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为什么英语句子读起来很简单 但自己写不出来?

英文写作中经常会遇到的一个问题是:很多句子明明读起来很简单,但自己怎么也写不出来。对这一问题浅显的解释是:这些句子只是表面上看起来很简单,但实际上里面包含很多知识点,如果阅读时关注点不对,就很容易错过它们。

葛传椝先生在《向学习英语者讲话》一书中提到了一个观点“语言是主要的东西”。很多人在阅读时更多关注内容本身。他们在读完一篇英语故事后很长一段时间内会记得故事的情节和主要人物,但很少关注文章的语言,这导致他们几乎记不住文章里面有哪些好词好句以及语法知识点。虽然阅读时只关注内容能让我们更快获取信息,但从语言学习的角度出发,这种阅读方式对写作和口语提升的帮助却很有限,因为整个过程中并没有多少语言知识点能够真正内化,为我们所用。

因此,要做到从“读得懂”到“写得出”的转变,关键还是要在阅读时多将关注点放在语言本身。举个例子:

Middle-aged men from disadvantaged backgrounds are twice as likely to be single as those from rich families, according to a new study.

上面这句话很容易理解:与那些来自富裕家庭的中年男人相比,贫困背景出身的中年男人单身的可能性是前者的两倍。但很多人这句话读完也就过去了,没有留意到一个看起来很简单句式:somebody is XX times as likely to do something as somebody,这是一个比较结构。实际上这一句式可以很方便地用在各种场合中,比如:

(1) Studies show that students in the city are three times as likely to go to college as their rural counterparts.

(2) Young peoplefrom poor backgrounds in the United States are twice as likely to end up behind bars as those from well-off families.

通常情况下,一篇英语文章不管看起来多简单,如果你仔细研究,里面肯定会有一些值得我们学习的知识点,而我们要做的就是找出这些知识点并将它们变成自己的东西(这也是精读的主要目的)。这里再举一个例子,来自The Economist的一个文章开头片段:

下面加标注的是所有值得注意的语言点:

BARUUD ABOKOR has lived in Baligubadle for the past four decades. Beforesettling in this remote Somali townabuttingthe border with Ethiopia, heroamedwidely."I was master of myself,"he says."The economy was good and I had many animals."Butover the yearssuccessive droughts, and war betweenthe breakaway region of Somalilandthat heinhabitsand the central governmentdown southin Mogadishu, havetaken their toll.His herd of more than100 sheep hasshrunk to a dozen. Somaliland, like elsewhere in the Horn of Africa, has this year suffered from the worst droughtin living memory. But Mr Abokor isstaying put.

(1)settle in somewhere是指“在某地安定下来”,例如我们可以说:In China, tens of millions of migrant workers have settled in big cities since the reform and opening-up policy was implemented three decades ago.

(2)abut是一个生词,它是指土地或者建筑物邻接,毗连(to be next to or touching an area or building),abut在这里用得很准。

(3)roam是指漫无目的闲逛,游荡。比如我们可以说:Parents should not let their children roam the streets because they may associate with the wrong crowd.

(4)I was master of myself.即“我以前是自己命运的主人”,注意这句话用的是过去时was,而不是am,这意味着主人公现在已经不能像以前那样决定自己的命运了(原因在下文有提到)。

(5)over the years看起来足够简单,但写作时能够用的人还真不多。它的含义是“这些年来”,例如:We have had a lot of fun over the years.这些年来我们过得很开心。

(6)successive droughts是指“连续不断的干旱”,要表达“连续三天下雪”,可以说:It snowed for three successive days.

(7)the breakaway region of Somaliland是指“(从索马里)脱离出去的索马里兰地区”。

(8)inhabit是“居住”的意思,但它比live更为正式。

(9) down south是指在某个国家或地区的南部

(10)something takes its toll(on something)是一个固定搭配,含义是“造成不利影响”,它可以用来代替have a negative effect on something,例如在写环境污染的话题时可以说:Car exhaust contributes to air pollution in the city, taking a toll on people's health.

(11)这里你仔细读的话会注意到his herd of more than100 sheep后面用的是has,而不是have,这里his herd of more than100 sheep是当成一个整体来理解,所以谓语动词用第三人称单数。

(12)in living memory是一个固定用法,含义是“在人们的记忆中”,例如:the coldest winter in living memory人们记忆中最寒冷的冬天

(13)stay put也是一个固定用法,含义是“留在原地不动”,例如:He chose to stay put while the rest of us toured the area.他选择留在原地,而我们剩下的其他人则在该地区参观。

做精读时可以按照上面的方法去分析学习,但同时要注意的一点是,这样的分析会比较耗时,如果对每篇文章都这样操作不太现实。一个比较好的方法是每天选择一两段文本做精读,掌握其中的知识点。平时泛读也要有留意语言点的习惯,而不仅仅是关注故事本身,这样才能真正学到东西。

责任编辑: 李韵   来源:英文悦读 转载请注明作者、出处並保持完整。

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