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导师如何修改学生的英语论文

学生用英语写论文不容易,很多时候自己都会感到不满意。因为英语不是我们的母语,遣词造句会很困难。现在的书很多都很厚,国外的图书更是如此,国外的大学教材尤甚。写薄了,风险大,容易露出马脚。

 

我修订The Elements of Style是因为这书薄,全是干货,而且在英语世界经受了半个世纪的考验,已经公认是指导英文写作的“圣经”。只要翻看指导英文写作的书,无论科技写作还是其他类别的写作,都能看到这本书的影子。《纽约客》的资深编辑Mary Norris甚至说:“这本书都深入我们骨髓里去了,还需要专门再说吗?”

 

借用美国科学院、美国工程院、美国艺术科学院三院院士,H因子最高的化学家George Whitesides的话:I also suggest you read Strunk and White, The Elements of Style to get a sense for usage. 我还要推荐你读一读斯特伦克和怀特编著的《简洁的原理》(英文版),去寻得遣词造句表达思想的感觉。

 

如何改好文字顺利发表?结合我修订的《简洁的原理》(英文版),整合我在清北复交公众号上发表的五篇文章,列出个一二三,供大家参考。

 

一、删去冗词

 

1. 弱动词,如be (am、is、are、was、were、being、been)、have、exist、动词的被动形式(如is believed、was seen)。

 

(1)

His brother, who is a member of the same firm →  

 

His brother, a member of the same firm

 

(2)

This is the same idea that was suggested last week. → 

 

This is the same idea suggested last week.

 

(3)

In this novel, part of the theme is stated directly in so many words, and part is not so much said in specific words but is more or less hinted at. → 

 

In this novel, part of the theme is explicit, and part is implicit.

 

(4)

There is a need for further study of the problem. → 

 

We need to study the problem further.

 

(5)

To make the most of your investments, it is essential that you understand what your goals are and what your financial temperament is. →

 

To make the most of your investments, you have to understand your goals and financial temperament.

 

2. 沉闷乏味的名词,如tion、ment、ence等结尾的名词。做法就是换动词,删名词。

 

(1)

call your attention to the fact that → remind you (notify you)

 

(2)The inference that because high school graduates are more likely to be employed than dropouts, the differences may be attributed to the possession of a diploma is suspect since dropouts and graduates may differ in a variety of ways relevant to both graduation propects and employment status. →

 

It is not necessarily the diploma that makes high school graduates more employable than dropouts; other differences may affect both their education and their job prospects.

 

3. 介词成串,原因就是弱动词和沉闷乏味的名词用得太多。

 

(1)

the question as to whether → whether (the question whether)

 

(2)

in spite of the fact that → though (although)

 

(3)

At the meeting there will be a report to the stockholders on the progress of the Company during the past year. A discussion period will also take place, during which the stockholders will have an opportunity to discuss matters of Company interest. →

 

At the meeting the president will report to stockholders on the Company's progress during the year and then invite questions and comments.

 

用例子总结一下修改的捷径:

 

(1)is indicative of → indicates

 

(2)have an influence on → influence

 

(3)gives considerations to → considers

 

(4)is capable of → can

 

(5)is a benefit to → benefits

 

(6)by the implemention of the plan → by implementing the plan

 

(7)in the creation of → in creating

 

(8)in the discussion of → in discussing

 

(9)through the examination of → through examining

 

(10)by addition of → by adding

 

 

二、修改错误的词语顺序

 

1. 形容词

 

(1)

Young and inexperienced, the task seemed easy to me. →

 

Young and inexperienced, I thought the task easy.

 

(2)

The superintendent of the Ossining Correctional Facility found the community's desire to preserve part of the prison amusing. →

 

The superintendent of the Ossining Correctional Facility was amused by the community's desire to preserve part of the prison.

 

(3)

More subtle but equally important, part-time teachers are stripped of their professional identities. →

 

This practice has another effect, more subtle but equally important: part-time teachers are stripped of their professional identities.

 

2. 副词

 

(1)

All the members were not present. →

 

Not all the members were present.

 

(2)

The marathoners submitted their applications to compete immediately. →

 

The marathoners immediately submitted their applications to compete.

 

(3)

The investigator tested the participants using this procedure. →

 

The investigator tested the participants who were using the procedure. 

 

或:

 

Using this procedure, the investigator tested the participants.

 

3. 动词短语

 

(1)

Based on this information, we decided to stay. →

 

With this information, we decided to stay.

 

(2)

Driving along the highway, a deer leapted in front of the car. →

 

As we drove along the highway, a deer leapted in front of the car. 

 

(3)

We have often seen celebrities waiting in line to buy tickets. →

 

We have often seen celebrities when we were waiting in line to buy tickets.

 

4. 同位语

 

(1)

A soldier of proved valor, they entrusted him with the defense of the city. →

 

A soldier of proved valor, he was entrusted with the defense of the city.

 

(2)

One of the most trouble-free house plants, I feel that hoya belongs in every indoor garden. →

 

One of the most trouble-free house plants, hoya, I feel, belongs in every indoor garden.

