修改英文寫作從句子開始:句子的要素與結構

不管一個人的英文再好,剛寫完的作文都會有許多作文架構上與句子上的錯誤,需要進一步的修訂。修訂讓文章陳述條理清晰,邏輯有序,幫助讀者清楚理解作者的意思。修訂減少文章中句子結構、文法、用字、標點符號與拼字等錯誤,讓閱讀者有耐心看下去。

在種種的常見錯誤中,句子要素的錯誤最為常見。這一類的錯誤即使是英文口說很好的學習者或英文為母語人士,卻很少寫作的人,寫作時也常犯。本文將介紹英文句子的要素,也就是基礎句子結構,跟寫作時常見的這一類錯誤,並教學習者如何修改這一類的錯誤。

英文句子的要素、易犯錯誤與修訂方法

常見的句子要素的錯誤是不完整的句子與標點符號。很多人口說很好的人,在寫作時,常犯句子要素的錯誤。因為對話時,聽眾就在面前,有任何疑惑,都可以直接提問。為了對話的流暢,說話者也大都不使用完整句子,多以簡潔回答。而對於很多國人而言,中文作文逗號跟句號的法則,跟英文不一樣,所以常在標點符號上,出現錯誤。

英文句子的要素

當一個英文句子只有ㄧ組主詞跟動詞時,我們稱呼它為簡單句。在這個部分,我們藉由簡單句來探討句子的要素。一個句子可以沒有形容詞,句子也可以沒有副詞 (不過,有些動詞需要副詞才能表達一個完整的語意),依然可以表達一個完整的意思。但是,有些部分是句子的基本元素,少了其中之一,這個句子就不正確了,這些部分就是英文句子的要素。簡介如下:

  • 每個句子的第一個字要大寫,專有名詞也要大寫
  • 每個簡單句的句子一定要有,也只能有一組主詞跟動詞 (祈使句並不是沒有主詞,他的主詞是you,即使被省略了,讀者或聽話者依然清楚做動作者是誰。)
    *如果主詞(或動詞)由兩個部分構成,其間要有連接詞連接,這一類連接主詞或動詞的連接詞為and, or, nor等。如果主詞(或動詞)超過兩個部分,前面要有逗號隔開,並在最後的主詞或動詞前加上連接詞
  • 一個完整的句子要能表達一個完整的意思,所以,依據動詞的不同,後面可能要接補語、一個或兩個受詞(直接受詞跟間接受詞)、受詞補語、或是還要有地方副詞,句子才能完整,意思才清晰
  • 在句子的結尾,ㄧ定要有一個表示結束的標點符號,依照作者想要表達的情緒使用句號、驚嘆號或問號

下面有一些錯誤的句子,我們來看看如何訂正

  1. Mary the pizza on the table.
    少了動詞
  2. How beautiful the dog!
    少了動詞
  3. I afraid of dogs.
    少了動詞
  4. I by bus to school.
    少了動詞,by bus不是動詞,要放在句尾
  5. She did not like.
    少了受詞
  6. My mother put too much sugar.
    put當放置的意思時,需要地方副詞,文意才會完整。但是,如果用在對話中,因為有情境,就可以省略
  7. he ran to the park.
    第一個字沒有大寫
  8. Where is she.
    標點符號錯誤,疑問句要打問號
  9. My mother let me.
    少了受詞做的動作,導致文意不完整
  10. John frequently to Japan.
    少了動詞,frequently不是動詞
  11. She either went to a movie, stayed at home.
    有兩個動詞,少了連接詞,根據語意,要用or
  12. There used to a lot of trees.
    there當虛主詞,後面一定要有be動詞,used to 後面少了be
  13. What a day.
    感嘆句要用驚嘆號
  14. My friend his dog went for a walk.
    兩個主詞,中間要有連接詞,這句話用and較為適當
  15. He told me.
    少了直接受詞。不過,如果在對話中,因為有情境,就可以省略
  16. Mary John and their friends went shopping together.
    有三個主詞,在第一個跟第二個主詞中間沒有用逗號隔開
  17. The movie made me.
    語意不完整,少了受詞補語,如happy或sad等
  18. John looked after a big meal.
    如果look after是為照顧,語意很奇怪。而look當動詞看起來,這個句子則少了補語,如satisfied等

