向英语学习者讲话 | How to Say It 怎样表达这个意思

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How to Say It
怎样表达这个意思

Your question is not what to say but how to say it. You may often have an idea or a thought that you do not know how to express. For instance, you may not be able to express the idea of the glass tube measuring temperature1 if you do not happen to know the word “thermometer”. To take another example, suppose you wish to apply for a position2 that requires the applicants to apply in written English, but you feel you cannot do so. Now suppose you ask a friend to write the letter for you, and he writes it. You read it and understand it all right. You come to realize that3 you did not think of arranging those simple words in that simple order. You did have something to say, but you did not know how to say it! Hence the importance of studying composition4.
你的问题不是说什么而是怎样说。你也许时常有不知道怎样表达一个概念或一个思想的时候。举例来说,假使你恰巧不知道“thermometer”这个词,你可能不能表达量温度的那个玻璃管(温度计)的概念。另举一例,假定你被要求用书面英语来申请一个职位,但你觉得自己做不到。假定你请一个朋友代你写了那封信。你读了信并且理解到位。你认识到自己不曾想到把那些简单的词按照简单的次序来安排。你的确有话要说,可是你不知道怎样来说!所以学习写作很有必要。

As a matter of fact5, many of the ideas and thoughts you often have occasion to express6 have already been expressed by others before you. Read any page in any book carefully, and you will perhaps find some expressions that will help you to say things. Many such expressions may seem to you to be too simple to deserve much attention, but the fact is that you cannot invent them, nor can you use them unless you have noted them7. There appear to be many Chinese learners of English who have read a number of books on grammar and composition and done many exercises in correcting and improving sentences and yet cannot write even tolerable8 English. The trouble is that they may either not have read widely enough or not have read carefully enough or not have committed to memorize enough words, phrases and sentences that they may have found too easy to understand to be worth remembering.
事实上,你时常需要表达的概念和思想,有许多在之前就已经被人表达过了。随便找本书挑一页仔细阅读,你大概会找到几个能帮助你表达事物的表达方式。这种表达方式中有许多可能由你看来太过简单而不值得多加注意,可事实却是:你不可能创造它们,要是你不曾注意它们,也就不能使用它们。有许多中国的英语学习者读过不少语法书和作文书,也作过改正句子和改写句子的习题,可是他们连过得去的英语都写不出。症结所在是:他们或许读得不够广泛,或许读得不够仔细,或许不曾把足够的、曾经认为太容易理解而不值得牢记的词、短语和句子记入心中。

NOTES

  1. the glass tube measuring temperature 即thermometer(温度计)的一种解释说法
  2. apply for a position 申请工作岗位
  3. you come to realize that … 你开始认识到
  4. Hence the importance of studying composition 所以有研究作文的重要性
  5. As a matter of fact 其实
  6. have occasion to express 有表达的需要
  7. unless you have noted them 除非你已经注意它们
  8. tolerable 过得去的

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