如何修改英文寫作中的平行結構?

學術寫作技巧

How to Edit for Parallelism in Your Writing

英文寫作常見問題之一是句子的平行結構(或稱對稱結構 parallelism),英文有時候像數學,也就是說當句子或單字結合在一起的時候,必須確保每一個部分都是「同等價值」,也就是必須是同樣形式。

平行結構是什麼呢?

直接舉例,看你是否能發現其中的問題。

  1. I like apples, oranges, and going to the zoo.
  2. The coach advised that I should eat healthily, exercise regularly, and that joining a gym would make this easier.
  3. Mary is a celebrated author, dancer, and writes great songs.

有發現嗎?沒關係,我們把其中有問題的地方標出來了,而底線的地方則是平行結構的起始點。

  1. I like apples, oranges, and going to the zoo.
  2. The coach advised that I should eat healthily, exercise regularly, and that joining a gym would make this easier.
  3. Mary is a celebrated author, dancer, and writes great songs.

知道為什麼紅字部分錯了嗎? 下面分析句型給你看

  • 句一 “I like noun, noun, and -ing phrase.”
  • 句二 “The coach advised that I should: (1) verb; (2) verb; (3) that -ing phrase.
  • 句三 “Mary is a noun, noun, and verb.”

這些句子就是不符合平行結構,句中的同等位置的單字沒有以同樣的文法形式呈現。

如何改正平行結構(parallelism)?

平行結構修改方法有三種,目的是為了讓每一個部分的語法形式都一致,我們利用上方的句子作範例說明。

方法一: 修改少數與其他文法形式不一致的部分

方法一是修正平行結構最簡單的方式,大部分句子都可以使用方法一來解決,但是複雜句或子句較多的長句,可能無法適用此方法,因為有可能會變動意思,此類句子推薦使用方法三來修正。

  非平行結構句 正確平行結構句
1 I like apples, oranges, and going to the zoo. I like apples, oranges, and zoos.
2 The coach advised that I should eat healthily, exercise regularly, and that joining a gym would make this easier. The coach advised that I should eat healthily, exercise regularly, and join a gym. (Here, we lose some meaning regarding the fact that joining a gym would make exercising easier.)
3 Mary is a celebrated author, dancer, and writes great songs. Mary is a celebrated author, dancer, and songwriter.

方法二: 修改多數與其他文法形式不一致的部分

要小心使用方法二,因為修改多數以配合少數的語法形式容易導致句子重複性高,見句一,因此我們只推薦方法一。 另外,方法二也無法避免變動句子意思的風險。

  非平行結構句 正確平行結構句
1 I like apples, oranges, and going to the zoo. I like eating apples, eating oranges, and going to the zoo (“eating” is repetitive).
2 The coach advised that I should eat healthily, exercise regularly, and that joining a gym would make this easier. The coach recommended exercising regularly, eating healthily, and joining a gym. (Here, we lose some meaning regarding the fact that joining a gym would make exercising easier.)
3 Mary is a celebrated author, dancer, and writes great songs. Mary is celebrated because she writes books, dances, and writes great songs.

方法三: 拆解句子

有時候修改句子可能需要將句子重組,否則可能會意外變動到原意。為避免失去句子原意,我們建議將句子衍伸。

  非平行結構句 正確平行結構句
1 I like apples, oranges, and going to the zoo. I like eating apples and orangesI also like going to the zoo.
2 The coach advised that I should eat healthily, exercise regularly, and that joining a gym would make this easier. The coach advised that I should eat healthily and exercise regularly. He also told me that joining a gym would make working out easier.
3 Mary is a celebrated author, dancer, and writes great songs. Mary is a celebrated author and dancer. She also writes great songs.

注意: 比較句

多數簡單的平行結構句子都是由”and,” “or,” 或 “but.”對等連接詞所連接,其他較複雜的句子結構則令人相當困擾,例如: 修飾子句的平行結構 (例:關係子句和分詞子句) 和比較子句 (例:相關連接詞)。

  • 關係子句使用”that”或”which.”
  • 分詞子句由動詞組成,功能如形容詞,例如:”This car is built to last.”
  • 相關連接詞有 “not only…but also,” “either…or,” “neither…nor,” “if…then,” 等等
  • 比較句的連接詞典型的有 “than” 或 “as.”

以上的句型皆須要使用平行結構!

在修改這一類的句子時, 找到前後部分並檢查是否兩邊都是同樣的文法形式。

非平行結構句 正確平行結構句
I like the big house built in 1910 and features two great living rooms. I like the big house built in 1910 that features two great living rooms. (Eliminate the problematic parallel structure by removing the conjunction.)
Mary owns a PR company, a place giving many growth opportunities and where people are rewarded based on merit (participial phrase + subordinate clause). Mary owns a PR company, a place giving many growth opportunities where people are rewarded based on merit. (Deleting the “and” fixes the parallelism issue. This method works for most cases where a participial phrase and subordinate clause are connected by a conjunction.)
I not only like to play the violin, but also dancing. I not only like to play the violin, but I also like to dance.
OR
I like to not only play the violin but also dance.
Either we go to the store now or wait until next week. Either we go to the store now or we wait until next week.
I prefer to go on a vacation than a bonus. I prefer to go on a vacation than to receive a bonus.

注意:動詞時態轉換

另一個令人糾結的平行結構是動詞轉換。回想看看你是否有說過類似以下的句子:

  1. “I really like this movie, which was why I bought it.”
  2. We knew that we had little time, work had to be finished, and we needed to hurry.

感覺很自然的句子,你發現錯在哪了嗎?

  1. “I really like this movie, which was why I bought it.”
  2. We knew that we had little time, work had to be finished, and we needed to hurry.

句一的時態從現在轉到過去而句二則在that句子突然轉換成被動語態。現在來修正句子吧

  1. “I really like this movie, which is why I bought it.”
  2. We knew that we had little time, we had to finish the work, and we needed to hurry.

平行結構檢查一覽表

  1. 找出句中的連接詞
  2. 檢查連接詞左右方的單字或句子是否為同樣的形式,例如:動詞、名詞、形容詞、 -ing子句等等。
  3. 檢查句中的子句,是否在同等位置有類似的句子?
  4. 在句中的連接詞兩邊的動詞時態是否一致?
  5. 如果句中有列表,是否列表 (A, B, C, etc.) 內容物的語法形式皆一致?

 

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