6 Essential Rules for Persuasive Writing # 2 – Believe 發揮寫作說服力的六大準則之二:宣示信念

不管是自己選擇或教授指定,若要寫作論說式學術文章,必須先做好心理準備。你必須說明個人意見,選定觀點也很重要,結構與表達尤其攸關文章成敗。本專欄介紹六大關鍵準則,讓你寫作時發揮說服力,每項準則都會刊登在 TPS 粉絲專頁,並在最後集結於 TPS 學術電子報。
Whether by choice or assignment, when an argumentative academic paper is the task at hand, the writer must approach it with an appropriate mindset. Subjective values come into play. Point of view becomes important. Organization and presentation become even more critical to success. The elements of successful persuasive writing are explained in this series, “6 Essential Rules for Persuasive Writing.” Each of the rules will be presented on the TPS Fan page before being compiled.

Rule # 2 – Believe

More so than some writing projects, persuasive papers must be grounded in conviction. That is, having academic interest in a subject is not sufficient commitment to a written argument, if convincing a reader is the goal. A persuasive writer must believe a thesis to be true, because some readers surely will not. Merely striking a supportive stance—posturing, in a word—is not persuasive, because insincerity inevitably leaks through to undermine any points being made.

So the required mindset is belief. You must openly believe what you are espousing in a persuasive paper. This is difficult for some writers, who have been taught the virtue of objectivity and academic distance in their expository writing. While emotional appeals are not appropriate, fervent factual espousal of a doctrine, policy, or finding is absolutely OK. Stridency can be a turnoff, but resolute testimony is not. Do not be of two minds about your subject.

Having and expressing convictions in a paper should not be a stretch for a serious academic writer. After all, you are immersing yourself in academics precisely because you appreciate the power of the mind. Papers written to persuade bring all of that power to bear including the considerable energy unleashed by imagination and fresh thinking. Combined with courage, these intellectual assets are the tools for changing the world, one mind at a time. Believe you can.

Last Update at 2012-11-09 PM 12:45 | 0 Comments

1105 TPS Finish the Sentence Contest-Answer and Explanation你是接龍的高手嗎? 正確解答!

Answer: We believe the sentence is best completed this way:

“The commissioner found the sentiment expressed by the girl disagreeable, partly because the girl’s voice was as whiny as a molly in a cage.”

Public officials are not to be pitied. They generally do all right. But it is true that they must endure conversations with all kinds of people. In this instance, a commissioner admits that the unpleasantly stressed voice of a young woman is not helping her cause. In describing the voice as that of “a molly in a cage,” the writer compares it to a female cat that is loudly objecting to being in an enclosed container of some sort. The keening, incessant cries of a cat in such a situation indeed can be noisome, even though the animal may be a favorite and otherwise quite loveable. By the same token, the appeal of the young woman might be valid, but her presentation is not winning her points. The description is apt in explaining the commissioner’s reaction.
公務員不需要人憐憫,他們通常過得蠻不錯的;不過他們確實得和各式各樣的人打交道。這個句子中,一位長官承認年輕女子尖銳的聲音令人不舒服,無法幫她解決問題。本句以「a molly in a cage」形容女子的聲音,就像母貓被關起來而放聲大叫的聲音。儘管貓咪可能很討人喜歡,平常也很可愛,但如果被關起來,持續不斷尖叫也是很可怕的。同樣地,這位年輕女子儘管很有魅力,但她的表現卻不會為她加分。這句話恰如其分地解釋了長官的反應。

Last Update at 2012-11-06 AM 10:32 | 0 Comments

1105 TPS Finish the Sentence Contest-Win Your NTD200 Eslite Bookstore and Shopping Mall Gift Certificate! 你是接龍的高手嗎? 有機會獲得200元誠品圖書商場購物禮卷!

