0705 TPS One Word Away From Confusion Contest-Answer and Explanation你能找出混淆字嗎? 正確解答!

Correct best answer: Replace “habit” with “habitat.”

“Logging has reduced the Giant Panda’s bamboo-rich habitat, increasing chances that the fascinating black-and-white bear will become extinguished.”

The writer falls asleep mid-word, writing “habit” when the intended word was “habitat.” This might have been intentional, the expression of a thought about the “Giant Panda’s habit of eating bamboo.” However, the rest of the sentence doesn’t support that interpretation or that phrasing. Logging doesn’t “reduce” a habit, though it might “change” one by forcing a panda to eat something besides bamboo. The logical inference from the rest of the sentence is that logging reduces the acreage of bamboo in the high forests; thus, it reduces the size of a panda’s natural “habitat” and threatens the bear’s existence in the wild.

Last Update at 2011-07-05 PM 5:29 | 0 Comments

0704 TPS One Word Away From Confusion Contest-Win Your NTD200 7-11/Starbucks Prize! 你能找出混淆字嗎? 有機會獲得200元統一超商/星巴克咖啡禮券!

Every word is important in a well-written academic paper. Changing just a word or two can turn a clear sentence into a confusing one. Tell us what word you would change in the following puzzling sentence to render it more meaningful. The first best answer will receive a NTD200 7-11/Starbucks Gift Certificate.

題目Contest Sentence:

“Logging has reduced the Giant Panda’s bamboo-rich habit, increasing chances that the fascinating black-and-white bear will become extinguished.”

Last Update at 2011-07-04 AM 11:28 | 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 sets of words are called “figures of speech.” For a figure of speech to be effective, however, a writer must first understand the original meaning of the phrase. The following sentence contains a common figure of speech. Its original meaning is explained.

“When the butterfly landed on the petri dish, its wayward flight around the laboratory apparently at an end, it folded up its stained-glass wings—like sails poised for another liberating breeze.”

“Like sails poised for another liberating breeze” alludes to the synthetic sailcloth on wind-driven boats. Like a butterfly wing, it usually is ribbed and sectioned by stitching rather than being of a single piece, with the different sections sometimes being of contrasting colors. It is raised up a mast so that wind can collide with the face of it. The result is that an unanchored boat is pressured to move in the direction of the wind, or in a glancing degree of it.

In employing the phrase as a simile to describe the actions of a butterfly at rest, the writer hopes to accomplish two things: (1) accurately portray the placement of the butterfly’s wings when not in flight; that is, erect and extended, rather than folded away like a bird’s; and (2) convey the exasperation of a researcher who evidently suffered a reversal when the subject of his experimentation unexpectedly took flight. The next sentence in the paper presumably explained that the butterfly was hastily netted, chloroformed and examined. Had the writer / experimenter related the incident less colorfully, the paper would have been rendered less readable / enjoyable.
作者用風帆比喻蝴蝶靜止時的動作,希望達成兩種效果:(1) 正確描繪蝴蝶靜止時翅膀是延展而豎起的,不像鳥類翅膀收折;(2) 傳達實驗對象突然飛起來,讓研究者大吃一驚、怒氣沖沖的模樣。文章接下來應該會描述到研究者匆忙網住蝴蝶、用氯仿將蝴蝶麻醉,並仔細實驗觀察。若非作者或實驗人員描述事件如此生動,文章就不會這麼有趣易懂了。

Last Update at 2011-06-30 AM 11:42 | 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: My professor faulted me for using rhetorical questions in my paper. I believe that the questions moved the paper along and served the reader well. What can I do to convince the professor of this?

I’m not sure you are in a position to convince professors of anything. Rather, they are in a position of authority precisely because they are more learned than you. For the most part, professors are the convincers and teachers and students are the learners. Yet a really good professor keeps an open mind on the off chance that he or she might yet have something to learn. So I don’t fault you for challenging an authorized view of academic writing. The tension thus created might shake out a new classroom paradigm.

As for employing rhetorical questions, my first response is to ask, do you really mean questions— plural? That is, did you insert a question, or maybe two, in your paper, or was your paper rife with them? And were they truly rhetorical? A rhetorical question is intended to draw attention to a subsequent statement. Example: “Is the sky blue?” generally is not rhetorical; it actually is asked to elicit a response. Whereas, “So why is the sky blue?” is an introduction to, perhaps, a comment about a person’s state of mind.

While some professors frown on any use of rhetorical questions, others appreciate the power of such a question to introduce a point. It is a literary device that can effectively help bracket and, thus, organize and facilitate orderly expression of thoughts. Yet if the questions are overused—more than two of these questions probably are too many in a paper—they become patronizing and ineffective. My point? Don’t ask a question in a paper unless it really helps advance the narrative.

Last Update at 2011-06-29 PM 7:28 | 0 Comments

0627 Brevity: Valuing Each Word-Answer and Explanation 簡潔準則:惜字如金 正確解答

Answer: We believe the best revision is… “Assembly line manufacturing, a la Henry Ford in Detroit in 1913, produced sociological change by creating merchandise cheaply enough to be afforded by the masses.”
我們相信最佳寫法應為 “Assembly line manufacturing, a la Henry Ford in Detroit in 1913, produced sociological change by creating merchandise cheaply enough to be afforded by the masses.”

