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The Elements Of Style 学习笔记

2019-12-03 17:10
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       这是一本薄薄的小书。首版于1918 年由纽约一家出版社出版。作者William Strunk,康耐尔大学英语教授,E.B. 怀特对此书加以了修正。此书短小精悍,容量巨大。涵盖了母语英语的人写作和用法上常出的错误,也清晰地解释了一些语法书中很难找到的语言现象。



       这是一本薄薄的小书。首版于1918 年由纽约一家出版社出版。作者William Strunk,康耐尔大学英语教授,E.B. 怀特对此书加以了修正。此书短小精悍,容量巨大。涵盖了母语英语的人写作和用法上常出的错误,也清晰地解释了一些语法书中很难找到的语言现象。虽然是为说英语的学生所写, 但对于任何需要进一步了解英文用法,进而学习书写英文的人,这本书必不可少的。本文综合了自己和其他人学习本书的笔记,归纳总结了书中的重点知识,希望能对各位的工作有所帮助。

一.惯用法的基本规则
规则1:单数名词构成所有格加’s。
- Charles’s friend
- Burns’s poems
- one’s rights
- somebody else’s umbrella

      但对一些以-es 和-is 结尾的古老的特有名词,只需加‘(如Jesus’),或写成如the laws of Moses 的形式。代词所有格(hers, theirs, its, yours 等) 没有撇号,但不定代词(one,somebody else 等)的所有格需要加’s。

规则2:插入语应位于两个逗号之间。

(中文同样适用,但中文中其实插入语的情况比较少,一般都用定语之类直接就给描述掉了。比如:英文喜欢用“XX, president of PRC”, 中文就直接“中国国家主席XX”了。)

     日期通常包含插入的词或数字,标点方式如下:February to July, 1972 / April 6, 1956/ Wednesday, November 13, 1929.

但若按日- 月- 年表达,习惯上日- 月后的逗号省略,如:6 April 1956。

    缩写词etc.(等等)、i.e.(即是)和e.g.(例如),缩写的学位名称及至于名字后表示头衔的词应按插入语进行标点。如:Letters, packages, etc., should go there. / Horance Fulsome, Ph. D., presided. / Rachel Simonds, Attorney.在名词及表示其身份的限制性同位语之间不应该用逗号隔开。如:William the conqueror / the novelist John Fowle。

    非限制性定语从句具有插入语性质,应加逗号,限制性的不应该加。

    定语从句、分词短语和同位语是否需要加逗号分开,都是看是限制性还是非限制性。

    短语或从句位于主语之前,加逗号。

The audience, which had an first been indifferent, became more and more interested.
The candidate who best meets these requirements will obtain the place.

规则3:引导独立分句的连词前需用逗号。

The early records of the city have disappeared, and the story of its first years can no longer be reconstructed.(有关这座城市的早期文献记载已经散失,因此它最初几年的情况已无法知晓。)

The situation is perilous, but there is one chance of escape.( 尽管情况十分危急,仍有逃跑的机会。)但分句主语相同时,but 前用逗号,而联系紧密的and 前不需要。

I have heard his arguments, but am still unconvinced. / He has had several years’ experience and is thoroughly competent.

And is the least specific of connectives. Used between independent clauses, it indicates only that a relation exists between them without defining that relation.

As the early records of the city have disappeared, the story of its first years can no longer be reconstructed.

Although the situation is perilous, there is still one chance of escape.

规则4:不要用逗号连接独立分句。

语法上完整而又不需要用连词连接的分句构成一个并列复合句时,用分号,或者直接写成两个句子。

It is nearly half past five; we cannot reach town before dark.

但若在两个分句中加入连接词,就用逗号.

It is nearly half past five , and we cannot reach town before dark.
Stevenson’s romances are entertaining, for they are full of existing adventures.

若第二个分句前加入的不是连接词而是如accordingly、besides、then、therefore 和thus 之类的副词,仍然需要用分号。

I had never been in that place before; besides, it was dark as a tomb.

分号使用例外:分句短且形式相似,或者固定搭配和表达,用逗号更适宜。

Man proposes, God disposes.(谋事在人,成事在天。)

Here today, gone tomorrow(. 来也匆匆,去也匆匆。)

规则5:位于句首的分词短语必须与句子的主语相关。

Walking slowly down the road, he saw a woman accompanied by two children. 

If the writer wishes to make walking refer to the woman, he must recast thesentence:

He saw a woman accompanied by two children, walking slowly down the road.

 On arriving in Chicago, his friends met him at the station.

Young and inexperienced, the task seemed easy to me.

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

可修改为:
When he arrived in Chicago, his friends met him at the station.

Young and inexperienced, I thought the task easy.

