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科技写作漫谈 (52):慎重使用指示代词 精选

已有 6726 次阅读 2009-11-4 07:55 |个人分类:科技写作|系统分类:科研笔记

代词通常用来代替名词,但有时候也能代替一个短语、一句话、甚至整个段落,像缩略词一样可以起到简化和避免重复的作用。在引导读者查找正确替代词(先行词)的过程中,作者应该考虑以下三个重要因素:

l         代词和指代对象之间是否存在对应关系是由读者来判断的。因此,读者对文章涉及主题的了解程度会影响查找过程,相关知识越少意味着更多的困惑。

l         如果指示对象离指示代词太远,就会脱离读者的记忆,错误的发生率就会高。

l         对理解文章而言,没有找到指代对象的危害要小于找到错误的指代对象,前者只是降低读者的理解程度,后者却将读者引入了歧途。

请试着判断下例中的“their”指代什么。三个备选对象都以黑体表示。如果能让句子结构清晰起来,问题便会迎刃而解。你可能觉得很难;如果觉得不难,就得问问你的专业知识为你的正确判断提供了多少帮助。

The cellular automaton (CA) cell, a natural candidate to model the electrical activity of a cell, is an ideal component to use in the simulation of intercellular communications, such as those occurring between cardiac cells, and to model abnormal asynchronous propagations, such as ectopic beats, initiated and propagated cell-to-cell, regardless of the complexity of THEIR patterns.

判断“their”所指代的复数名词非常困难,因为regardless of the complexity of THEIR patterns”这个短语可以在句子中变换位置,却仍然有意义。

to use in the simulation of intercellular communications, regardless of the complexity of their patterns

to model abnormal asynchronous propagations, regardless of the complexity of their patterns…

such as ectopic beats, regardless of the complexity of their patterns

“Communications”, “propagations” “beats” 都可能表现出复杂的形式。我们权且认为“their”在文中代表“abnormal asynchronous propagations”

可以采用不同的方法消除困惑。一是如果细节不重要,可以直接省略,或是将其置于段落的最后。这样可以将长句缩短7个单词。

The cellular automaton (CA) cell, a natural candidate to model the electrical activity of a cell, is an ideal component to use in the simulation of intercellular communications, such as those occurring between cardiac cells, and to model abnormal asynchronous propagations, such as ectopic beats, initiated and propagated cell-to-cell.

也可以改写为没有代词的句子。

The cellular automaton (CA) cell — a natural candidate to model the electrical activity of a cell — is an ideal component to use in the simulation of intercellular communications, such as those occurring between cardiac cells, and to model the cell-to-cell initiation and propagation of abnormal asynchronous events (such as ectopic beats) with or without complex patterns.

最后一种方法,重复使用名词本身,而不使用代词。

The cellular automaton (CA) cell, a natural candidate to model the electrical activity of a cell, is an ideal component to use in the simulation of intercellular communications, such as those occurring between cardiac cells, and to model abnormal asynchronous events, such as ectopic beats, initiated and propagated cell-to-cell, however complex the propagation pattern may be.

在科技论文中,清楚比优美更重要。因此,即使重复也要避免困惑。

摘编自《科技英语写作进阶》(任胜利, 莫京, 安瑞 . 科学出版社, 2009年出版)



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