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STYLE  

2011-12-13 12:08:40|  分类: 翻译写作 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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 (按:从Good English一书里选的,讲得很细,待将来有空了把它译入汉语。)

    To professional writers and to editors, the noun style means how such elements as numbers are treated (that is, whether in figures or spelled out) and how mechanics of English such as capitalization and italics are used in specific piece of writing or when writing for a specific publication.

    Style is less a mater of right and wrong than a matter of good judgment and poor judgment.

NUMBERS

1. When numbers occur infrequently, spell out numbers from 1 to 100 and round numbers beyond 100.

    This is the general rule. Editors of newspapers and many magazines and journals are more likely to spell out numbers only from 1 to 9 and use figures for all the rest... Writers in any field that relies heavily on numerical information may use figures for all such enumeration, even between 1 and 9.

    A round number can be considered one that can be spelled out in no more than two words: two hundreds; fifty million; but 110, since spelling out 110 would require several words: one hundred and ten.

    Very large numbers are often expressed with a combination of figures and a spelled-out word: 20 million people; $168 billion. This style is convenient, compact, and easy to read.

    Exceptions: Year dates, days of the month, page numbers, street address numbers and sometimes the numbers of streets themselves, route numbers, percentages, and similar familiar uses of numbers are exceptions to the rule.

    When numbers both below 100 and above 100 are used close together to enumerate the same things or very similar things, the numbers should either all be in figures or all be spelled out: There were 70 women and 108 men at the meeting. Usually it is better to make all the numbers figures rather than spell them all out. This principle applies always within the same sentence, usually within the same paragraph, and often within a passage of several paragraph dealing with the same subject. However, the principle should not be followed blindly: We have 3 children-- 1 boy and 2 girls-- which would seem laughable to my great-grandmother, who had 13 children of her own and a total of 134 great-grandchildren when she died lets 134 great-grandchildren force all the other numbers to be figures, which is poor judgment. It would be better either to spell out 134 or to let it remain a figure but spell out all the other numbers; the inconsistency is the lesser annoyance.

2.  Spell out numbers that begin a sentence, except for years.

    One hundred and twelve people attended this year, compared with 128 last year and 142 the year before. This does violate the principle of treating similar enumerations the same way, but the spelled-out number beginning the sentence should not be allowed to force every following number to be spelled out. Usually it is easy to avoid the problem by recasting: This year, 112 people attended...

    1980 was the last year of his term. Figures denoting years can begin a sentence. Even '80 was a good year for Chardonnay is permissible, though it would be better not to abbreviate the year.

3.  Use figures for numbers accompanied by abbreviations.

   Abbreviations used with numbers usually are for units of measurement: lb., in., mm., mph., hrs,. rpm, and so on.

4. Spell out numbers in dialogue unless they are excessively awkward.

   "You owe me one hundred and fifty-five dollars," he said is preferable to "You owe me $155," he said. Numbers, and also the dollar sign and percent sign, somehow do not look right in dialogue, although we do accept them in quotations in newspaper accounts.

5.  Always spell out time of day with o'clock and phrases such as in the morning; in general, use figures with A.M. and P. M.

    If A.M. and P.M. occur frequently with times in a given work, the writer might as well use figures for all times and make sure o'clock and in the morning and similar phrases don't occur directly following a time of day; times should still ordinarily be spelled in any dialogue, however. If A.M. and P.M. occur infrequently or not at all and there are frequent times in dialogue, the writer may choose to spell out times without A.M. and P.M. and perhaps even to eliminate these abbreviations in favor of in the morning and in the evening, so all the times of day can be spelled out.

6. Don’t normally use the apostrophe to form the plural of number in figures. The 1890's is an unnecessary use of the apostrophe; the plural number is just as clear without it: the 1890s.

7. In an inclusive range of numbers, don't use the hyphen when the word to or and is called for, and adopt a style to handle the second element consistently.

    The Range was from 2-6% is poor style; it should be from 2 to 6 percent or from 2% to 6%, depending on whether the writer has chosen to spell the word percent or use the symbol. Since the symbol is so short, if it is used there is no reason to drop it after the first number; it makes the range a little clear. The to is required to go with from. The range was 2-6%, dropping the from, is all right, especially in writing in which many percentages occur and the reader must be expected to understand compact ways of giving them.

DATES

8. With dates including month, day, and year, use commas to set off the year; with just the month and year, don't use commas.

    The September 15 payment is due; The September 15, 1982, payment is due. When the year is given, it is treated as a parenthetical element and enclosed in commas. The September 15, 1982 payment is due is a common error.

9. In general, use cardinal numbers for days of the month (June 3), not ordinal numbers (June 3rd, June third), except in dialogue.

    We are much more likely to use ordinal numbers for days of the month in speech--"We're going to Florida on December twenty-third," she said-- though occasionally we do use cardinal numbers. In writing that is not dialogue, however, the convention is to use cardinal numbers, except in wedding invitations and similar special material. The school will open for registration on September 10th, 1981 has amateurish look.

