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移除多餘英文詞句策略:英文虛主詞It的正確用法

作者: Steve Wallace


發布日期: 2021 / 2 / 19,

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移除多餘英文詞句策略:英文虛主詞It的正確用法

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「刪除冗字」是William Strunk和E.B. White在其有關增進文筆的經典作品《The Elements of Style》中提出的其中一個基本創作原則。

 

銘記這個建議可以為正在準備繳交發表科學論文的您,提供極大的幫助,而要消除英文文句中的冗字,進而讓「每一個字都有意義」有好幾種方式,我們可以從填補句型「It is known that」開始。

 

如何避免過度使用“it”來精簡英文句子

 

雖然填補句型也是好文筆的一環,但是使用填補句型常常會造成過長的句子,有時甚至會混淆讀者。

 

請參考以下範例:

 

This result indicated that the N and O atoms of the ligand were coordinated to the metal ion. It is known that the coordination mode of a carboxylate ion to a metal can be estimated from…

 

有些讀者可能會在看到It is known that的時候停下來,一時把虛主詞it誤解為metal iron,因為它是離it最近的單數名詞。為避免此誤解以及去除不必要的單字,句子可以改為:

 

This result indicated that the N and O atoms of the ligand were coordinated to the metal ion. The coordination mode of a carboxylate ion to a metal can be estimated from…

 

有關虛主詞It常見謬義,我也列舉了以下幾個範例。

 

原句:

 

It is known that most analogs with this general formula exhibit cross-resistance.

 

修改後:

 

Most analogs with this general formula are known to exhibit cross-resistance.

 

或是

 

Most analogs with this general formula exhibit cross-resistance.

 

原句:

 

It is known that the two species are anionic and that they form an ion pair with an organic cation.

 

修改後:

 

The two species are anionic, and they form an ion pair with an organic cation.

 

原句:

 

It is known that Henry’s law constants have temperature dependence.

 

修改後:

 

Henry’s law constants depend on temperature.

 

原句:

 

It is known that the translational diffusion of the molecule is much faster than that predicted by the Stokes–Einstein equation.

 

修改後:

 

The translational diffusion of the molecule is much faster than that predicted by the Stokes–Einstein equation.

 

原句:

 

It is generally thought that its therapeutic effect is triggered by…

 

修改後:

 

Its therapeutic effect is generally thought to be triggered by…

 

原句:

 

It should be noted that the former method has an advantage over the latter.

 

修改後:

 

Note that the former method has an advantage over the latter.

 

或是

 

The former method has an advantage over the latter.

 

原句:

 

It is also reported that diffusion is exceptionally slow.

 

修改後:

 

Diffusion is reported to be exceptionally slow.

 

或是

 

Diffusion is exceptionally slow.

 

當您因為學術期刊字數要求,必須縮短摘要篇幅的時候,這些簡單的修改會非常有幫助。因此,您可以在繳交論文之前快速瀏覽文章中的it is,並做出適當修改,特別是緊跟在英文單數名詞後面的it。

 

參考資料:

Strunk, William, and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, 3d ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1979), p. 23.

 

For some excellent examples of the usefulness of expletive constructions, see what Joseph M. Williams refers to as “it-shifts” in Style: Toward Clarity and Grace (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), p. 72.

 

For a more-extensive discussion of this problem, and other problems with “it is,” see Bryan A. Garner, Garner’s Modern American Usage, 3d. ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 484.

 

額外相關閱讀推薦:

  1. 英文冠詞文法:如何正確的使用“the”、“a”
  2. 學術英文寫作文法:a、an、the 不定冠詞與定冠詞的差異與正確用法
  3. 英文文法中,正確的使用介係詞:At、By、For、From、On
  4. Said、Mention、State的多種英文表達:「說」這個動詞的使用方法
  5. 在翻譯時被省略的英文主詞該如何處理?
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