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

“Unlike some countries where people are fewer, China continues to rely on Labor-Intensive Ag Practices. The goal is to increase production from each and every acre of farm land, rather than from each farm worker. Employing many workers to produce crops is not only not a problem in China, it is a Beneficent Strategy designed to help drain the nation’s deep farm labor pool. Therefore, labor-saving machinery that is the hope of farms in more industrialized nations could be ruinous in China. However, this obviously antiquated National Policy can’t go on forever.”

This passage is about a central policy that seems to serve China, but would misserve a nation of different demographics. While the writer makes an interesting point, he does not do so using recommended academic writing practices. One failing is a penchant to capitalize words for no apparent reason; rules of capitalization are not that flexible. “Each and every” is a clichéd phrase; “each” is sufficient. The phrase “not only not a…” is awkward and needs rewriting. The final sentence is presumptuous and colloquial. What other weaknesses do you see in the writing?
本文討論一則中央政策,看起來似乎切合中國的需求,實際上卻忽略了中國各地不同的人口特性。雖然作者的論點很有意思,寫作技巧卻未同樣值得嘉許。一個問題是作者偏好無故用大寫,大寫應該有大寫的規則。“Each and every” 用詞老套,“each” 其實就夠了。另外 “not only not a…” 這個片語看來也很生硬,必須修改。最後一句有點過火,也略嫌口語。你還在文章中看到哪些缺點呢?

Acceptable 認可的文章

“Unlike some less populated countries, China still relies in the 21st century on labor-intensive agricultural practices. Its goal is increased production per unit of farm land, rather than per farm worker. Employing many workers to produce crops is not only a necessity in China, it is a virtue. The strategy helps draw down the nation’s deep and swelling farm labor pool. For this reason, the labor-saving machinery that is the hope of individual farmers in more industrialized nations is problematic in China. In the long run, however, this national policy may not be sustainable.”

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