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段落的展开法II

2006-02-09 00:00

  6.类比和对比

  类比和对比是写作中常用的方法。

  严格地说,类比用于指出同一范畴的事物之间或者几个人之间的相似之处,而对比则用于指出他(它)们之间的不同之处。但实际上,类比和对比常常同时使用,原因是人们在议论两个人或事物时,往往既提出二者的相同之处,又注意到他(它)们之间的差异所在。

  可通过两种不同的做法,用类比和对比的方法展开段落。第一种称为整体类比或整体对比法,即在阐述完一件事物的特点之后,再摆出与之相比的另一件事物的全部特点。需要注意的是,进行类比或对比的两件事物的方法应一致,顺序应相同,否则就会相互脱离不成对比。第二种作法称为交替类比或交替对比法,即逐条比较或对比两个人或两种事物的特点。

  比较法中有一种比较特殊的形式被称为比拟。即把属于两个不同范畴的事物的相似之处加以比较。请看下例:

  Electricity is transferred from one place to another in much the same manner as water. A water pipe performs the same function as a length of wire. The pipe carries water to its point of use in the same manner as wire carries electricity to its point of use. A blown fuse results from the same thing as a burst water pipe. Both give out due to extreme pressure applied to the walls of the carrier. A switch is to electricity what a faucet is to water. Both of them control the flow of the substance. Since electricity and water have some common properties, understanding the job of the plumber will help understanding the work of the electrician.

  --John Brower

  "A is to B what C is to D"是一个很典型的比较句型,意思是"A对于B来说就如同C对于D一样……".大家可以揣摩一下这个经典句型的用法。

  Today's Recommend:

  Some old people are oppressed by the fear of death…The best way to overcome it-so at least it seems to me-is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river-small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being. The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue…

  --Bertrand Russell

  从上面的段落中我们可以看到,作者用河流比喻人生十分精辟。人生与河流是两个完全不同的概念,而作者通过用这个比拟把一些深奥难懂的道理明明白白地阐述出来,从而给人留下了难忘的印象。

  7. 原因和结果

  分析原因和结果,要力求理由充足,逻辑性强。事件发生的原因往往不止一个,在进行分析时,要尽量做到讨论全面和选材缜密。

  主要可通过两种方法,以原因和结果展开段落。第一种是先写出结果,再占用主要篇幅一一写出原因。例如,中心句子是:"在过去几年里,高等教育对于年轻人来说不再象从前那样受到重视了。"这里说的是一种后果,接下来应该逐条讨论产生这种后果的原因,如竞争过于激烈,就业相对容易,高等院校所授课程偏于陈旧等等。

  第二种方法是先叙述原因,再写出或预测其后果。例如,某一段落的中心句是:"占良田盖楼房的现象在中国越来越严重。"在下面的篇幅里应该写出这一现象引出的种种后果,如农业减产,环境污染加剧,农民大量涌入城市等等。请看下例:

  One might wonder why, after the Norman Conquest, French did not become the national language, replacing English entirely. The reason is that the Conquest was not a national migration, as the earlier Anglo-Saxon invasion has been. Great numbers of Normans came into England, but they came as rulers and landlords. French became the language of the court, the language of the nobility, the language of the public society, the language of literature. But it did not replace English as the language of the people. There must always have been hundreds if towns and villages in which French was never heard except when visitors of high station passed through.

  --Paul Roberts

  上面这段话的首句(即中心句)提出了一个问题,即诺尔曼人对英国的征服为什么没有象预想的那样把英国变成一个讲法语的国家?这一问题点出了诺尔曼人征服英国的一种后果,接下来各句则解释其原因,就中心句子展开讨论。

  8.分类

  分类就是根据事物的特点分别归类。我们对各种人或事物进行分类,如树木,河流,城市,公司,大学生等等。我们根据他(它)们的共性和差别分类,比如我们给河流的分类可按它们的宽度、长度和深度的相近和差别来进行。

  使用分类方法展开段落的关键在于把握好类别的对应性。例如,我们可以把各种体育活动分成田径、游泳、球类、体操等几大类。但是如果把它们分成跳高、球类、跑步、体操和自由泳等几类,我们就破坏了事物类别的平行性。因为,在这个例子里,球类和体操本身是两大类别,而跳高、跑步、自由泳是别的大类里的具体项目,彼此不能混为一谈。因此,在分类时,要注意事物类别对应,不能把不同类别的事物交错在一起。

  在下面的段落里,作者把藏书分为三类,然后逐一加以描述:

  There are three kinds of book owners. The first has all the standard sets and best-sellers-unread, untouched. (This deluded individual owns woodpulp and ink, not books.) The second has a great many books-a few of them read through, most of them dipped into, but all of them as clean and shiny as the day they were bought. (This person would probably like to make books his own, but is restrained by a false respect for their physical appearance.) The third has a few books or many - every one of them dog-eared and dilapidated, shaken and loosened by continual use, marked and scribbled in from front to back. (This man owns books.)

