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英语写作技巧:写作时如何进行词汇选择?

2017-12-20 11:57

来源:沪江

作者:

  Selecting the right words is an essential part of communicating, whether you’re writing a wedding speech or a technical report. You need to choose words that are appropriate for your subject matter, that pitch your message at the right level for your audience, and words that most clearly convey what you are trying to say.

  无论是写婚礼致词还是技术报告,选择合适的词都是沟通的重要组成部分。要选择适合主题能够把信息传达给听众的词和最能表达自己想法的词语。

  1. Choose everyday words

  选择日常单词

  It is true that English has a vast and varied vocabulary. However, we mostly communicate using only a fraction of those words. A mere 3,000 are enough to make up 75 percent of all communication. They are all standard, everyday words such as tall, eat, forget, and good. Those are the words that people are most used to. So, if you use them rather than more flowery words, your writing will be easier for people to read and process.

  确实,英语有丰富多样的词汇。 但是,我们大多只使用这些词的一小部分进行交流。仅仅3000词足以构成日常生活中75%的交流。他们都是标准的,日常的用语,如高、吃、忘、好。 这些是人们最常用的词。 所以,如果你使用它们而不是更花哨的文字,你的写作会更容易阅读和处理。

  2 Avoid clichés and buzzwords

  避免陈词滥调和流行词

  Clichés are phrases and words which are used so often and so vaguely that they lose their original impact. For example, ‘at the end of the day’, ‘mass exodus’, ‘in any way, shape, or form’.Buzzwords are words or phrases, often items of jargon, that are fashionable in certain contexts, and as a result tend to be overused and sound meaningless. For example, what does ‘a holistic approach’ really mean?

  陈词滥调是那些经常被使用的词汇和短语,以至于他们失去了原有的影响。例如,‘at the end of the day’, ‘mass exodus’, ‘in any way, shape, or form’。流行语是在某些语境下流行的短语或者术语,这些词往往被过度使用,听起来毫无意义。例如,‘a holistic approach’到底是什么意思呢?

  Clichés and buzzwords can irritate readers and either distract them from your message or make them question its validity.

  陈词滥调或者流行语会激怒读者或者让他们误会你的意思,或者让他们质疑你所传达的信息的有效性。

  3 Choose appropriate formal, neutral, and words

  选择合适的,中性的,正式的词汇

  English is very rich in synonyms. But very often synonyms do not mean exactly the same thing. They are used in distinct styles of writing; some are more formal; some are slangy.

  英语中有许多同义词。但是,同义词并不是指完全相同的词。它们被用于不同的写作风格,一些比较正式,一些则偏俚语使用。

  For example, dozens of words express the idea ‘to steal’, but they are all different. Just to examine three of them: purloin is definitely formal, while steal is ‘neutral’, that is to say it is neither formal nor informal. But nick is definitely informal: you would be surprised to find it in a newspaper report of a crime!

  例如,许多词表达‘偷’的含义,但是它们都不一样。我们来看一下其中的三个词:purloin表达的含义是绝对正式的,steal表达的含义则偏中性,也就是说它可以是表达正式的含义也可以表达非正式的含义。但是nick这个词表达的含义就是非正式的:如果在报纸中的犯罪报告中发现这个词,你会很惊讶!

  In straightforward informative writing, it is helpful to use only neutral words.

  在简单的写作中,只使用中性词是很状态有帮助的。

  4 There are many Englishes

  多种形式的英语

  English is a world language with several national varieties, such as Canadian English and Australian English. The two varieties which are most often contrasted are American and British. Apart from the well-known differences in spelling between them, for instance color / colour, center / centre, there are also differences in the use of words, some of which are not obvious.

  英语是一个具有多种民族语言的世界语言,如加拿大英语和澳大利亚英语。最常对比的英语就是英式英语和美式英语。除却在拼写方面我们都知道的差异,如color / colour和center / centre,还有一些不明显的差异,即单词的使用也有一些差异。

  To make sure that a particular meaning applies outside your own variety of English, it is advisable to check in a dictionary. Also, make sure your spellchecker is set to your variety of English.

  为确保某一特定意思在本族英语之外仍然适用,最好先查一下词典。同时,要确保拼写检查器适应于各种英语。

  5 Use inclusive vocabulary

  使用包容性词汇

  It is important to respect groups in society such as people with disabilities, older people, ethnic minorities, and so forth. One way of doing this is to choose appropriate, non-stereotyping words. In particular, the words you use should be gender-inclusive and not suggest a masculine bias. There are several ways of doing this. For example, when referring to professions it is nowadays standard to avoid words that refer only to one sex, such as actress (use actor) or policeman (use police officer).

  尊重残疾人,老年人,少数民族等社会群体是很重要的。可以选择适当的,不刻板的词语来达到这样做的目的。 特别是,你使用的词语应该是包容性的,而不仅代表了男性的偏见。 有几种方法可以做到这一点。 例如,当谈及职业时,避免使用仅涉及一种性别的词语,例如actress(使用actor)或policeman(使用police officer)。

  6 Enrich your vocabulary

  丰富词汇量

  By widening your vocabulary you will have more words to choose from, which means you are more likely to know a word that most precisely conveys your message. Reading is an excellent way to learn new words. However, before you use them, be sure to check the meanings of any words that are new to you in a dictionary!

  扩大词汇量,你会有更多的词汇可供选择,这意味着你可能会找到一个最精确传达信息的单词。阅读是一个学习新单词的好办法。然而,在使用新单词之前,一定要查词典确认新单词的含义。

(编辑:何莹莹)

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