徐汉根 / 英语写作句型 / 如何通过阅读外刊积累英文写作句型?(25)

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如何通过阅读外刊积累英文写作句型?(25)

2019-02-27  徐汉根

这是“读外刊,学英文句型”栏目的第二十五期,关于该栏目第一期的说明可以见如何通过阅读外刊积累英文写作句型?

1.某事尚不确定

要表达“对……不确定,对……不明朗”,可以说:there is uncertainty about... 例如:There is considerable uncertainty about the company's future. 

除此之外,还可以参考下面的说法:

The big question-mark hangs over women in poor, high-fertility countries. By 2025 only 1% will live in places where the fertility rate is above 5.0; however, a hefty 32% will live in places where it is between 2.1 and 5.0, predicts the UN.

这段话的背景是目前发达国家的生育率在下降,但对于高生育率的贫困国家来说,未来的情况还不确定。其中question-mark本来是指“问号”,这里引申为“不确定的事物”。A question mark hangs over something/ there is a question mark over something 也是一个固定表达,意思是“对……不确定”。

举个例子,目前全球平均气温与第一次工业革命前相比已经提高了接近1摄氏度,考虑到目前很多国家仍然没有达到减排任务,控制全球变暖的前景仍不明朗。可以说:

The average global temperature has increased by about 1° Celsius since the first industrial revolution, and there is a big question-mark hanging over humanity's ability to stop global warming, given that most countries still fail to cut carbon emissions.

又比如苹果在最近公布了财报之后很多人对它的未来增长感到担忧,可以说:

A big question-mark hung over Apple's future growth after it released a disappointing financial report.

2.一个转折句型

下面的句子来自The Economist对于美国制造业的报道Making it in America

At first glance, the Foxconn reversal confirms that American manufacturing is in trouble. Consider the recent wobbles at other big firms with local factories. Electrolux, a Swedish white-goods giant, announced on January 31st that it is shutting down an oven-making plant in Memphis, Tennessee…A closer look, however, suggests manufacturing is undergoing a revival, especially among agile smaller firms and those using advanced techniques.

这段话的背景是富士康削减了在美国的电视机生产业务,这似乎表明美国制造业正处于困境中,但实际情况并没有那么糟糕。一些比较灵活的小公司或者技术先进的公司正在复苏。句子中有一个值得注意的说法:At first glance…A closer look, however, suggests… 这是一个很经典的转折句型:先用At first glance…来对上文提到的观点进行让步,然后用A closer look, however, suggests…来对反驳刚刚提到的观点。

举个例子,有这么一道雅思作文题:

Foreign visitors should pay more than local visitors for cultural and historical attractions. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

如果你认为外国游客应该付更多费用这一观点不合理,可以说:

At first glance, charging foreign tourists higher admission fees seems reasonable, as most cultural and historic monuments are restored and maintained using government funding, meaning that local people have already paid to these sites through the tax system. A closer look, however, suggests such an approach is at best short-sighted, at worst counterproductive.

除此之外,上面选段中第二句也值得注意: Consider the recent wobbles at other big firms with local factories.  这里Consider something 是一个举例用法,意思类似于 take the recent wobbles at other big firms with local factories for example,这是一个在议论文写作中很常见的用法,可以用于举例。

3.大不如前

怎样表达“某人或事物大不如前”?最简单的说法是:somebody/something is worse off 这里还有一个新的说法:

By the 1990s IBM was making losses and today it is a shadow of its former self. The firms that resulted from breaking up Standard Oil, including Exxon and Chevron, have, in total, smaller profits than it did relative to GDP.

第一句话的意思是“到了20世纪90年代IBM已经在亏损,今天它已经大不如前”。其中a shadow of its former self是一个固定说法,它的含义是“(力量或影响等)不如从前”(to be weaker, less powerful, or worse than you were before)。这是一个在外刊中经常出现的表达。例如《卫报》中有这样的句子:

在写发展类题材时可以灵活使用该表达,例如:

A decade ago Nokia was the undisputed leader in the global mobile industry, but now it is just a shadow of its former self. Its decline was mainly attributed to corporate bureaucracy and short-sightedness.

4.很难做……而不……

下面的句子选自The Economist对于英国的报道:Britain has fretted about decline before, but never like this

It is hard to look at British politics these days without worrying that this is a country in decline. In 1900 the British Empire covered two-thirds of the planet, the City of London reigned supreme, and Britain both imported and exported more than any other country. 

开头第一句的意思是:今天在看到英国政治的情况时,我们很难不担心这个国家正在走向衰落。从这句话中可以学习一个常见句型:It is hard to…without… 意思即:很难做……而不……  它可以用来表达某事物很常见,很有名等。例如BBC在报道人们对“健康步数”的狂热时,用了这么一句话:

These days it is hard to walk the streets without running into someone who is anxiously looking at their wrist to see if they are on target to reach the magic 10,000 steps.

又比如最近《流浪地球》很火,我们可以说:

It is hard to talk about Chinese science fiction these days without mentioning Liu Cixin, the author of The Wandering Earth, which has recently been adapted for cinema.


总结:

本期一共介绍了以下几个表达:

(1) A question mark hangs over something

(2) At first glance…A closer look, however, suggests…

(3) a shadow of its former self

(4) It is hard to…without…

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