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English Writing

English Writing

Diction is the choice and use of words. The English language has a big vocabulary: as many as 400,000 words are collected in the Oxford English Dictio

nary. Of course no one knows or uses so many words. Only a small amount of them are used by ordinary people for ordinary purposes. A student learning to write should learn to use the words that are most useful and most often used to express him.

1. Levels of words 2. The meaning of words 3. General and Specific Words 4. Idioms 5. Figures of speech 英文写作中怎样避免用词的重复 中英语言中用来喻人的植物的差异

1. Levels of words
词汇选择得是否准确,贴切,对文章是否能收到预期 的效果致关重要.在锤炼和选择词语时,除了文章的 主题,思想内容,写作目的和读者对象等以外,还必 须考虑与之相适应的语言层次( levels of language ). 所谓语言层次,一般可归结为规范英语( standard English)和非规范英语( sub-standard English). 规范英语又可分为口语( spoken language )和书面语 ( written language), 非正式语( informal language)和 正式语( formal language).例如:

Officialese 公文— 'The consumption of any nutriments whatsoever is categorically prohibited in this establishment商业机构.' Official 官方— 'The consumption of nutriments is 官方 prohibited.' Formal — 'You are required not to consume food in this establishment.' ' Neutral — 'Eating is not allowed here.' Informal — 'Please don't eat here.' Colloquial — 'You can't feed your face here.' Slang — 'Lay off the nosh 小吃 小吃.' Taboo — 'Lay off the fucking nosh.'

2. The meaning of words
The meaning of a word has two aspects: denotative and connotative 外延和内涵 外延和内涵. A word's denotation is what it literally means, as defined by the dictionary; its connotation is the feeling or idea suggested by it.

For instance country, nation, state and land have more or less the same denotation and may all be translated into "国家" in Chinese, but their connotation are quite different.

denotative and connotative
Country means an area of land and its population and its government, nation emphasizes the people of a country, state refers to the government or political organization of a country, and land is less precise but more literary and emotive than country.

English is particularly rich in synonyms as a result of incorporating words from other language over the centuries. But we should remember that it is difficult to find two words that are exactly the same in meaning and use. They may be different in stylistic level, in the degree of emphasis, in emotional coloring, in tone语气, and in collocation.

different in stylistic level
Generally speaking, words of Anglo-Saxon origin are more informal than those of Latin or French origin. Look at these words: ask time rise question age mount interrogate epoch ascend
In each group, the first word is from Anglo-Saxon and the second and third from French or Latin. The first one is clearly more informal or colloquial than the other two.

different in emphasis
"Big" and "large" are both commonly used words, but "large" is slightly more formal and may be used to describe things that are usually big, so it is more emphatic than "big". "Huge", which is more literary than those two words, means extremely large, and is more emphatic than "large".

different in tone
"Modest" and "humble" both indicate a lack of pride, but "modesty" is a virtue and "humbleness" is not. "Humble" often connotes undue self-depreciation 自我贬低. So they are different in tone: one is laudatory and the other is derogatory.

3. General and Specific Words
Comparatively speaking, some words are more general or more specific in meaning rather than others. "Professionals", for instance, is more general in meaning than "scientists, doctors, teachers, lawyers, journalists", etc., all of which are more specific. But "scientists" may be called a general word when compared with "physicists or chemists", which, in turn, is more general than "biochemists".

Although both general and specific words are useful, a student learning to write should make an effort to master and use specific words wherever possible. Specific words help to make writing clear, exact, vivid, and striking, for they are more informative and expressive than general words. Compare:

a good man: kind, honest, just, generous, sympathetic, warm-hearted, selfless, brave, honorable good food: tasty, delicious, nourishing, rich, wholesome, fresh, appetizing, abundant house: mansion, villa, chateau, cottage, bungalow带 bungalow带 走廊的平房, 小室, 棚屋, 走廊的平房 cabin, hut, shack小室 shanty棚屋 shed 小室 棚屋 货棚, 货棚 barn laugh: smile, grin, beam微笑示意 giggle咯咯地笑 微笑示意, 咯咯地笑, 微笑示意 咯咯地笑 titter嗤笑 snigger窃笑 chuckle吃吃地笑 guffaw狂笑 嗤笑, 窃笑, 吃吃地笑, 狂笑, 嗤笑 窃笑 吃吃地笑 狂笑 chortle得意的高笑 得意的高笑

It is easy to see that the specific words on the right are much more concrete and colorful than the general ones on the left; they seem to make the reader see, hear, or feel what the writer wishes to describe.