This sentence reduces the word count to 23 from 30 just by specifically and succinctly referring to Henry Ford rather than generally describing the circumstances surrounding the auto mogul’s great innovation in manufacturing. To do this, a writer had to know of Ford’s contribution, or at least know enough about it to be able to search out necessary details. A smattering of knowledge can lead to greater knowledge—and to a more informed academic paper—only if it is acted upon.
與其籠統地描述汽車鉅子在製造上的偉大發明,只要具體而簡潔地寫出亨利福特的人名,就可以讓句子從 30 個字減少到 23 個字。為此,作者必須瞭解福特的貢獻,或至少稍有涉獵,才能觀察出必要的細節。具備最起碼的知識有助學習進一步的知識,以及更有見地的寫作學術論文,前提是必須善加利用已具備的知識。

The writer knew enough about Ford’s manufacturing breakthrough to give a reader some general information about the roots of the assembly line. However, rather than refine the information further, boiling it down from “an American automobile manufacturer” to “Henry Ford,” and reducing “in the early 20th century” to “in 1913,” the writer was satisfied with the wordier explanation. Such misjudgment misserves a reader and generally leads to a lower grade on a paper.
作者對福特在製造業突破性的成就略知一二,能大致說明生產線的起源。然而,作者卻安於冗贅的解釋,未進一步化繁為簡,能再精簡表述的包括「美國汽車製造商」可簡化為「亨利福特」、「20 世紀早期」(“in the early 20th century”) 可簡化為「1913 年」(“in 1913”)。作者判斷失據,有負讀者,通常也會讓論文評等大打折扣。

The cause of brevity also was helped in this instance by being able to use a shorthand phrase, “a la,” which means “in the manner of.” Such felicity with substitute expressions—sometimes pulled from another language—can help a writer communicate universally, yet succinctly. Other common expressions of this type include “i.e.,” which means “that is” and “ipso facto,” a Latin expression meaning “by that very fact.” Combined with specific references, such spare phrases can illuminate writing.
使用簡短詞組也能讓例句更為精簡。有時替換其他語言的慣用語詞,例如“a la”,意為「以…方式」,能讓措辭得體,有助溝通的簡明扼要,又無礙訊息傳達。此類表達方式常用的還有拉丁文 “i.e.”,表「意即」;“ipso facto”,表「據此」。善用此類的替換詞組,加上具體說明指涉對象,可讓文章更清晰。

Last Update at 2011-06-28 PM 3:35 | 0 Comments

0627 Brevity: Valuing Each Word-Win Your NTD200 7-11/Starbucks Prize! 簡潔準則:惜字如金 有機會獲得價值200元統一超商/星巴克咖啡禮券!

The best writing doesn’t waste words. It employs words efficiently. The first TPS Fan to complete the sentence below as we believe it should be completed will win a NTD200 7-11 / Starbucks Gift Certificate. Another Starbucks 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. Each brevity rule is contained in 10 Ways to Shorten & Strengthen Your Academic Paper and will be posted on the TPS Fan page as introduced.

Rule # 4: Use specific references… An academic writer can tighten his paper, lower word count, and speed along a reader by using specific terminology and references rather than general explanations. The latter approach suggests inadequate or lazy research. In the sentence below, the writer did not write with specificity. How can the sentence best be written shorter and stronger while retaining its meaning?

題目Contest Sentence:

Assembly line manufacturing, a concept introduced by an American automobile manufacturer in the early 20th century, produced sociological change by creating merchandise cheaply enough to be afforded by the masses.”

Last Update at 2011-06-27 AM 11:01 | 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. 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 Korea temple is structured in perfect balance, a harmony of straight lines, curved surfaces, and squared spaces. The figures carved against the wall are all exquisitely carved. The idea for the grotto came from cave temples in China. However, those statues in China were cut into the surface of a rock cliff; the Korea figurines stand in a manmade enclosure, which consists of a round interior room with a domed ceiling and a rectangular entranceway chamber.”

This paragraph has much to recommend it, including directness, effective description and correct punctuation. However, it begins to fall apart with the second word—Korea. Because it is used to modify the next word, “temple,” the word should be “Korean.” To say the temple figures were carved “against” the wall is confusing. More accurately, they were carved on or in the wall, depending upon whether they were bas-relief or nearly fully formed. Calling the carvings both “figures” and, later, “figurines” is sloppy; they are not the same. Finally, the two ending words should have been one, because “entranceway” implies foyer, or hall, or “chamber.” Can you find other weaknesses in the writing?
本文有許多可取之處,例如行文直截了當、描述得當,標點符號正確。然而,文章從第二個字 “Korea” 就洩了氣;該字用來修飾下一個字 “temple”,所以應該用 “Korean” 才對。形容廟裡的雕像「對著牆雕」(carved “against” the wall) 令人難以理解,若雕像為浮雕,正確說法應為「雕在牆面」(carved “on” the wall),若為立體雕塑,則應用「雕在牆上」(carved “in” the wall)。此外,“figures” 和 “figurines” 兩字意思不同,混用兩字稱呼雕像也不甚理想。最後,結尾的 “entranceway” 和 “chamber” 兩字擇一即可,因為 “entranceway” 本身就有「前廳」、「大廳」或「廳室」(chamber) 的意思。你還能看出這篇文章的其他缺點嗎?

