This is not academic writing 學術文章不是這麼寫的
Not all articles written on academic topics are written in proper academic English. In this "This is not academic writing" column we examine short excerpts from academic texts to illustrate common writing errors and explain how to correct them.

Unacceptable 不被認可的文章

“The Demoiselle crane flies across the Himalayas in its migratory flights, some of the most ambitious flights of any migrating bird. Its wings are nearly six feet long and it flies 20,000 feet above the ground, winging its way north and south in the spring and autumn, respectively. The birds flock in large numbers, often several hundred, before flying off in military formation. Though the Demoiselle breeds exclusively, it sometimes chooses to congregate with other cranes. The bird’s numbers are sufficiently numerous to be considered unthreatened by extinction.”

This beautiful bird deserves to be beautifully written about. While the writing is not ugly, neither is it uplifting. Mostly it is imprecise. Using “Himalayas” as shorthand for Himalaya Mountains is slangy, at least in first reference. The crane’s wings are, in fact, not six feet long—its wingspan is that length, which is to say, wingtip to wingtip. Characterizing the birds as flocking in “large numbers” doesn’t stand up in comparison to migrating flocks of other birds that are numbered in the tens of thousands. And who, exactly, deems the Demoiselle unthreatened by extinction? What other shortcomings are evident in the writing?
簑羽鶴很優雅,描寫時也應該優雅一點。這段文章寫得不算笨拙,但也稱不上風範雍容。文章主要問題是用辭不精確,用縮寫 “Himalayas” 表示喜馬拉雅山脈 (“Himalaya Mountains”) 不夠正式,起碼第一次提到時不該用縮寫。此外,簑羽鶴的翅膀實際上沒有六呎長,應該說展翅時身長六呎,也就是兩翼尖相距六呎。還有,其他鳥類遷徙時,往往聚集成千上萬,相較之下,簑羽鶴遷徙時只聚集數百隻,實在稱不上 “large numbers”(大量)。最後,文章說簑羽鶴並未瀕臨絕種,究竟是從哪個標準來看?你還找得到文章其他問題嗎?

Acceptable 認可的文章

“The Demoiselle crane migrates across the Himalaya Mountains, a strenuous flight for any migrating bird. Its wingspan of nearly six feet can propel it to heights of more than 20,000 feet as it instinctively heads north and south in the respective seasons. The birds congregate in flocks of several hundred before taking their seasonal flights in militarily-precise formations. Though the Demoiselle is socially exclusive by nature, it sometimes chooses to congregate with other cranes. The Demoiselle is not considered threatened by extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.”

cron web_use_log