Use specific words should go along with providing details, and then there will be effective and impressive writing. Study the following examples:

General It is often windy and dusty here in spring. Specific In spring there is often a very strong northwest wind. It carries so much fine dust with it that sometimes the sun becomes obscure. There is no escape from the fine dust; it gets into your eyes, your ears, your nostrils, and your hair. It goes through the cracks of closed windows and covers your desks and chairs.

4. Idioms
An idiom is a fixed group of words with a special meaning which is different from the meanings of the words that form it. " To read a book", for instance, is not an idiom, for the meaning of the phrase is the meaning of the three words put together, and "a book" can be replaced by other words like "a newspaper" or a "novel".

English is rich in idioms. The following types of idioms are most common: put up with, turn out, look forward to, carry on, come across, a straw in the wind事态发展的一些迹象 , the apple of one's eye 掌上明珠, like a fish out of water, and so on. VOA 的美国习惯用语

Idioms are frequently used in speech and writing. They help to make one's language sound natural and idiomatic 合乎语言习惯. But in using them foreign learners of English should remember the following two points:

(1) most idioms are informal or colloquial in style and can be used in conversation; but a few are slang and should be used with care, such as "all balled up", meaning "troubled or confused", and to "cough up", meaning to "produce something"; (2) many idioms have become clichés and are no longer fresh or interesting, such as "armed to the teeth" and "as good as gold好 到极点", and should be used sparingly.

5. Figures of speech
Words used in their original meanings are used literally, while words used in extended meanings for the purpose of making comparisons or calling up pictures in the reader's or listener's mind are used figuratively. In "a colorful garden" the word "colorful" is used in its literal sense, but in a "a colorful life" and "a colorful career" the word is used in its figurative meaning: exciting, interesting, and rich in variety. The word suggests a comparison between "life or career" and something that has different colors, like "a garden", and because of this association the word is more impressive than a word used in its literal sense, such as "interesting and exciting".

There are various ways of using words figuratively. They are called figures of speech. Among the most common of them are: 1) Simile It is a comparison between two distinctly different things and the comparison is indicated by the word "as or like ": O my love's like a red, red rose. That man can't be trusted. He's as slippery as an eel. The old man's hair is as white as snow.

2) Metaphor It is the use of a word which originally denotes one thing to refer to another with a similar quality. It is also a comparison, but the comparison is implied, not expressed with the word as or like. If Robert Burns had written "O my love's a red rose" with the word "like" omitted he would have used a metaphor instead of a simile. In the changed line, "my love" is also compared to a red rose, but there is no word to indicate the comparison; hence rose is a metaphor. Similarly, in sentences like "He is the soul of the team. " and "Irrigation is the lifeblood of agriculture", "soul" and "lifeblood" are used metaphorically.

Metaphors are used not only after verb "to be", and not only nouns can be used metaphorically. Study the following examples: The picture of those poor people's lives was carved so happily in his heart that he could never forget it. The street faded into a country road with a straggling house by it. There are a few lordly poplars 白杨 before the house. He often prefaced his remarks by "I can't help thinking …"

3) Personification It is to treat a thing or an idea as if it were human or bad human qualities. In poetry, personification is very common: Youth is hot and bold Age is weak and cold Youth is wild, and Age is tame In these lines "youth and age" are described like two persons. In prose personification is also used, though not so often as in poetry.

The match will soon be over and defeat is staring us in the face. This time fate is smiling to him. Thunder roared and a pouring rain started. Dusk came stealthily. The storm was raging and an angry sea was continuously tossing their boat.

The match will soon be over and defeat is staring us in the face. This time fate is smiling to him. Thunder roared and a pouring rain started. Dusk came stealthily. The storm was raging and an angry sea was continuously tossing their boat.

4) Metonymy转喻 换喻 It is substituting the name 转喻,换喻 转喻 of one thing for that of another with which it is closely associated. Thus "the crown" can stand for "a king", and "the white house" for "the American government", the "bottle" for "wine or alcohol", and the "bar" for the "legal profession". When metonymy is well used, brevity and vividness may be achieved: Sword and cross in hand, the European conquerors fell upon the Americans. When the war was over, he laid down the sword and took up the pen.