怎麼寫出好句子沒有標準答案,不過起碼我們知道,優秀的句子每個環節都很完美。下面有一句未完成的句子,請用五個字以內完成句子接龍,寫出完整的句子。最先完成句子,並寫出最佳解答的一位TPS 粉絲,將獲得兩百元誠品圖書商場購物禮卷;另增設特別獎一名,頒給符合文意又別具創意的粉絲。接龍解答與獲獎粉絲姓名將在明天公布於本 TPS 專頁,敬請密切鎖定、先睹為快!
No formula exists for the writing of a superior sentence, but this much is known: The best sentence has no weak part. The following sentence is incomplete. In five or fewer words, complete the sentence in a way that strengthens the whole of it. The first TPS Fan to complete the sentence as we believe it is best completed will win a NTD200 Eslite Bookstore and Shopping Mall Gift Certificate. Another Eslite certificate will be awarded to the first Fan to complete it in an alternate way that, in our estimation, also is effective. The explanation and the names of the winners will be published tomorrow on this TPS Fans page.

題目Contest Sentence:

“The commissioner found the sentiment expressed by the young woman disagreeable, partly because her voice was as whiny as __ __ __ __ __.”

Last Update at 2012-11-06 AM 10:30 | 0 Comments

What does that mean? 你真的瞭解這個慣用語嗎?

Imagery buries itself in language and takes on new meaning. The transplanted and transformed word or set of words is called a “figure of speech.” For a figure of speech to be effective, however, a writer must first understand the original meaning of the word or phrase. The following sentence contains a common figure of speech. Its original meaning is explained.

“When the provocative suggestion was made a second time, the committee voted to sidestep the entire issue by leaving the matter to the discretion of the chairman.”

When an object too large to ignore suddenly appears in the path of a walking person, the person “sidesteps” it. Sometimes this movement necessarily occurs suddenly because the object—a rolling ball—appears without warning and the walker must dart to the side, as agile bodies are capable of doing. Sometimes the object has been there all along—say, a hole—but the person only notices it at the last minute and must step sideways to avoid it. The idea is to continue in the same general direction by momentarily changing direction in an evasive movement.

When the writer refers to a committee that “sidesteps” an issue, he alludes to this physical act. The committee didn’t stand up from the boardroom table and in unison take a step to one side or the other. Rather, it figuratively avoided addressing an awkward matter by voting to go around it temporarily. The issue was handed (again, figuratively) to the committee chairman for resolution outside the meeting. The vote accomplished two things: (1) The committee was able to continue ahead with its discussion, and (2) the issue was addressed tangentially. Sidesteps are convenient.
作者提到議會成員「sidesteps」(避開)議題的這個行為,也就是倘若議會在討論時並未挺身而出,甚至全體避免傾向某個立場或選邊站,他們會象徵性的避免直接面對某項難決的議題,而是採取投票制來暫時避開此議題。這項議題又(再度象徵性的)回到主席身上,等待會議外來解決。投票的行為意味著兩件事: 1.議會可以繼續進行討論議程。2.這項議題被輕描淡寫的帶過。遇到難解的議題,先避開它是非常便利的手法。

Last Update at 2012-11-02 AM 10:55 | 0 Comments

Professor Pedantic 教授的考究學問

The professor awaits your query on academic writing, though in all honesty, he doesn’t have a lot of time for you. He is a tenured full professor and working on yet another magnificent academic tome. Even so, he has graciously consented to entertain your question. Submit it and prepare to be edified.

QUESTION: I am working hard to master use of English in my academic writing, but I find it very difficult not to write what I call “Chinese English.” Are there any sure methods to learning English composition that is acceptable to a native English writer?

Let me stipulate that the struggle you are having is an admirable one: You want to master a foreign language. The only people who fail in life are those who strive to learn and grow as individuals. It is certain that a person who is content to be fluent in his native language is never going to be embarrassed by his attempts to learn a second one. So, congratulations to you for being willing to risk failure in order to improve yourself. This progressive mindset is sure to help you as an academic as you explore the intellectual edges of current thought and assumptions.

But as a practical matter, it is frustrating to methodically translate a thought into another language and then learn that you have expressed yourself awkwardly or in a way that distracts from the thought being expressed. So-called “chinglish” is the result, the merging of Chinese and English into something puzzling to a native English speaker. Some of the problem is linguistics. The nuances of the English language, such as the forms a takes in varying usages, trip up even experienced Chinese-English translators. English is not an easy language to learn.

