Reading notes: On Writing Well - William Zinsser


来自: 王北鼻 2016-11-11 14:11:08

  • 王北鼻

    王北鼻 2016-11-15 23:56:50

    B. Simplicity

    clutter: lots of objects filled in an untidy state
    e.g. Every shelf is cluttered with ornaments.
    e.g. Sorry about the clutter in the kitchen.

    strangle: to kill sb. by pressing throat so that they cannot breathe
    stop sth. from developing
    e.g. For years, the organization was strangled by bureaucracy.
    e.g. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words and circular constructions.

    pompous: too serious and arrogant
    (building and ceremony) grand and elaborate
    e.g. He's a pompous old prig who's totally incapable of taking a joke.
    e.g. The service was grand without being pompous.

    clotted: solid from liquid
    e.g. the clotted language of everyday American commerce

    precipitation: rain,snow,hail
    chemical reaction - solid separate from liquid

    adulterant: to make food or drink weaker or to lower its quality, by adding something else(这个词真的好有意思..)
    e.g. There are one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence. n.
    e.g. There were been complaints that the beer had been adulterated with water. v.

    mollify: to make sb. less angry or less upset (comfort?)
    e.g. I tried to mollify her by giving her flowers.
    e.g. The president of my university wrote a letter to mollify the alumni after a spell of campus unrest(动荡).

    hassle: n. trouble
    v. to annoy sb. by repeatedly asking sth.
    e.g. I should have taken it back but I just didn't think it worth the hassle.
    e.g. My boss has been giving me a lot of hassle this week.
    e.g. The children keep hassling me to take them to Disneyland.

    preach: (priest) give religious speech
    persuade people to believe particular belief
    to give unwanted advice, especially about moral matters, in a boring way (这也是布道延伸出来的嘛?)
    e.g. He's always preaching about the virtues of working hard and getting up early.
    e.g. They preached the abolition of the established system but propose nothing to replace.

    deliberate: adj. intentional
    adj. (thought/action) done carefully without hurry (从容不迫的)
    v. (think or talk) seriously and carefully (深思熟虑的)(注意动词的用法)
    e.g.1 We made a deliberate decision to live apart for a while.
    e.g.2 From her slow, deliberate speech I guess she must be drunk.
    e.g.3 The committee has deliberated the question at great length.

    get away with sth. = nail sth. by chance/fortunately

    How can the rest of us achieve such enviable freedom from clutter? The answer is to clear you heads of clutter. Clear thinking becomes clear writing: one can't exist without the other.

    大学校长和blackout order的例子最好能记下来。


  • 王北鼻

    王北鼻 2016-11-18 12:22:21

    elusive: difficult (to describe, find, achieve or remember)
    e.g. The answers to these questions remained as elusive as ever.
    e.g. elusive memories*

    The reader is someone with an attention span of about 30 seconds - a person assailed(attack/trouble) by many forces competing for attention.

    verbiage: complicated language and contains lots of unnecessary words (a不发音)冗词赘余
    e.g. His explanation was wrapped up in so much technical verbiage that I couldn't understand it.

    shoddy: badly and carelessly made, using low materials.
    showing little respect, care or thought.
    e.g. Perhaps a sentence has been so shoddily constructed that the reader could read it in several ways.
    e.g. shoddy goods/ These clothes are shoddily made.
    e.g. They refused him sick pay when he had a flu, which is a shoddy way to treat an employee.

    take the trouble to do sth. 费功夫去做

    tenacious: holding tightly;
    keeping an opinion in a determined way
    e.g. Faced with such obstacles, readers are at first tenacious.
    e.g. There has been tenacious local opposition to the new airport.

    mystified = confused
    rune 古欧神秘记号

    Writers must therefore constantly* ask: what am I trying to say? Surprisingly often they don't know. Then they must look at what they have written and ask: have I said it? Is it clear to someone encountering the subject for the first time?
    *consistently: 始终如一的/一致的

    clearheaded 头脑清楚的 (反:fuzzy 思路糊涂的)
    be born + adj. = naturally + adj.
    algebra problem 代数题

    Good writing doesn't come naturally. A clear sentence is no accident.

    It's been easy for me to retell passages rather than rewrite or summary, part of it because short memories support only a limited period of time. But actually a logic map and rewriting would serve better for a clearheaded writing habit.
    So is the same for interpretation. Dead end is the only outcome if you want to cover all the words in the original language, no matter what it is. Perhaps that's why deverbalisation is so important. Leave clutter and pursue simplicity.