5) Synecdoche提喻 When a part is substituted for 提喻 the whole or the whole is substituted for a part, synecdoche is applied: The farms were short of hands during the harvest season. He had to earn his daily bread by doing odd jobs. Metonymy and synecdoche are similar as both involve substitution. Sometimes they can hardly be distinguished from metaphor, which in a way is also substitution.

6) Euphemism It is the substitution of a mild or vague expression for a harsh or unpleasant one, for example: Ugly: homely/plain Fat: heavyset/ chubby/ plump/ stout Skinny: slender/ slim/willowy/ svelte To die: to pass away/ leave us/ one's heart has stopped beating Old people: senior citizens/elderly/ advanced in age Mad: emotionally disturbed Dustman: sanitation worker

7) Irony 反话 It is the use of words, which are clearly opposite to what is meant, in order to achieve a special effect. Suppose you planned an outing on a certain day, expecting it to be fine; but when the day came it was raining heavily. If you said "What a fine day!" you were speaking ironically. This diligent student seldom reads more than an hour per month.

8) Overstatement and understatement In overstatement the diction exaggerates the subject, and in understatement the words play down the magnitude or value of the subject. Overstatement is also called hyperbole夸张. Both aim at the same effect: to make the statement or description impressive or interesting. She is dying to know what job has been assigned her. It took a few dollars to build this indoor swimming pool.

9) Transferred Epithet 移就 An epithet 绰号 is an adjective or descriptive phrase that serves to characterize somebody or something. A transferred epithet is one that is shifted from the noun it logically modifies to a word associated with noun. When one says that "He has had a busy day", one is using such a figure of speech. For it is the person, not the day, that is busy. She was so worried about her son that she spent several sleepless nights. The old man put a reassuring hand on my shoulder. 用来修饰人的分词有时可以转移到修饰非人的事物,这种 用来修饰人的分词有时可以转移到修饰非人的事物 这种 分词在形式上虽不直接修饰人,但它所修饰的事物仍与人 分词在形式上虽不直接修饰人 但它所修饰的事物仍与人 直接有关. 直接有关

10) Oxymoron矛盾修辞 In oxymoron 矛盾修辞 apparently contradictory terms are combined to produce a special effect. The coach had to be cruel and kind to his trainees. The president was conspicuously absent on that occasion.

11) Alliteration 头韵 It refers to the appearance of the same initial consonant sound in two or more words, such as "proud as a peacock" and "blind as a bat". Alliteration is often used in poetry to give emphasis to words that are related in meaning.

在英语的文章中,我们可以看到, 在英语的文章中,我们可以看到,除了表示强 调或为了避免意义的含糊外, 调或为了避免意义的含糊外,同一个词或短语 很少在同一个句子中连续使用,有时, 很少在同一个句子中连续使用,有时,在一个 句群或段落中也避免重复使用相同的词. 句群或段落中也避免重复使用相同的词.避免 词汇重复是英语句子的又一特点. 词汇重复是英语句子的又一特点.这一特点最 明显的标志是, 明显的标志是,英语代词的使用频率远远高于 汉语.英语主要是通过使用代词 同义词, 代词, 汉语.英语主要是通过使用代词,同义词,近 义词和省略等手段来避免重复 等手段来避免重复. 义词和省略等手段来避免重复.

这是最普通,也是常见的一种方法. Can you mend this table? I broke it yesterday. When the entered,each was given a , small present. .

这里说的同义词是一个比较宽泛的概念.它包括范畴词,相近 词(near-synonym)和派生词等. The monkey's extraordinary performance was learning to operate a tractor. By the age of nine,the animal , had learned to drive the vehicle single-handed. . 在第二句仍要提及monkey和tractor,为了回避重复,作者用 了animal和vehicle这两个范畴词来替代.范畴词虽然意义宽泛, 不太确切,但是在特定的上下文中一般不会引起误解,而且行 文也显得更加活泼了.

省略的主要功能就是避免重复,并能突出新的 信息.省略是英语的一种习惯用法,它能节省 词语,使语句结构显得紧凑.

1)省略名词 省略名词 He spoke for the first motion and against the second.(the second=the second motion) . = They are fine actors. Smith is the finest I've ever seen. . 有时,名词的省略出现在相同的名词之前. Cut off the first and last parts of the play, , and leave then middle.(the first=the first . = part of the play)

2)省略动词 省略动词 谈到动词的省略,典型的例子应首推培根关于读书的那段 名言. Some books are to be tasted,others (are) to be , swallowed, swallowed,and some few (are) to be chewed and digested. digested. 书有可浅尝者,有可尽食者,少数则需咀嚼消化. Jack needn't stay here,but George must. , . John won the first race and Jim (won) the second.