But Mandarin and Cantonese are not easy, so learning English is doable. I will suggest two ways to master composition in the English language (recognizing that British English and American English are not in perfect harmony). First, study English-speaking culture as much as English words. Language draws upon cultural assumptions. The more you understand the framework of a language, the more easily you can frame your thoughts compatibly. Second, have your papers critiqued by a native English speaker. Better that he, rather than a professor, embarrasses you.

Last Update at 2012-11-02 AM 10:53 | 0 Comments

1029 TPS Verbalize Contest-Answer and Explanation你能找出關鍵的動詞嗎? 正確解答!

Answer: “When the children swing the jump rope to their left using their left hands, the central arc of the cord ripples more than when the rope is swung to the right using their right hands.”

Sometimes people have subtly different functional levels in left-side and right-side physical manipulation. In this instance, a jumping rope brought out some apparent differences in coordination of its handlers. In saying that the leftward rotation “ripples” the arc more than when the rope is rotated right, the writer describes a smooth path becoming a bucking one, like still water becoming choppy. Some other “r” verbs will work—such as ravels and ricochets. However, few other words describe as well the image of an arc, which by definition is smooth and unbroken, becoming irregular in its motion. The key word to consider then is arc, which is smooth. A rippled surface is not smooth. Superior sentences pull together all their elements.

Last Update at 2012-10-30 AM 11:06 | 0 Comments

1029 TPS Verbalize Contest-Win Your NTD200 7-11/Starbucks Prize! 你能找出關鍵的動詞嗎?有機會獲得200元 7-11/星巴克咖啡禮券!

The sentence below is missing a verb. However, the first letter of the verb is provided. Insert a word that starts with the given first letter and best fits the tenor of the sentence, and then defend your word choice in five or fewer words. The first TPS Fan to respond with the judge’s choice of verb—or the most effective alternate verb— will win a ¬¬¬NTD 200 Starbucks Gift Certificate. The name of the winner will be published tomorrow on this TPS Fans page. Good luck!
以下句子缺少動詞,請加入一個最符合句子意思且符合空格開頭字母的動詞,以及五個字以內的理由,我們將提供7-11/星巴克咖啡禮券兩百元,頒給第一位想出最佳解答或是最佳替代字的第1位粉絲。解答與獲獎粉絲姓名將在明天公布於本 TPS 專頁。請將答案寫在下方,幸運兒可能就是你!

題目Contest Sentence:

“When the children swing the jump rope to their left using their left hands, the central arc of the cord r______ more than when the rope is swung to the right using their right hands.”

Last Update at 2012-10-30 AM 11:03 | 0 Comments

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. This column examines short excerpts from academic texts to illustrate common writing errors and to explain how to correct them.

Unacceptable 不被認可的文章

“The old hound dog exhibited all the signs of old age, as any aging human watching him would agree. He sighed mightily after straggling to his feet from the sleeping pad on the floor, leaning forward and then backward to see if his backbone would support his old frame. An arthritic hip caused the old dog to wag his rear end as he moved shakily from his bed to his food dish. There the animal paused a moment to gently shake his head sideways as if he were saying, “OK, the neck works; now see if your jowls still work.” Lowering his old head to the hard food, the dog began to crunch his way through another day.”

Man’s best friend, as a dog often is called, is companionable and often nearly becomes part of a human family. Yet this does not excuse formally referring to an animal as “he” or “she” or some variation of the pronouns, as the writer does here. A dog is a non-human, animate object. Giving animals human pronouns is too chummy a reference in this genre of writing. Other than that, the writer made such common errors as choosing a nearly correct word instead of the correct word (“straggling” for “struggling”), overused the adjective “old,” and employed an appealing phrase (“wag his rear end”) that unfortunately in this context suggests happiness instead of physical disability. The writing would receive a “C” in the academic realm.
我們常說狗是人類最好的朋友,能與人為伴,常成為人類家庭的一份子。但狗畢竟不是人,而是有生命的物體,在學術寫作時不能像這段文章一樣,堂而皇之地用「he」、「she」一類的人稱代名詞來稱呼,否則口吻會顯得過度親暱。此外,這段文章還出現一些常見的錯誤,例如錯用相近的詞彙(「straggling」應改為「struggling」)、濫用形容詞「old」,而「wag his rear end」雖然很有感染力,可惜代表的意思是狗很高興,而不是不良於行。就學術寫作而言,這篇文章只能拿到「C」的分數。