不完整的句子跟沒有連接詞的句子

當一個句子有兩組以上的主詞跟動詞時,就需要用連接句子的連接詞來連接,這時他們就不是簡單句了。這類句子,根據連接詞的種類,分為以下幾種 (近一步了解,請閱讀『理解英文句子結構』一文):

  • 複合句 – 用對等連接詞連接兩個或以上句子,表示兩個句子的重要性一樣
    *對等連接詞為:for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so (用fanboys來記,就不容易忘記)
    *對等連接詞帶領的句子只能寫在後面,且前面的句子要打逗號
  • 複雜句 – 一個主要子句,接上用從屬連接詞或關係詞帶領的另外的子句。連接詞與其帶領的子句構成句子的一部份 (名詞、形容詞或副詞),為從屬子句,不可單獨存在
    *副詞子句先寫,要打逗號,再接主要子句
    *主要子句先寫,不打逗號,直接接副詞子句
    *形容詞子句的補述用法,要用逗號跟主要子句隔開
    進一步理解,請閱讀『補述用法與限定用法
  • 混合句 – 這種句子中至少三組主詞動詞,連接詞使用對等連接詞,也有從屬連接詞或關係詞

學習者在寫作時,常犯的錯誤為:

  1. 忘了使用連接詞
  2. 將副詞誤以為是連接詞
  3. 忘了打逗號
  4. 在錯誤的地方打句號
  5. 還有不會斷句,整個段落都用逗號,直到段落結束才打句號(這一點應該是受中文作文影響。)

下面舉出幾個這一類型的錯句,請學習者先自己試著找出錯誤來,我們在後面會提供一個改寫的建議 (因為這類錯誤有些有不只一種訂正的方法。)

  1. After we finished lunch.  We went back to the office.
  2. It is a lot of fun playing basketball with other children out in the field, when it is autumn, the weather is cooler. 
  3. I didn’t understand what he said.  Because he spoke very quickly.
  4. No matter how hard the task is just do it.
  5. She does not like me, she does not like my brother, either.
  6. He can only speak little English, however, he is planning to travel around the United States alone. 
  7. Neil Armstrong who was the first man to walk on the moon died in 2012.
  8. Once you have finished, check your answers, the answer key is at the end of this test.
  9. She told me all the things. She was learning.
  10. If you answer all the questions turn to page 234. 

以下為修改的建議,以粗體字標示出來:

  1. After we finished lunch we went back to the office.
  2. In autumn, when the weather is cooler, it is a lot of fun playing basketball with other children out in the field. 
  3. I did not understand what he said, because he spoke quickly.
    在這裡because帶領的副詞子句用逗號與what he said這個名詞子句隔開,讓讀者ㄧ下就知道because的句子是did not understand的原因
  4. No matter how hard the task is, just do it.
    副詞子句先寫,要打逗號,再接主要子句
  5. She does not like me, nor does she like my brother.
    兩個句子不能用逗號連接。因為兩句都是否定句,所以改成用nor當連接詞
  6. He can only speak little English; however, he is planning to travel around the United States alone. 
    however不是連接詞,可以改用but當連接詞; 或將however前面的句子打句號,分成兩句; 也可以打分號,再接however, 跟之後的句子。
  7. Neil Armstrong, who was the first man to walk on the moon, died in 2012.
    Neil Armstrong是人名,之後的形容詞子句要用逗號與主要子句隔開 (補述用法)
  8. Once you have finished, check your answers.  The answer key is at the end of this test.
    這裡有三組主詞跟動詞,卻只有once這個連接詞,要嘛再加一個連接詞,要嘛用句號分成兩句
  9. She told me all the things she was learning.
    She was learning這個句子語意不完整,明顯是前面all the things的形容詞,無法單獨存在
  10. If you answer all the questions, turn to page 234. 
    副詞子句先寫,要打逗號,再接主要子句