3)省略形容词 省略形容词 相比较而言,英语中省略形容词来避免重复的情 形,不如其他词类多. Robert seemed angry,and George certainly , was (angry). .

4)省略从句 省略从句 I did not notice it till too late.(=till it .= was too late) l must get it done whatever the cost.(= cost.(= whatever the cost may be) He gave the same answer as before.(= .= as he has given before)

为了回避词语的重复,人们通常采用以上这4种省略 手段.省略手段看似容易,因为有些内容可以略去不 表,其实不然,能够做到正确地省略,说明一个人句 子的运用能力已经达到纯熟的地步.有运用得当的省 略句更能显示出学习者英语的规范性,地道性.避免 重复是英语句子表达的一条原则.但是从词类的角度 看,重复的多是名词,动词和形容词这些实词,而词 义较抽象的代词,介词,助动词等虚词则不怕重复. 这样看来,英语句子是"避实就虚",而虚词的重复 常常是为了避免实词的重复.

4.避免重复与避免中式英语 .
避免重复这条原则对中国学生还有一层特殊的 意义.受汉语表达习惯的影响,中国学生用英 语表达思想时,常常不自觉地加上不必要的修 饰语.这些修饰语虽然在汉语中也是重复(如 "毫无根据的捏造 毫无根据的捏造"),但是它们显得自然, 毫无根据的捏造 符合汉语的表达习惯.可是,如果把这些修饰 语也译成英语,效果就适得其反了,既累赘, 又有失表达的准确.

例如:汉语中,我们可以说,"请给我们多提宝贵意 见",但是用英语表达时就不必说Please gives us your valuable opinions.别人能提出意见,建议, . 我们肯定应该认为是宝贵的,再用valuable一词就是 多余的,正确的说法应是Your opinions will be appreciated. . 还有一个典型的例子,在表达"他的病情好多了"这 一汉语句子时,中国学生往往说成His sick condition is much better.实际上,condition本身 . 就表示"疾病"(sickness,illness),所以句中的sick 也是一种无意义的重复,地道的表达方法是 His condition is much better.或者可以更简单地说 . He is much better. .

此外,在用英语表达汉语中的"吃饭","读 书","唱歌","付钱","换车"这些动 宾结构的概念时,中国学生往往把宾语表达出 来,而实际上,英语的有些动词本身已经含有 宾语所表示的意思,不言自明,一般是可以省 略的,加上宾语则有可能形成画蛇添足,说出 中国式的英语.现举例如下:

Have you heard (any news) from your daughter recently? Write (letters) to me often. . Dick was mad about books.He made notes while . he read (books). It's through train, you don't have to change (trains) anywhere. . He paid (money) to see the show. . 以上各例中,动词的宾语是不言而喻的.如果不是特别需 要强调,宾语可以省略.不省略,虽然符合语法规则,也 不构成理解错误,但是在表达方式上与标准的英语习惯用 法不符,影响语言的地道性.

在日常生活中, 在日常生活中,人类感知与认识最多最鲜明的物体是 植物.植物和人类的生活环境休戚相关, 植物.植物和人类的生活环境休戚相关,因此世界各 民族语言中都有用植物喻人的表现手法 都有用植物喻人的表现手法, 民族语言中都有用植物喻人的表现手法,英汉两种语 言也不例外. 言也不例外. 如在汉语中,我们经常见到人们用"眉如细柳" 如在汉语中,我们经常见到人们用"眉如细柳", 面似桃花" 口作樱桃红"等词语来描写美人. "面似桃花","口作樱桃红"等词语来描写美人. 又如可用"小辣椒"比喻性格泼辣的人, 又如可用"小辣椒"比喻性格泼辣的人,用"榆木疙 比喻脑瓜不灵活的人. 瘩"比喻脑瓜不灵活的人. 由于英,汉民族生活环境,思维方式等的不同, 由于英,汉民族生活环境,思维方式等的不同,英语 中用来喻人的植物与汉语也就不尽相同, 中用来喻人的植物与汉语也就不尽相同,这就需要我 们在阅读时加以辨别.下面是一些常见例子. 们在阅读时加以辨别.下面是一些常见例子.

