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雅思寫作道地表達-給語言做減法

 

英文修辭的兩大要求,一是清楚、二是簡潔。要達到簡潔的要求,寫作時就要隨時注意,在不損害句子清楚性的前提下,用最少的字來表達同樣的意思,務必做到每一個字都能發揮功能,文章沒有任何贅字,才算簡潔。會破壞簡潔性的,一是重複,二是累贅。

 

一、重複

 

下面舉2個例子說明一下。

 

1Sales rose rapidly from February up to June but were unchanged from June to October.

動詞rose意思為【上升】,一定是向【上】走,所以後面的up一字就是重複,應該把up刪掉,成為:Sales rose rapidly from February to June but were unchanged from June to October.

 

2You must be at least 18 years old or above to be eligible to vote.

at least【至少】和above【以上】表示的觀念是重複的,應該選擇刪去,成為:You must be at least 18 years old to be eligible to vote.或是You must be 18 years old or above to be eligible to vote.

 

二、累贅

 

句中如有空洞的字眼,就是累贅。以例3和例4來說明。

 

3Patience is gene rally considered to be an essential quality in a teacher.

句中的to be an essential quality是主詞補語,用來修飾主次patience,然而其中的to be沒有什麼意義,省略它也不會影響句意。剩下來的an essential quality仍可做主語補語,成為:Patience is generally considered an essential quality in a teacher.

 

4Most doctors agree that smoking makes a contribution to lung cancer.

句中的make a contribution to這種表達方式比較累贅,因為動詞make是一個空洞的字眼。如果把contribution改成動詞contribute,用來取代make,可以省下一個空洞的字眼,也加強了簡潔性:Most doctors agree that smoking contributes to lung cancer.

 

有時候一個精確的字可以取代一長串的敘述。如例5

 

5The wonder of the Internet would have been unable to imagined a decade ago.

句中的unable to be imagined其實可以用一個字來取代:The wonders of the Internet would have been unimaginable a decade ago.

 

可以用一個形容詞單字表達清楚的,就不必動用到一個片語。如例6

 

6It Is much more difficult to clone an organism of a complex nature than it is to clonebacteria.介詞短語of complex nature修飾前面的organism,其中的nature是比較空洞的字眼。如果省略不要,直接以complex來修飾organism會比較簡潔:It is much more difficult to clone a complex organism than it is to clone bacteria.

 

總結:簡潔性是修辭的兩大重要原則之一,不過它的重要性一般是居於清楚性之後,寫文章時首先要顧慮是否清楚,確定意思表達得夠清楚之後,再來要求簡潔。寫完文章後一定要再看一遍,挑出所有可以精簡的表達,通常從用字、句型兩方面著手,就能剔除所有重複與累贅之處,讓文章更精簡。

 

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