。这里有几个简单的例子加以说明(为了方便使用and进行连接):10,047 and 1,000,523 and 5,047,364,372。同样的,读起来时数字较大的也将它们分为每三个一组。前面的例子中最后一个数字应该读为“five billion forty-seven million three hundred and sixty-four thousand three hundred and seventy-two.”这里使用斜体作为强调。第三,在写一个小于零的数时,一定要在小数点前面加一个0 (注:除非你的目标期刊特别规定不要加0。但是这种情况并不多见)。例如,你应该写0.47 g而不是 .47 g。 我的老师总是告诉我说,“加0将确保读者看到了小数点而不是忽略它"。

另一个容易记住的规则是时间单位的正确使用。时间单位可以被定义为指示时间的单词,如秒或分等。然而,时间单位还包括一些通常使用的单词,如before, after,next,then,later,和其他类似的可以提供时间概念的单词。句子中的时间单位通常在句首或句尾使用。然而,时间单位也常常出现在句子的任何一个位置。这里有三个例子。

At exactly 08:00, the vibrations on the southern slope of the mountain created a landslide.

The vibrations on the southern slope of the mountain created a landslide, at exactly 08:00.

The vibrations on the southern slope of the mountain, at exactly 08:00, created a landslide.

Later,请记住,与同位语一样,时间单位应该用逗号隔开;这个句子里的“later”这个词,作为这句话的时间单位,其后也有一个逗号。此外,这个句子中我还使用另一个同位语(即,作为这句话的时间单位)。

 

此短文由LetPub美国总公司的科学编辑撰写,英文原文如下:


How to Avoid Common Errors with English:Part II

Note: as discussed below, examples of appositives are in bold text.

Having been an elementary school teacher, I can only imagine the challenges a teacher of English in China or other countries will face when teaching children how to write good English. Learning a new language involves several tasks, learning the meaning of the words, learning how to spell those words, learning correct pronunciation, and combining all those tasks into good sentences. Chinese writers of English, and other non-native English speakers, may not have been taught many important details related to writing good English. Today, we will again focus on important aspects of writing good English but may be overlooked by teachers who are challenged by the many topics that can be addressed when teaching English.

Specifically, we will discuss several aspects of formal versus informal English especially as it relates to titles of scientific papers, the correct ways to write numbers in scientific research papers, interesting plural words and especially plural Latin words, the use of time units within a sentence, and how to write words in a series especially with the word “respectively.”

In formal English, the word "and" should not be used to start a sentence. And using the word "and" as I have done incorrectly in this sentence is simply too informal for scientific research papers. Instead of starting a sentence with the word "and," scientific writers use phrases such as: in addition , moreover , therefore , also . In addition, the word “besides ” is usually considered to be informal at the start of a sentence in scientific research papers. Here are several other examples of informal words (followed by the more formal words that should be used in parentheses): whole (entire ), big (large ), huge (very large ), a lot (many , several , a considerable amount of ).

Similarly, scientific writers try to be objective. Therefore, scientific writers should avoid informal or judgmental words that may provide more of an opinion than a scientifically sound statement. For example, rather than talking about “bad air pollution” a writer might discuss "high levels of particulate air pollutants" Other examples of poor choices of words (followed by good choices in parentheses) include: mismanaged city planning (city planning that was not scientifically sound), terrible farming techniques (unsustainable farming techniques), and bad grazing methods (grazing methods that were not ecologically sound). The idea here is to not criticize anyone unnecessarily. The goal is to suggest that better methods exist than those that have been used in the past.

The concept of an appositive is something that is more closely related to our previous discussion on punctuation. Non-native speakers of English who were also scientific writers often use appositives without realizing it. The concept of an appositive is really quite simple. In a sentence, one thing often is equal to another thing. The second thing being discussed is an appositive. Here's a simple example. That dog, the black one, is the dog that bit me. The words "That dog" and "the black one" referred to the same dog. The phrase "the black one" is an appositive. The use of the appositives can improve your scientific writing English by allowing you to combine sentences and make your sentences more interesting. Here are a few simple examples of sentences or parts of sentences that can be combined into appositives that are commonly used phrases in scientific research papers. The second sentence in each group contains an appositive that is shown using bold text. All other appositives in this discussion are in bold text as examples.

The site was a barren on the southern slope of the mountain. The GPS coordinates were 47°34’15”N 23°19’33”E.

The GPS coordinates of the site, a barren area on the southern slope of the mountain, was located at 47°34’15”N 23°19’33”E.

The study area had a continental climate. The study area was located in a coniferous forest.

The study area, a coniferous forest, had a continental climate.

Even writers who know how to use an appositive often forget that an appositive should be set off by commas; that is, place a comma before and after an appositive to set it off from the remainder of the sentence.

The basic rule for writing numbers is quite simple. Spell out the whole numbers (integers) from one to ten and use numerals for other numbers such as negative numbers or 11, −11, and 47. Two other simple rules for numbers are also very helpful. When writing large numbers larger than 9999, native speakers will group numbers in groups of three separated by commas. Here are several simple examples separated by the word "and" for convenience: 10,047 and 1,000,523 and 5,047,364,372. Similarly, when reading large numbers the numbers can be grouped in groups of three. That last large number should be read as “five billion forty-seven million three hundred and sixty-four thousand three hundred and seventy-two.” Italics are used here for emphasis. Thirdly, when writing a decimal number less than one always put a zero in front of the decimal. For example, you should write 0.47 g and not .47 g. My teachers always told me, "Adding the zero will help make sure that the reader actually sees the decimal point and doesn't overlook it.

Another easy thing to remember is the correct use of time units. Time units can be defined as words indicating time such as seconds or minutes. However, time units also include general words such as: before, after, next, then, later, and other similar words that provide the idea of time. When writing a sentence, time units usually work best at the start or the end of the sentence. Nevertheless, time units can often be used anywhere in a sentence. Here are three examples.

At exactly 08:00, the vibrations on the southern slope of the mountain created a landslide.

The vibrations on the southern slope of the mountain created a landslide, at exactly 08:00.

The vibrations on the southern slope of the mountain, at exactly 08:00, created a landslide.

Later, remember that time units should be set off with a comma in the same way that an appositive is indicated by commas; the word “later”, the time unit in this sentence, also has a comma. In addition, I’ve just used another appositive (specifically, the time unit in this sentence).

(转载请注明本文来自LetPub中文官网:www.letpub.com.cn/index.php?page=sci_writing_52


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