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英文论文写作过程中常见的12个错误(二)

发表时间:2016-01-27

5. Unclear pronoun reference

All pronouns must clearly refer to definite referents [nouns]. Use it, they, this, that, these, those, and which carefully to prevent confusion.

Unclear:

Einstein was a brilliant mathematician. This is how he was able to explain the universe.

Clear:

Einstein, who was a brilliant mathematician, used his ability with numbers to explain the universe.

Unclear:

Because Senator Martin is less interested in the environment than in economic development, he sometimes neglects it.

Clear:

Because of his interest in economic development, Senator Martin sometimes neglects the environment.

6. Incorrect pronoun case

Determine whether the pronoun is being used as a subject, or an object, or a possessive in the sentence, and select the pronoun form to match.

Incorrect:

Castro's communist principles inevitably led to an ideological conflict between he and President Kennedy.

Correct:

Castro's communist principles inevitably led to an ideological conflict between him and President Kennedy.

Incorrect:

Because strict constructionists recommend fidelity to the Constitution as written, no one objects more than them to judicial reinterpretation.

Correct:

Because strict constructionists recommend fidelity to the Constitution as written, no one objects more than they [do] to judicial reinterpretation.

7. Omitted commas

Use commas to signal nonrestrictive or nonessential material, to prevent confusion, and to indicate relationships among ideas and sentence parts.

Incorrect:

When it comes to eating people differ in their tastes.

Correct:

When it comes to eating, people differ in their tastes.

Incorrect:

The Huns who were Mongolian invaded Gaul in 451.

Correct:

The Huns, who were Mongolian, invaded Gaul in 451.

["Who were Mongolian" adds information but does not change the core meaning of the sentence because Huns were a Mongolian people; this material is therefore nonrestrictive or nonessential.]

For more information on commas see Commas: Punctuating Restrictive and Non-restrictive Modifiers and Punctuating Coordinating Conjunctions and Sentence Adverbs, or take one of the free grammar, style, and style classes offered by the Writing Center.

8. Superfluous commas

Unnecessary commas make sentences difficult to read.

Unclear:

Field trips are required, in several courses, such as, botany and geology.

Clear:

Field trips are required in several courses, such as botany and geology.

Unclear:

The term, "scientific illiteracy," has become almost a cliche, in educational circles.

Clear:

The term "scientific illiteracy" has become almost a cliche in educational circles.

For more information on commas see Commas: Punctuating Restrictive and Non-restrictive Modifiers and Punctuating Coordinating Conjunctions and Sentence Adverbs, or take one of the free grammar, style, and style classes offered by the Writing Center.

9. Comma splices

Do not link two independent clauses with a comma (unless you also use a coordinating conjunction: and, or, but, for, nor, so, yet).

Instead use a period or semicolon, or rewrite the sentence.

Comma splice:

In 1952 Japan's gross national product was one third that of France, by the late 1970s it was larger than the GNPs of France and Britain combined.

Correct:

In 1952 Japan's gross national product was one third that of France. By the late 1970s it was larger than the GNPs of France and Britain combined.

Comma splice:

Diseased coronary arteries are often surgically bypassed, however half of all bypass grafts fail within ten years.

Correct:

Diseased coronary arteries are often surgically bypassed; however, half of all bypass grafts fail within ten years.

For more information on commas see Commas: Punctuating Restrictive and Non-restrictive Modifiers and Punctuating Coordinating Conjunctions and Sentence Adverbs, or take one of the free grammar, style, and style classes offered by the Writing Center.

10. Apostrophe Errors

Apostrophes indicate possession for nouns ("Jim's hat," "several years' work") but not for personal pronouns (its, your, their, and whose). Apostrophes also indicate omissions in contractions ("it's" = "it is"). In general, they are not used to indicate plurals.

Incorrect:

In the current conflict its uncertain who's borders their contesting.

Correct:

In the current conflict it is [it's] uncertain whose borders they are [they're] contesting.

Incorrect:

The Aztecs ritual's of renewal increased in frequency over the course of time.

Correct:

The Aztecs' rituals of renewal increased in frequency over the course of time.Got the hang of it? Take our apostrophe self-test! Still unsure? For more information and examples, check out our grammar and styleFAQ.

11. Words easily confused

"Effect" is most often a noun (the effect), and "affect" is almost always a verb.Other pairs commonly confused: "lead"/"led" and "accept"/"except." Check a glossary of usage to find the right choice.

Incorrect:

The recession had a negative affect on sales.

Correct:

The recession had a negative effect on sales. (or) The recession affected sales negatively.

Incorrect:

The laboratory instructor chose not to offer detailed advise.

Correct:

The laboratory instructor chose not to offer detailed advice.

12. Misspellings

Spelling errors are usually perceived as a reflection of the writer's careless attitude toward the whole project.

Don't allow your hard work to be marred in this way! In addition to comprehensive dictionaries, you may want to use electronic spell checks, spelling dictionaries, and lists of frequently misspelled words found in handbooks.