  --Mortimer J. Adler

  9. 定义

  有时,为了避免对一个不熟悉的、多义的词、术语或概念产生疑问或误解,需要阐明它的定义。

  给一个词或一个术语下定义的基本方式有三种:用一个同义词;或用一句话;或写一个段落,甚至写一篇论文。例如:"修长即是细长",这是用一个同义词下定义。"粮栈是储存粮食的地方",这是用一句话下定义。但是,我们常常会遇到含义复杂、意思抽象的词语或概念这时不得不用一个段落甚至一篇论文来阐明它的定义。还需运用举例、比较、比拟、分类和原因和结果等方法才能使读者对其定义有一个明晰完整的了解。

  给一个词语或概念下定义时要注意以下几点:

  (1)要避免循环定义。例如:"天文学家是指研究天文学的学者"就是属于循环定义。循环定义仅是一种简单的重复,达不到阐明内涵的目的。

  (2)在给意思抽象的词语或概念下定义时,要避免仅列出一系列同义词的做法。例如,有一个段落是这样开头的:"什么是想象力呢?我认为它是大脑对事物形成印象的能力,是产生新思想的能力,是在写作中运用形象的能力,是在知觉材料的基础上经过新的配合而创造出新形象的能力,……。"明眼人一看就知道,作者从词典里找出了一组定义并把它们罗列在一起,期望其中的某一个定义能被读者所接受。这种下定义的方法不但枯燥死板,而且没有把"想象力"这一含义复杂的词语的内涵充分发掘出来,因而是不可取的。

  (3)要避免带有个人成见的定义。定义应该是客观的,贴近实际情况的,不应含有感情色彩。例如,"国有企业即高消耗低效率企业"是带有明显贬义的定义,而"国有企业是工人当家做主的样板"则是带有偏爱色彩的定义。这两类定义可以作为辩论中的论点提出,但作为定义是不恰当的。

  什么样的定义才识好的和客观的呢?请看下例:

  A kachina doll is a small, carved, wooden, human like representation of the supernatural beings worshiped by the Hopi Indians. Kachinas are not gods: as their name denotes, ka for respect and china for spirit, they are respected spirits of the dead, of mineral, plant, bird, animal, and human entities. Kachinas are not gods, but rather they are intermediaries or messengers to the gods. In the polytheistic Hopi society, all plants and animals, as well as some inanimate things, have spirits which the Hopi visualize in human form. When a Hopi goes to gather yucca roots to use as shampoo, he prays to the spirit of the first plant he finds and passes it by gathering the second one. When he goes hunting, he prays to the spirit of the game and apologizes for having to take its life. Thus the spirits of men, animals, and plants are the kachinas most often carved into kachina dolls.

  --Dean McConahay

  10. 几种方法的综合

  前几期我们介绍了展开段落的多种方法。有时在一个段落中使用一种方法就够了。但是,有的作者为了进一步阐明观点并给读者留下深刻的印象,也常常在一个段落中同时使用几种方法,使内容更加丰富有趣。请看下例:

  Kin-tay often told Kizzy stories about himself. He said that he had been near his village in Africa, chopping wood to make a drum, when he had been set upon by four men, overwhelmed, and kidnapped into slavery. When Kizzy grew up and became a mother, she told her son these stories, and he in turn would tell his children. His granddaughter became my grandmother, and she pumped that saga into me as if it were plasma, until I knew by rote the story of the African, and the subsequent generational wending of our family through cotton and tobacco plantations into the Civil War and then freedom.

  --Alex Haley

  我们可以明显看到:作者在上一段里使用了两种写作方法,即按时间展开法与按原因和结果展开法。下面再看一个例子:

  The Eastern religious movements [in the United States] are made up almost exclusively of white, educated, middle- and upper-middle-class young people. Most have at least begun college, although some have dropped out after one year or two. Men and women seem to participate in fairly equal numbers, but men control the leadership groups. There is no predominance of any particular regional background, although more of the devotees seem to come from urban than from rural areas, probably because the movements are generally based in cities.

  --Harvey Cox

  上面的段落用了不少细节来描述第一句的内容,同时也使用了分类法。例如指出宗教积极分子有大学生也有辍学者,有男也有女,有来自城市的也有来自农村的等等。

  Today's Recommend:

  But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

  In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

  But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

  --节选自Martin Luther King Jr.-《I Have a Dream》

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