向英语学习者讲话 | Simply Didn’t Know 只是不曾知道

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Simply Didn’t Know
只是不曾知道

You have a fairly good knowledge of grammar. You have a vocabulary of three or four thousand words. You know one or two thousand idioms. You are rather careful about usage. You ought to be able to write fairly well.
你有相当好的语法知识。你有三千或四千个词的词汇量。你知道一千或两千个习语。你对于惯用法多少是仔细的。你应该能够写得相当好。

But are you1? If you are not2, why not3? One of your troubles, I think, is that you often cannot express what you want to say. You cannot4, but when you have seen your meaning expressed by someone who can express it, you will most probably say to yourself5 “That seems easy enough. I simply didn’t know.”
可你是否能够做到?要是你不能,为什么不能?我想你的困难之一是往往不能表达你所要说的话。你不能,可是当你看到你的意思被能表达它的人表达出来了,你大概会这么想:“那看起来很容易。我只是不曾知道。”

You are right. You simply didn’t know. Just a few common words arranged in a simple grammatical order by someone who is at home in6 English. That expresses your meaning, and yet you simply didn’t know which common words to choose and how to arrange them.
你是对的。你只是不曾知道。几个普通词只是被某个精通英语的人按照一个简单的语法次序排列起来,那就表达了你的意思,可是你不知道选择什么普通词和怎样去排列它们。

This is a very common trouble with Chinese learners of English. It is due to the fact that they do not read widely enough, nor carefully enough. There are thousands of useful expressions that are not generally considered idioms. They are so easy to understand that they are apt to be neglected7. But those who neglect them will forget them, and fail to use them when they need them.
这是中国英语学习者的一个很普遍的困难。这是因为他们读得不够广泛,也不够仔细。有几千个一般不被看作习语的有用的表达方式。它们很容易理解,所以易于被人忽略。可是忽略它们的人将会忘记它们,而且在需要的时候想不到用它们。

You cannot learn to write with much freedom of expression8 till you have laid in9 a stock of useful phrases and sentences, and you cannot do it without reading widely and carefully.
你在储藏了许多有用的短语和句子以前不能学到写作自如,而要储藏这些东西又非广泛而仔细的阅读不可。

NOTES

  1. But are you?=But are you able to write fairly well?
  2. not=not able to write well
  3. why not?=why are you not able to write fairly well?
  4. cannot=cannot express what you want to say
  5. say to yourself 想
  6. at home in 精通
  7. are apt to be neglected 易于被人忽略
  8. freedom of expression 表达的自由;写作自如
  9. laid in 储藏

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