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

写作的基本原则

规则6:文章的格局一经选定,千万不能偏离。

所有的文章都有一个骨架,作者将有血有肉的内容充实进去。作者对文章的格局了解越清楚,成功的希望就越大。

规则7:把段落作为文章的单位。

每一个段落的起始都是向读者表明:论述已进入一个新的阶段。在对话中,每一段话,即使只有一个词,通常都单独列为一段。当既有叙述又有对话,如何使用这条规则,最好从仔细编校的小说实例中加以琢磨。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,太多零散小段亦会分散读者的注意力(看起来好像流水账或广告)。

规则8:使用主动语态。

主动语态通常比被动语态更直接,更有力,比较一下说法:

- Dead leaves covered the ground.

- There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the
ground.

- He soon repented his words.

- It was not long before he was very sorry that he had said what he had.

- Failing health compelled him to leave college.

- The reason he left college was that his health became impaired.

句子越有力,通常越短。因此,简洁时生动有力的副产品。

避免使用多重被动:

Gold was not allowed to be exported.

It was forbidden to export gold.或者

The export of gold was prohibited.He has been proved to have been seen entering the building.

It has been proved that he was seen to enter the building.

切勿使用动词的名词形式作为主语,然后用被动语态。

Mobilization of the army was rapidly carried out.

The army was rapidly mobilized.

A survey of this region was made in 1900.

This region was surveyed in 1900.

Confirmation of these reports cannot be obtained.

These reports cannot be confirmed.

规则9: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、暧昧不清的语言。即使表达的是否定的概念,也最好用肯定形式来表达。

比如:not honest ─ dishonest not important ─ trifling did not remember ─ forgot  didnot have much confidence 

in ─ distrusted.
in ─ distrusted.

把否定和肯定对偶地放在一起能起到更为有力的效果。

如:Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your
country.

规则10:省略不必要的词。

省略不必要的词,例如

The question as to whether > whether (the question whether)

There is no doubt but that > no doubt (doubtless)

Used for fuel purposes > used for fuel He is a man who > he
In a hasty manner > hastily

The fact可以更具具体情况改成以下表达:

owing to the fact that > since (because)

In spite of the fact that > though (although)

Call your attention to the fact that > notify you

I was unaware of the fact that > I was unaware that (did not know)

The fact that he had not succeeded >his failure

在表达一个较为复杂意思的时候,将一系列较短的句子或独立短句合并为一个句子可以帮助精简行文,例如

Macbeth was very ambitious. This led him to wish to become king of Scotland.The witches told him that this wish of this would come true. The king of Scotland at this time was Duncan. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth murdered Duncan. He was thus enabled to succeed Duncan as king (51 words)

Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth achieved his ambition and realized the prediction of the witches by murdering Duncan and becoming king of Scotland in his place (26 worlds)

规则11 把相关的词放在一起。

形式上的相似能让读者比较容易辨认出内容和功能上的相似。把意思相关词和词组放在一起,把不甚相关的词和词组隔开。注意比较以下表达:


Wordsworth, in the fifth book of The Excursion, gives a minute description of this church.

In the fifth book of The Excursion, Wordsworth gives a minute description of
this church.

 Cast iron, when treated in a converter, is changed into steel.

By treatment in a converter, cast iron is changed into steel.

规则12 要强调的词或词组,在句中的恰当位置通常是句末:

- Humanity has hardly advanced in fortitude since that time, though it has
advanced in many other ways.

- Since that time, humanity has advanced in many ways, but it has hardly advanced in fortitude.

- This steel is principally used for making razors, because of its hardness.

- Because of its hardness, this steel is used principally for making razors.

位于这个强调位置上的词或词组通常是逻辑上的谓语——即句中提示未知信息的部分。

- 掉尾句之所以有力,是因为它突出了主句:

- Wish these hopes and in this belief, I would urge you, laying aside all hindrance, thrusting away all private aims, to devote yourself unswervingly and unflinchingly to the vigorous and successful prosecution of this war.

- 句中另一强调的未知是句首。句中除主语外的任一成分置于句首时,都受到强调:

- Deceit or treachery he could never forgive.

三.常错用词

Consider. Not followed by as when it means“ believe to be”.“ I consider him thoroughly competent.” Compare, “The lecturer considered Cromwell First as soldier an soldier and second as administrator”, where“ considered” means“ examined” or“ discussed.”

However. In the meaning nevertheless, not to come first in its sentence or clause. The roads were almost impassable.

However, we at last succeeded in reaching camp.

The roads were almost impassable. At last, however, we succeeded in reaching camp.

When however comes first, in means in whatever way or to whatever extent.
However you advise him, he will probably do as he thinks best.

Nature. Often simply redundant, used like character.

Acts of a hostile nature > Hostile acts State. 

Not to be used as a mere substitute for say, remark, express clearly While. 

Avoid the indiscriminate use of this word for and, but, and although.

The office and salesrooms are on the ground floor, while the rest of the building is devoted to manufacturing. The office and salesrooms are on the ground floor; the rest of the building is devoted to manufacturing.

在不会引起歧义的情况下,可以用来 although 的意思


While I desire his energy, I wish it were employed in a better cause.

In general, the writer will do well to use while with strict literalness, in the sense of during the time that.


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