Chapter 3 Making correct and effective sentences
We write sentences to express ideas. The use of words in a sentence, therefore, is decided by the idea it expresses. Needless words do not help express ideas; on the contrary, they obscure the meaning and confuse the reader. So one of the rules of sentence-making is to use only the necessary words, or as few words as possible so long as the meaning is fully expressed.
But often we tend to put a superfluous多余的
word here and there in a sentence. This habit may come from the way we talk. It is common in speaking to repeat a word, use words of similar meaning together, and change words we have said and even the structure of a sentence in the middle of it. But we should not do so in writing. This is possible because when we write we have time to check what we have written and delete all the words that are not
needed for the expression of ideas, or to make our sentences concise.
Here are a few hints for making concise and clear sentences;
A, Use a pronoun instead of repeating a noun; B, Use a word instead of a phrase with the
same meaning, and use a phrase instead of a
clause with the same meaning
C, Do not repeat words or phrases, if possible, in a sentence or in one that follows; D, Do not use different words or phrases with similar meanings in the same sentence; E, Do not repeat the same idea in different
sentences except for emphasis.
When we talk, we emphasize an important idea by raising our voices or making a gesture. When we write, we also have ways to lay emphasis on certain words or phrases.
The end and the beginning of a sentence usually attract the reader’s attention, so
important elements of a sentence should be put at these tao places, especially the end. Climactic sequence
In enumerating列举 things or ideas, we
should start from the least important and end
with the most important, or in the climactic高潮
The use of verbs in the active voice
Verbs are generally more emphatic than nouns or any other part of speech.
We have talked about subordination and coordination. Subordinating a part of a sentence is a way of giving emphasis to the main idea in the sentence.
Repeating important words
Repetition as a rule should be avoided, but occasionally important words can be repeated for the sake of emphasis.
Short sentences are often emphatic, especially after longer ones.
A balanced sentence is one that consists of two parts of the same structure and roughly the same length, and with contrasted(or similar) ideas.
A periodic sentence is one that is not complete in structure or meaning until it reaches the last word, which is the most important word of the sentence.
A sentence in which the main clause or its predicate is withheld until the end; for example,
Despite heavy winds and nearly impenetrable ground fog, the plane landed safely. 尽管有强风和无法看透的地雾;飞机安全着
When we read this sentence we are not kept in suspense for the main meaning, as we are when reading the periodic one, and we fell its
force is weaker. But the loose sentence may sound more natural and may be easier to understand.
When a negative statement is followed by a positive one, the meaning is emphasized by the contrast.
They are questions in form but emphatic statements in meaning. They are not asked to be answered.
A series of sentences of the same structure and length with the same noun or pronoun as the subjects produce monotony. It is often good to vary structures and mix short and long, simple and compound or complex, loose and periodic sentences, so long as the meaning is properly expressed.