論文摘要的動詞時態: 過去式?現在式?

研究論文寫作

論文摘要的動詞時態使用引起不同的意見討論,大家從以前碩博念過來,受過一套寫作方式教育,有衝突時難免引起討論,希望藉由這篇文章稍稍整理該議題。

寫論文摘要時,可以使用到幾個時態。我們先前提到過去式是在摘要中提到研究結果時使用的 (i.e., observations),這依然是對的。但時態是會根據不同的內容而改變。最近的確可以發現到不少在摘要中使用現在式的情況,但這不是因為英文語法改變了,聽聽我們怎麼說吧。

時態的變化是依據句子主詞而改變,一般來說:

  • Any statements of general fact would be written using the present tense.
  • Any discussion about prior research would be explained using the past tense.
  • If the subject of your sentence is your study or the article you are writing (e.g. “Our study demonstrates…,” or “Here, we show…”), then you should use the present tense.
  • If you are stating a conclusion or an interpretation, use present tense.
  • If the subject of your sentence is an actual result or observation (e.g. “Mice in Group B developed…”), you would use past tense.

如果你被教導用現在式寫摘要,那是因為教授希望你專注在分享你的研究結果解析而非簡單地將結果又敘述一遍。

想要進一步了解範例,可以參考 Nature的摘要

  • We see present tense for general facts (“The anaerobic formation and oxidation of methane involve…”).
  • We see present tense when the study/article is the subject or is the thing you are referring to (“Here [this article] we show that an anaerobic thermophilic enrichment culture …”).
  • However, when we talk about an actual observation, past tense is used (“Genes encoding 16S rRNA…were repeatedly retrieved from marine subsurface sediments…”).

就像上面你看到的,很大部分的摘要都是以現在式寫成的,但這都是因為摘要內容皆著重於作者的解釋並非研究觀察或是研究方法,希望這篇文章能夠梳理您對於時態使用的疑惑。

 

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