段落修改 - 句子的要素上的錯誤

下面,我們提供幾個需要修改的段落,他們都含有本文所提到的句子結構與要素上的錯誤,提供學習者多做練習,增強自己對句子要素與完整性的修訂能力。請注意:除了標點符號、大小寫、連接詞、主詞與動詞等句子的要素上的錯誤外,這些段落中,還有如文法上、用字上或敘述條理上的問題,在這篇文章中,先不予討論。

請注意,有標點符號的錯誤時,常同時有大小寫的錯誤。

  1. The most impressive museum I have been to the CHIMEI Museum which is located in Tainan City, Taiwan. It has a large collection of Western artifacts and artworks, in addition, CHIMEI Museum has a large yard, people can take a rest or a picnic there.
  2. I always feel exhausted after finishing a complicate task, thinking for a long time, maybe it because my brain consumes a lot of energy. Moreover, once I tired I can not concentrate on my task, and may make mistakes easily. To avoid such a situation. I would take a rest every once in a while.
  3. I always think too much. When I am dealing with a problem. Afraid of making a mistake I will try every means to find a better solution, in this way, I can often get the best result. 
  4. However overthinking not only takes me too much time, also makes me tired and look indecisive. I need to adjust the mode of my thinking. In order to think more intuitively and quickly.
  5. Food processing is any method is used to change the natural state of food.  It can increase shelf life of food, make it more delicious. However, many studies have shown processed food has several negative effects on our health.
  6. The most common problem is obesity, processed foods usually contain a lot of fat and sugar. People, especially children, overeat such foods will become fat easily.
  7. most foods sold in supermarkets are processed. They contain artificial additives. People have too much processed food have a higher chance of developing  colorectal cancer.

以下用粗體字標示修改的地方:

  1. The most impressive museum I have been to is the CHIMEI Museum, which is located in Tainan City, Taiwan. It has a large collection of Western artifacts and artworks. In addition, CHIMEI Museum has a large yard. People can take a rest or a picnic there.
  2. I always feel exhausted after finishing a complicate task or thinking for a long time. Maybe it is because my brain consumes a lot of energy. Moreover, once I am tired, I can not concentrate on my task, and may make mistakes easily. To avoid such a situation, I would take a rest every once in a while.
  3. I always think too much when I am dealing with a problem. Afraid of making a mistake, I will try every means to find a better solution. In this way, I can often get the best result. 
  4. However, overthinking not only takes me too much time, but it also makes me tired and look indecisive. I need to adjust the mode of my thinking in order to think more intuitively and quickly.
  5. Food processing is any method used to change the natural state of food.  It can increase shelf life of food, and make it more delicious. However, many studies have shown processed food has several negative effects on our health.
  6. The most common problem is obesity. Processed foods usually contain a lot of fat and sugar. People, especially children, overeat such foods, will become fat easily.
  7. Most foods sold in supermarkets are processed. They contain artificial additives. People who have too much processed food have a higher chance of developing colorectal cancer.

如果你有其他文法或寫作上的疑惑,可以到我們『英文文法』『英文作文』專頁,看看有沒有文章探討相關問題。或者你有其他易混淆的單字上的疑惑,可以到我們『英文單字與片語』專頁,看看有沒有相關文章。

Barshai Huang
Barshai Huang
從事英語教學二十多年,一路伴隨著學生從幼稚園成長到大學畢業,非常熟悉不同年齡的孩子,在英文學習上會遭遇到的問題與解決方法。擅長自然發音、文法、句子結構、英文閱讀理解策略與寫作的教學。我的教學理念是設計出帶給孩子樂趣與成功經驗的教學方案,孩子就會產生自信,並熱愛英文學習。
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