Acceptable 認可的文章

“The Korean temple is structured in perfect balance, a harmony of straight lines, curved surfaces, and squared spaces. The figures carved on the wall are all exquisitely cut. The grotto was modeled on cave temples in China. However, the representational figures in China were cut into the surface of a rock cliff; the Korean figures stand in a fabricated enclosure, which consists of a round inner chamber with a domed ceiling and a rectangular entranceway.”

Last Update at 2011-06-23 AM 10:13 | 0 Comments

6 Tips in Preparing to Write Your Dissertation Tip 1: Commit to finishing what you start 論文撰寫六大準備技巧一:下定決心,有始有終

The final step in earning many master and doctorate degrees is completion of a thesis or dissertation. The process involved typically is lengthy and exacting. Following is one of 6 recommendations to help you get started on your dissertation in such a way that you can successfully complete it. Each tip in the series will appear on the TPS Fans page.

Tip # 1 – Commit to finishing what you start

Congratulations on pursuing an advanced degree. The question is, do you really intend to capture it? The pinnacle of the graduate degree process is completion of a dissertation or thesis. Every year, candidates for a degree stop their climb just short of the pinnacle. They become one of the many ABD (All But Dissertation) ex-students whose post-graduate education, while enhancing their lives, failed to produce a credential of value in the workplace. Employers generally are not impressed by applicants who almost earned a graduate degree.
能追求更高深的學位是件好事,問題是,你真的想獲得學位嗎?研讀碩博士學問的最高原則是完成碩博士論文。每年許多碩博士候選人只差一步就能抵達終點,卻無法堅持下去,成為「萬事俱備,只欠論文」 (ABD, All But Dissertation) 的肄業生。研究的所學所聞雖然提升了生活,卻因為沒有證書,無法為職場加分-雇主通常不會太看重「差一點」拿到學位的求職者。

If you have navigated the post-graduate process to this point, resolve to finish the course. A dissertation can take anywhere from a year to several years, depending upon how it fits in a program’s structure and the circumstances of a student’s life. A completed document can run anywhere from 15,000 to 150,000 words, a longer paper than most students have previously undertaken. It follows that completing a dissertation is a daunting prospect for almost any student, regardless of how much a degree is coveted.

So it is important for any post-graduate degree candidate to understand the purpose and function of a dissertation: It is a tool to define you as a scholar. Because most research and writing for a dissertation occurs without close faculty scrutiny, a candidate must work alone. Must correctly evaluate and filter research material. Must plan and execute interim and final steps. Must recognize effective writing and rigorously self-edit. Must stay on schedule. As you begin your dissertation, now is the time to resolve to grow as a scholar and a person by finishing the task.

Last Update at 2011-06-27 AM 11:52 | 0 Comments

0621 TPS Spot the Error Contest-Answer and Explanation 你是挑錯的高手嗎? 正確解答

Answer: “admissions” should be “emissions.”

“While nuclear energy is free of harmful emissions, the energy-generation process also produces radioactive waste, which remains problematic.”

Error: The writer almost chooses a correct word in “admissions.” However, the needed word was “emissions.” The words are similar in that they describe movement from one place to another. They are different in that one (admission) generally describes inward movement and the other (emission) describes outward movement. Admission can be likened to “enter” and emission to “exit.” So the writer inadvertently used a word that meant the opposite of what was intended. The sentence specifically alludes to conventional power plant side-products that pollute when they are emitted, or thrown out, through the plant’s smokestacks.
作者的用字 “admissions” 其實很接近了,不過正確的字應該是 “emissions”。這兩個字很像,都描述物體從甲地移至乙地,但是 admission 一般指移向內部,emission 則指移向外部,admission 和進入 (enter) 有關,emission 和離開 (exit) 有關。作者不小心選錯字,表達的意思與原意的方向相反,本句特別指稱傳統發電廠經由煙囪排放出副產物,造成汙染。

Last Update at 2011-06-21 PM 3:50 | 0 Comments

0620 TPS Spot the Error Contest-Win Your NTD200 7-11/Starbucks Prize! 你是挑錯的高手嗎? 有機會獲得200元統一超商/星巴克咖啡禮券!

The sentence below contains 1 grammatical, spelling and/or punctuation error. The first three (3) TPS Fans to respond with the corrected sentence will win a NTD200 7-11/Starbucks Gift Certificate. The corrected sentence and the names of the winners will be published tomorrow on this TPS Fans page. Please post your answers below. Good luck!

題目Contest Sentence:

“While nuclear energy is free of harmful admissions, the energy-generation process also produces radioactive waste, which remains problematic.”

Last Update at 2011-06-20 AM 10:33 | 0 Comments