  • 王北鼻

    王北鼻 2016-12-18 11:14:50

    3. Clutter

    Fighting clutter is like fighting weeds.
    New varieties sprout overnight. (忽然/一夜直接)

    no longer
    bother about 费神(Don’t bother 没关系)

    head up sth. = manage/lead an organization etc.
    head sth. up = increase in value (price, share etc.)

    free up = 腾出时间
    e.g. I need to free up some time this weekend to finish the report.

    push out: 1.produce large quantity of products. 2.(plants) grow leaves, extend..
    Clutter is the laborious phrase that has pushed out the short word that means the same thing.

    camouflage 伪装、掩饰
    Clutter is the ponderous([文章]冗长沉闷的【同tedious】) euphemism(委婉语) that turns a slum into a depressed socioeconomic area, garbage collectors into waste-disposal personnel and the town dump(城市中的垃圾堆) into the volume reduction unit.
    bum流浪汉 - hardcore(中间的/核心成员) umemployed
    layoff解雇 - early retirement - involuntary methodologies 非自愿方法论
    belly-up 破产倒闭(肚皮朝上直挺挺的倒下)- negative cash-flow position
    invasion - reinforced protective reaction strike - 反:counterforce deterrence(打击反对势力的威慑)
    civilian casualities - collateral damage附带损害

    indefensible 站不住脚的、无辩护余地的
    ran/gone amok 变的狂暴的、不受控制的
    sheer nuisance 完全的麻烦事儿

    public might harbor(怀有) some worries
    sth. don’t serve any purpose (have不够形象)

    debase: 降(value:贬值)、(quality)
    blunt the edge of sth. 模糊了..的边缘(weakened)
    experience such an eventuality 遭遇不测

    populace 平民,老百姓
    arsenal 武器,军火库
    smother 窒息、抑制 vt.
    insidious 潜伏的
    stupefied 惊呆的
    inflate 夸大
    bracket 范围;括号;墙上的支架 (cross out 删除)
    superfluous (‘per) 多余的、不必要的
    intact 完整的、原封不动的
    prose 散文

    festooned with 饰与花彩
    e.g. a square festooned with electric lights 张灯结彩的广场
    e.g. festooned with brackets

    You can develop the same eye. 你也能以同样的视角

    prune 删除修剪;深紫红色;傻瓜
    pretentious 做作的、自命不凡的
    faddish 风行的

  • 王北鼻

    王北鼻 2017-01-06 17:21:17

    4. Style

    bloated 肿胀的(傲慢的)
    carpentry 木器、木工活
    murky 阴沉昏暗的
    creep in 蔓延
    obstruct 妨碍
    howl 狼嚎、大叫

    strip down - build up
    drive nails 钉钉子
    bevel (‘be) 斜角;使成斜角(the edges)
    finial [建]顶尖(近:peak, acme)
    syntax 句法
    rickety 摇摇晃晃的
    fall apart 支离破碎

    turret 角楼
    ornament (-ation) n.[建][服] 装饰物 (or’nate: 华丽的、文体绚丽的)
    embellish v. 装饰、润色
    garnish v.装饰 n. 装饰菜
    sturdy 结实的(人、物都可以)
    serviceable 够用的;耐用的

    reach for (伸手去拿)设法获得
    gaudy: adj.华而不实的、花俏的 n.盛大宴会\学校的招待会
    simile (li发音) 明喻
    tinsel n.金属箔 adj.华而不实的
    put on airs 装腔作势、摆架子

    toupee (‘pei) 假发(cn.)= wig
    groom v.打扮,整饰(well groomed) n.新郎

    hernia 疝气
    glare at 盯着
    put sb. out of miseries 使sb.脱离苦难

    august 庄严地;八月
    dazzle n.耀眼的光;v.使眼花缭乱
    cast about for 想法设法搜索
    plunge in: 积极参加(活动);用力刺入;陷入(thoughts)

    a tissue of 一套
    generality 概论
    prologue 开场白、序言
    write in the first person 以第一人称写作

    perspicuous 清晰明了的 / conspicuous 显眼的、显而易见的
    ego 自负 — egotistical 任性的 (self-indulgence 自我放纵的)
    undignified 不庄重的
    profuse: 大量的(出汗、呕吐、);多次的(感谢、道歉)(thanked me profusely一再的道谢)
    grapple with 努力克服、与..搏斗

    psyche [saiki] 灵魂, 心智
    There are as *many kinds of A as there are kinds of B. 有多少B就有多少A
    untangle 解开(绳子)(tangle 纠纷、使乱作一团)

    go out on a limb [lim] 担风险、爬高枝
    strenuous 剧烈的(运动 exercise,activity),艰苦的(努力efforts)
    perform feats 完成壮举

    wriggle n.v. 蜿蜒前行、扭动、蠕动
    sedentary 久坐的 — sedate: adj.安静沉着的,v.给..服镇静剂
    cons’tituent n.选民、成分 adj. 构成的

    bring no relief 丝毫没有缓解
    e’quivocal 模棱两可的、含糊其词的
    wishy-washy 空泛的
    discourse 论述、谈话、演说 (political discourse政治会谈)

    convince 使确信 — convict 宣告有罪 — conviction 定罪、确信

    The point is that you have to strip your writing down before you can build it up.

    There is no style store; store is organic to the person doing the writing, as much a part of him as his hair, or, if he is bald, his lack of it.

    The point is that he doesn’t look like himself.

    Be yoursel.
    Have confidence.

    Good writers are visible just behind their words. If you aren’t allowed to use “I”, at least think “I” while you write, or write the first draft in the first person and then take the “I”s out. It will warm up your impersonal style.

    Believe in your own identity and your own opinions. Writing is an act of ego.


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