 

(3)

A resident of Shanghai since boyhood, his interest in antiquities dates back to his senior year in high school. →

 

A resident of Shanghai since boyhood, he became interested in antiquities during his senior year in high school. 

 

5. 介词短语

 

(1)

Without a friend to counsel him, the temptation proved irresistible. →

 

Without a friend to counsel him, he found the temptation irresistible.

 

(2)

At the age of 16, her uncle, who was a journalist, advised her, "First you have to live, then you will write." →

 

When she was 16, her uncle, who was a journalist, advised her, "First you have to live, then you will write." 

 

(3)

As a key person in your company, we are taking the liberty of sending you a press release describing our program for the coming year. →

 

Since you are a key person in your company, we are taking ...

 

或:

 

Recognizing that you are a key person in your company, we are taking ...

 

6. 从句

 

(1)

The little girl wore a dress to her friend’s birthday party on Friday that her mother had bought. →

 

On Friday, the little girl wore a dress that her mother had bought to her friend’s birthday party.

 

(2)

This is a portrait of Benjamin Harrison, grandson of William Henry Harrison, who became President of the United States in 1889. →

 

This is a portrait of Benjamin Harrison, who became President of the United States in 1889. He was the grandson of William Henry Harrison.

 

(3)

The bedroom of the villa, which was painted pink →

 

The villa’s bedroom, which was painted pink

 


三、调整不平衡的句子结构

 

1. 词语成双,或多个词语平行

 

(1)

The applicants were all college graduates, of similar socioeconomic background, and interested in business careers. →

 

The applicants were all collged-educated, similar in socioeconomic background, and interested in business careers.

 

(2)

Your cover letter should include information about your present employment and why you want to change jobs. →

 

Your cover letter should include information about your present employment and explain why you want to change jobs. 

 

(3)

the French, the Italians, Spanish, and Portuguese →

 

the French, the Italians, the Spanish, and the Portuguese

 

(4)会写作的人,如果打破常规,那是为了强调或是为了取得其他特殊效果(比如模仿口语风格)。比如下面这句Lorenz Hart的话:

 

I'm wild again, beguiled again, a simpering, whimpering child again.

 

这样用的前提是,首先要懂平行结构。这跟写作中用残缺不全的句子是一个道理(《简洁的原理》第五章有一节专门讲这个问题,属于高一些的要求)。

 

2. 连接词

 

(1)

A time not for words but action. →

 

A time not for words but for action.

 

(2)

The company not only dominated the town's business but also the way the residents lived and thought. →

 

The company dominated not only the town's business but also the way the residents lived and thought.

 

(3)

She neither saw herself as wife nor mother. →

 

She saw herself as neither wife nor mother.

 

3. 其他

 

(1)

New York's taxes are higher than most other states. →

 

New York's taxes are higher than most other states'.

 

(2)

Our earnings last year were slightly higher than 2016. →

 

Our earnings last year were slightly higher than in 2016. 

 

(3)难点儿的例子

When we go out to lunch, she always plays the fool, like asking for chopsticks in an Italian restaurant. →

 

When we go out to lunch, she always does something silly, like asking for chopsticks in an Italian restaurant.


 

四、修改两类错误的关系:一是模糊不清的主谓关系,二是模糊不清的代词和先行词关系

 

1. 模糊不清的主谓关系(或逻辑关系)

 

(1)

A man with his son are coming up the walk. →

 

A man with his son is coming up the walk.

 

(2)如果不是考试,none of结构的谓语动词用单数复数都可以;如果是考试或求职申请,用单数谓语动词

 

None of the students were doing well. →

 

None of the students was doing well.

 

(3)逻辑关系

Young and inexperienced, the task seemed easy to me. →

 

Young and inexperienced, I thought the task easy.

 

(4)逻辑关系

Based on this information, we decided to stay. →

 

With this information, we decided to stay.

 

2. 模糊不清的代词和先行词关系

 

(1)

One of the areas that has suffered most from the economic cutbacks is education. →

 

One of the areas that have suffered most from the economic cutbacks is education.

 

(2)

Eva was one of those figures who seems to exist outside history. →

 

Eva was one of those figures who seem to exist outside history. 

 

(3)

The little girl wore a dress to her friend’s birthday party on Friday that her mother had bought. →

 

On Friday, the little girl wore a dress that her mother had bought to her friend’s birthday party.

 

(4)

If a person wants to succeed in corporate life, you have to know the rules of the game. →

 

A person who wants to succeed in corporate life has to know the rules of the game.

 

或者:

 

If you want to succeed in corporate life, you have to know the rules of the game.

 

或者:

 

To succeed in corporate life, you have to know the rules of the game.

 

(5)

The doctors wanted to operate at once, but the boy's mother would not allow it. →

 

The doctors urged an immediate operation, but the boy's mother would not allow it.

 

或者:

 

The doctors wanted to operate at once, but the boy's mother would not consent. 

 

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