一分钟学写作|《The Elements of Style》写作的基本规则(4)


第二章

写作的基本规则(4)

规则十五

话要从正面说

“肯定”要力求明确。避免使用沉闷单调、吞吞吐吐、含糊暧昧的语言。将not用于“否定”或“对偶”结构,切忌把not用于推诿。

He was not very often on time.

他经常不准时

He usually came late.

他经常迟到

She did not think that studying Latin was a sensible way to use one’s time.

他认为学习拉丁语不是一种明智的利用时间的方法

She thought the study of Latin a waste of time.

他认为学习拉丁语是浪费时间。

The Taming of the Shrew is rather weak in spots. Shakespeare does not portray Katharine as a very admirable character, nor does Bianca remain long in memory as an important character in Shakespeare’s works.

(《驯悍记》在有些方面相当差劲。莎士比亚没有把凯瑟琳描写成一个令人钦佩的人物,比恩卡也不可能作为莎士比亚著作中的一个重要角色而长期保留在人们的记忆之中。)

The women in The Taming of the Shrew are unattractive. Katharine is disagreeable, Bianca insignificant.

(《驯悍记》中的那些妇女缺乏吸引力。凯瑟琳令人讨厌,比恩卡无足轻重。)

最后一个例句在修改之前是从反面说的,因面意思不够明确。所以,故写后的句子只是对原作者意图的一种猜测。

所有这三个例句都表明了not这个词内在的弱点。不管自觉与否,读者对了解的仅是否定的东西感到不满,他想了解的是肯定的东西。

因此,一般说来,即使表达的是否定的概念,也最好用肯定形式表达。例如:

not honest

dishonest

not important

trifling

did not remember

forgot

did not pay any attention to

ignored

did not have much confidence in

distrusted

把否定和肯定对偶地放在一起就构成一种更为有力的结构。例如:

Not charity,but simple justice.

不是慈善,纯是正义。

Not that I loved Caesar less,but that I loved Rome more.

不是我不喜欢恺撒,而是我更喜欢罗马。

Ask not what your country can do for you

—ask what you can do for your country.

不要问你的国家能为你做些什么,而要问

你能够为你的国家做些什么。

not之外的否定词通常带有很强的否定含义

Her loveliness I never knew/Until she smiled on me.

直到她向我微笑,我才意识到她的妩媚动

用表示非肯定语气的助动词或带条件状语从句的陈述句常给读者以一种捉摸不定的感觉。例如:

If you would let us know the time of your arrival, we would be happy to arrange your transportation from the airport.

如果你把到达的时间通知我们,我们将很高兴安排车子到机场来接你。

If you will let us know the time of your arrival, we shall be happy to arrange your transportation from the airport.

你把到达的时间通知我们,我们会乐意安排车子到机场来接你。

Applicants can make a good impression by being neat and punctual.

申请人服饰整洁并严守时刻,就可以给人留下一个良好的印象。

Applicants will make a good impression if they are neat and punctual.

如果中请人服饰整洁并严守时刻,他就会给人留下一个良好的印象。

Plath may be ranked among those modem poets who died young.

济慈可以列入那些天亡的浪漫诗人之中。

Plath was one of those modern poets who died young.

济慈是一位天亡的浪漫诗人。

如果你写的每个句子都让读者存有怀疑,你的文章就缺乏根据和说服力。因此,除非真的无法确定,否则就不要用助动词would,should,could,may,might 或can。

英语原文:

Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, noncommittal language. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion.

He was not very often on time.

He usually came late.

She did not think that studying Latin was a sensible way to use one’s time.

She thought the study of Latin a waste of time.

The Taming of the Shrew is rather weak in spots. Shakespeare does not portray Katharine as a very admirable character, nor does Bianca remain long in memory as an important character in Shakespeare’s works.

The women in The Taming of the Shrew are unattractive. Katharine is disagreeable, Bianca insignificant.

The last example, before correction, is indefinite as well as negative. The corrected version, consequently, is simply a guess at the writer’s intention.

All three examples show the weakness inherent in the word not. Consciously or unconsciously, the reader is dissatisfied with being told only what is not; the reader wishes to be told what is. Hence, as a rule, it is better to express even a negative in positive form.

not honest

dishonest

not important

trifling

did not remember

forgot

did not pay any attention to

ignored

did not have much confidence in

distrusted

Placing negative and positive in opposition makes for a stronger structure.

Not charity, but simple justice.

Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.

Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.

Negative words other than not are usually strong.

Her loveliness I never knew / Until she smiled on me.

Statements qualified with unnecessary auxiliaries or conditionals sound irresolute.

If you would let us know the time of your arrival, we would be happy to arrange your transportation from the airport.

If you will let us know the time of your arrival, we shall be happy to arrange your transportation from the airport.

Applicants can make a good impression by being neat and punctual.

Applicants will make a good impression if they are neat and punctual.

Plath may be ranked among those modem poets who died young.

Plath was one of those modern poets who died young.

If your every sentence admits a doubt, your writing will lack authority. Save the auxiliaries would, should, could, may, might, and can for situations involving real uncertainty.

《The Elements of Style》电子版

公众号内回复

【yfz01】

即可领取

一分钟学写作|《The Elements of Style》写作的基本规则(4)

小E,愿意帮助你,

每天一分钟,学一个新的要点

每天18:30,不要错过哦~

▼点击“阅读原文”查看往期课堂

原文始发于微信公众号(EasyGPA学园):一分钟学写作|《The Elements of Style》写作的基本规则(4)
0 views0 comments