1. She is a rose of loveliness.她是位可爱的美人.(玫 .她是位可爱的美人. 玫 美人) 瑰——美人 美人 My love's a red red rose. 用红玫瑰喻心上人. 用红玫瑰喻心上人 心上人. 2. I must say his latest girlfriend is a peach. 我得说 . 他新交的女朋友十分漂亮. 桃 美人) 他新交的女朋友十分漂亮.(桃——美人 美人 3. He is a peach to work with.他是个合作的好伙伴. .他是个合作的好伙伴. (桃——受人喜欢的人 受人喜欢的人) 桃 受人喜欢的人 Peach: (Informal) A particularly admirable or pleasing person or thing. 受人欢迎的人(或物) 极受 受人欢迎的人(或物) 尊敬或欢迎的人或事物

4. There were far more girls than boys at the dance so there were obviously several wallflowers. 来参加 . 舞会的女孩比男孩多得多, 舞会的女孩比男孩多得多,很显然有的女孩只有坐冷板凳 桂竹香——舞会上没有舞伴而坐着看的女子 舞会上没有舞伴而坐着看的女子) 了.(桂竹香 桂竹香 舞会上没有舞伴而坐着看的女子 5. She is a virgin, a most unspotted lily.她是个纯洁 lily. 的少女,一朵洁白无瑕的百合花. 百合花 百合花——纯洁的人 纯洁的人) 的少女,一朵洁白无瑕的百合花.(百合花 纯洁的人 6. He was the No.1 seed in the table-tennis championship.他是这届乒乓球锦标赛头号种子选手. .他是这届乒乓球锦标赛头号种子选手. (种子 种子——种子选手 种子选手) 种子 种子选手

7. A man of learning is supposed to be some pumpkins.学问高深的人常被认为是重要人物.(南瓜 南瓜— .学问高深的人常被认为是重要人物. 南瓜 —很重要的人物,通常用复数形式并与 很重要的人物, 连用) 很重要的人物 通常用复数形式并与some连用 连用 8. He is a real daisy.他是个顶呱呱的人物.(雏菊—— daisy.他是个顶呱呱的人物.(雏菊 雏菊—— 第一流的人物) 第一流的人物) 9. The country lost the flower of its youth in the war.那个国家在战争中失去了许多优秀青年.(花——精 .那个国家在战争中失去了许多优秀青年. 花 精 华)

10. I'll leave you two young people alone;I'm sure ; you don't want me to play gooseberry.你们两个年轻 . 人单独在一起吧,我敢肯定你们不希望我夹在你们中间. 人单独在一起吧,我敢肯定你们不希望我夹在你们中间. (醋栗 醋栗——[作]陪妇,这短语源自青年男女相聚时须有老妇 陪妇, 醋栗 作 陪妇 陪伴的古老习俗) 陪伴的古老习俗 11. Every weekend my husband goes off golfing;I'm ; tired "being a grass widow". 每个周末我的丈夫要去打 . 高尔夫球,我实在厌倦做"草地寡妇" 意思是他打高尔 高尔夫球,我实在厌倦做"草地寡妇".(意思是他打高尔 夫球,我被撂在一边的草地上孤独地无所适从,像个寡妇, 夫球,我被撂在一边的草地上孤独地无所适从,像个寡妇, 只有草地陪伴我). 只有草地陪伴我 . 12. She was stuck with a lemon on the dance floor.她 . 在舞场上被个讨厌的舞伴缠上了. 在舞场上被个讨厌的舞伴缠上了.(lemon是令人不满意或 是令人不满意或 者是有瑕疵的人或物,如次品的车子.在舞场上的次品上, 者是有瑕疵的人或物,如次品的车子.在舞场上的次品上, 一定是哪个傻乎乎的不讨她喜欢的家伙喽). 一定是哪个傻乎乎的不讨她喜欢的家伙喽 .

13. She is a Chaplin nut:She's seen all his films.她 : . 是卓别林的癖好者,凡他演的电影都看过. 是卓别林的癖好者,凡他演的电影都看过. 14. He shows a lot "strength for such a peanut".他 . 杀鸡用牛刀. 杀鸡用牛刀. 15. I asked him to speak at the meeting,but he did , not even attend;what a broken reed! 我让他在会上发 ; 他居然没来参加.真是个无可信赖的人. 言,他居然没来参加.真是个无可信赖的人.(broken reed 源自圣经以塞雅书,Isaiah 神把埃及比作 broken 源自圣经以塞雅书, 神把埃及比作a reed,人一旦依赖它,就会刺痛皮肉 . ,人一旦依赖它,就会刺痛皮肉).

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