Acceptable 認可的文章

“The hound dog exhibited all the characteristics of old age, as any aging human would attest. It sighed after struggling to its feet from the pad on the floor, leaning forward and backward to reacquaint its backbone with the idea of supporting its walking frame. An arthritic hip caused the dog to stumble as it moved unstably from its bed to its dish, where it paused to shake its head from side to side gently as if to say, “OK, the neck works; now see if your jowls still work.” Lowering its head to the hard food, the dog began to crunch its way through another day.”

Last Update at 2012-10-26 PM 12:52 | 0 Comments

6 Essential Rules for Persuasive Writing # 1 – Steel thyself 發揮寫作說服力的六大準則之一:鍛鍊自我,迎接挑戰

不管是自己選擇或教授指定,若要寫作論說式學術文章,必須先做好心理準備。你必須說明個人意見,選定觀點也很重要,結構與表達尤其攸關文章成敗。本專欄介紹六大關鍵準則,讓你寫作時發揮說服力,每項準則都會刊登在 TPS 粉絲專頁,並在最後集結於 TPS 學術電子報。
When an argumentative academic paper is the task at hand, whether by choice or assignment, the writer must approach it with an appropriate mindset. Subjective values come into play. Point of view becomes important. Organization and presentation become even more critical to success. The elements of successful persuasive writing are explained in this series, “6 Essential Rules for Persuasive Writing.” Each of the rules will be presented on the TPS Fan page before being compiled.

Rule # 1 – Steel thyself

Unlike expository writing that explains something in great detail, persuasive writing postulates at length on a specific subject. It claims to be the last word on the subject, or the first defensible one. The goal of the writer and the purpose of his paper is not to inform another person’s mind; it is to change a person’s mind. However, a writer’s assertion of final authority can run up against a reader’s assertion to the contrary. Therefore, persuasive writers should expect push-back.

If you are a shrinking violet, persuasive writing is not your garden. Persuasive writers do not mince words. They write using confident, charismatic phraseology that speaks with unqualified authority. Some readers are likely to respond in kind (even professors, who nonetheless should grade a paper on its merits rather than its conclusion) and a writer should not be intimidated by it. Rather, he should inoculate himself in advance by expecting scholarly disagreement.

The same high level of professionalism is demanded of every writer, whatever the purpose of his paper. Yet a paper that argues it represents prototypical thinking carries the extra burden of being potentially controversial. Its argumentation could ignite additional scholarly argumentation. Therefore, a persuasive writer should prepare his paper with meticulous care and also prepare himself against strong responses that seldom come to writers of straight-forward exposition.

Last Update at 2012-10-26 PM 12:51 | 0 Comments

1022 TPS Punctuation Mastery Contest-Answer and Explanation你是善用標點符號的高手嗎? 正確解答!

Corrected sentence:
“Then the medal-winning skiers turned away; down the hall in their stocking feet they crept, and flew out the lodge’s back door; like children at recess, they squealed.”

When punctuation is removed from a writing sample, it suddenly takes on new properties. Without the natural dividers—punctuation marks—words can be regrouped and meaning sometimes altered. In this example, six punctuation marks bring clarity. “Medal-winning” becomes a hyphenated compound modifier with the addition of a hyphen. A semicolon after “away” isolates the act of turning from the subsequent written passage about creeping down a hall and then flying out a door. A semicolon after “door” closes that scene. An apostrophe in “lodges” clarifies that it is one lodge the skiers are exiting. Finally, a comma after recess ties the squealing to child-like behavior. Other possible sentence groupings don’t work as well as this.

Last Update at 2012-10-26 PM 12:46 | 0 Comments