一分钟学写作|《The Elements of Style》写作的基本规则(2)


第二章

写作的基本规则(2)

规则十三

把段落作为文章的单位

段落是一种实用而方便的篇章单位,适用于一切形式的文学作品。在意思相连的条件下,段落可长可短,短则一个句子,长则一段文字。

如果你论述的题目范围不广,或者你打算作简要的阐述,也许没有必要把这个题目再分成几个论题。

例如,简略的描绘、简短的书评、对一件事情作简单的介绍、对一个行动作概括的叙述、提出一个想法——上述的任何一种情形最好都写成一段。

写就之后,再仔细推敲一下,看看分成几段写是否会更好些。

然而,一般来说,一个题目要求分成几个论题,每个论题各用一段文字加以论述。这样做的目的有助于读者的理解。每一段落的起始都是向读者表明:论述已经进入了一个新的阶段。

单独一个句子通常不应该写成或形成一个段落。但是,说明文或论说文中表明各部分之间的关系的过渡性句子可能例外。

在对话中,每一段话,即使只有一个词,通常都单独列为一段;这就是说,每换一个说话者就另起一段。

当既有叙述又有对话时,如何使用这条规则,最好从仔细编校的小说的实例中加以琢磨。有时,作者试图创造一种对答如流的谈话效果或出于其它原因,会把每个人说的话都放在一起,而不按照常规的做法将它们列为几段。

然而,通常的做法,也是在多数情况下都适用的做法,乃是把每个人说的话都各自列为一段。

一般说来,每段的第一句要么是点明论题,要么是有助于文章的过渡。就段落本身而言,其与前文的关系,或其作为整体的一部分的作用,有必要表达清楚。为此,有时只要在一段的首句中用上一个词或短语就行例如again(再者),thercfore(因此),for the same reason(出于同样的原因)。

然而,有时最好还是用一两个引导性的或过渡性的句子,逐步进入论题。

在记叙和描写文中,段落有时始以一句简洁而综合的句子,将随后的细节描写紧密地连在一起。

例如:

The breeze served us admirably.

微风徐来,我们舒服极了。

The campaign opened with a series of reverses

战役一开始就阵阵败北。

The next ten or twelve pages were filled with a curious set of entries.

以下的10到12页全是些不寻常的条目。

但是,这种手段,或者任何一种手段,不能用

得过分,否则就会显得矫揉造作。更为通常的写法是:段落的首句点明主题,表示该段展开的方向。

例如:

At length I thought I might return toward the stockade.

我最终认为我会回到俘虏拘留营去的。

He picked up the heavy lamp from the table and began to explore.

他从桌子上拿起那盏沉重的提灯开始探索。

Another flight of stcps,and thcy emcrged on the roof.

再爬几级楼梯,他们便出现在屋顶上了。

生动活泼地叙述故事时,段落可能很短,并且

没有类似主题句那样的句子。作者急速直书,事件接踵而至。这时,段落之间的转换,只是出于修辞上停顿的需要,重点突出故事的某个细节。

一般要记住分段既要符合逻辑又要赏心悦目。

大段大段的文章令人望而生畏,一般不想去读。即使读了,也往往会不知所云。

因此,把大段一分为二,即使在意义或逻辑的发展上没有必要,也常起到一种醒目的作用。但是,也要记住一连写出许多短小的段落也会分散读者的注意力。如果为了分段面分段,那末文章读起来就象那种流水帐或广告。总之,划分段落时主要考虑的是段落的适度和顺序。

英语原文:

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.

If the subject on which you are writing is of slight extent, or if you intend to treat it briefly, there may be no need to divide it into topics.

Thus, a brief description, a brief book review, a brief account of a single incident, a narrative merely outlining an action, the setting forth of a single idea — any one of these is best written in a single paragraph. After the paragraph has been written, examine it to see whether division will improve it.

Ordinarily, however, 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 that a new step in the development of the subject has been reached.

As a rule, single sentences should not be written or printed as paragraphs. An exception may be made of sentences of transition, indicating the relation between the parts of an exposition or argument

In dialogue, each speech, even if only a single word, is usually a paragraph by itself; that is, a new paragraph begins with each change of speaker.

The application of this rule when dialogue and narrative are combined is best learned from examples in well-edited works of fiction. Sometimes a writer, seeking to create an effect of rapid talk or for some other reason, will elect not to set off each speech in a separate paragraph and instead will run speeches together. The common practice, however, and the one that serves best in most instances, is to give each speech a paragraph of its own.

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. This can sometimes be done by a mere word or phrase (again, therefore, for the same reason) in the first sentence.

Sometimes, however, it is expedient to get into the topic slowly, by way of a sentence or two of introduction or transition.

In narration and description, the paragraph sometimes begins with a concise, comprehensive statement serving to hold together the details that follow.

The breeze served us admirably.

The campaign opened with a series of reverses.

The next ten or twelve pages were filled with a curious set of entries.

But when this device, or any device, is too often used, it becomes a mannerism. More commonly, the opening sentence simply indicates by its subject the direction the paragraph is to take.

At length I thought I might return toward the stockade.

He picked up the heavy lamp from the table and began to explore.

Another flight of steps, and they emerged on the roof.

In animated narrative, the paragraphs are likely to be short and without any semblance of a topic sentence, the writer rushing headlong, event following event in rapid succession.

The break between such paragraphs merely serves the purpose of a rhetorical pause, throwing into prominence some detail of the action.

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 paragraphs 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 paragraphs 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 considerations in paragraphing.

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一分钟学写作|《The Elements of Style》写作的基本规则(2)

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