ABBREVITATIONS

   Abbreviations, like other matters of style, should be handled consistently. If a somewhat unfamiliar abbreviation occurs throughout a passage, it is often a good idea to spell the term out the first time it is used, with the abbreviation following in parentheses, and then use the abbreviation thereafter: The silicon chip measured a mere 4 square millimeters (mm ), later reduced to 2.5 mm .

10. Don't use periods with most abbreviations made up entirely of initials; do use periods with most other abbreviations.

    It is cumbersome and unnecessary to use periods in such abbreviations as UNESCO ... There are a few initial-type abbreviations that do require periods. U.S. always has periods, to avoid momentary confusion with the word us, but USA rarely does.

11. If a comma occurs between a proper noun and an abbreviation, and the sentence continues, use a comma after the abbreviation as well.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was a medical man is a punctuation error, because Sr. has to be handle as a parenthetical element and enclosed by commas. Similarly, John Smith, Ph.D., LL.D. gave the address is an error; there should be a comma after LL.D. This is the only case in which a period and a comma can occur together--though actually the little round mark is not a period at all. It may look like one, just as points of ellipsis look like three periods in a row, and a typesetter as well as the rest of us would call it one. But in the strictest sense, a period is a full stop-- the mark to show the end of a declarative sentence.

GENERIC TERMS

13. Capitalize formal titles of most specific offices and organizations, but in some cases distinguish between federal and state bodies, major and subordinate bodies, and so on.

     Most of the states have governmental bodies with names identical to those of the corresponding federal bodies-- the states have senates, houses of representatives, supreme courts, and so on. In a book dealing entirely with politics and history within a state, it would probably be appropriate to capitalize the names of state bodies. However, in a work dealing with regional or national politics and history, and also in works on general topics that make occasional mention of federal or state governmental bodies, it may be better to capitalize only the names of specific federal bodies: The Arizona supreme court's decision was challenged unsuccessfully in the federal courts of appeal but was eventually reversed by the Supreme Court.

    In the past decade or so, following a trend toward lowercasing, many newspapers and magazines have begun lowercasing some generic terms even when they are used with proper nouns or adjectives formed from proper nouns: Democratic party; Republican national convention. I prefer to consider such phrases unified proper nouns and to capitalize all the elements. However, the lowercasing is preferable to excessive and meaningless capitalizing, which begins to make English look like German: We went to the Museum and then through the Park to the Conservatory; We stopped at the Bank on the way to the Beach.

14. Don't capitalize titles of most officials unless the title occurs directly before a name, and sometimes not even then.

     Titles such as president, prime minister, king, senator, judge, governor, mayor, general, pope, archbishop, chairman, and professor are all capitalized when they occur before a name-- President Reagan, Professor Waggoner, and so on -- but are all also generic terms, and there is no need to capitalize them when they stand alone.

15. Don't capitalize doctor, madam or madame, sir, my lord, and similar forms of address unless they occur directly before a name.

16. Capitalize mother, grandma, and other kinship terms for preceding generations when they are used in direct address, but don't capitalize brother, son, and other terms for the same or succeeding generations.

    When his mother and his son appeared, he greeted them, "Look, Mother, I've bought a new motorcycle--hop on the back, son." The first time mother occurs in the example, it is as an ordinary generic noun; the second time it occurs it functions as a name and is treated as one. Mama, Mommy, Maw, and similar terms follow the same rule: "Where's your mommy? " "There's Mommy."

17. Capitalize names of specific political divisions and subdivisions and the names of geographical regions and features; in most cases, also capitalize adjectives derived from such names.

    Some capitalized terms, such as the Coast for the West Coast, are somewhat slangy and, though common, may not be understood by everyone; they are certainly appropriate in novels, especially in dialogue, but may not be appropriate and usually will not be preferable to standard terms in nonfiction.

18. Never capitalize east, west, and similar terms when they indicate a direction rather than a region or location, and don't invariably capitalize them even when they do indicate a region or location.

    He traveled nine miles East is a very common error. Here the word east is merely a compass point or direction; there is no reason to capitalize it. He left the East in 1849 and followed the Gold Rush west, but found the West a disappointment and headed east again is correct, and though the apparent inconsistency in capitalization may seem glaring when attention is called to it, it would go unnoticed by most readers, who are accustomed to the distinction between region and direction.

20. Use italics (underlines on the typewriter for the titles of books; independently published poems; plays and movies; musical compositions except single songs or short instrumental pieces and those known by generic titles; and paintings, sculptures, and similar works of art.

21.  Use roman type, enclosed by quotation marks, for titles of parts of books; poems unless independently published; short stories, essays and articles and features in periodical; and individual songs and short instrumental compositions or parts of longer compositions.

22. Capitalize the main words in a title and the first and last word, but do not capitalize a, the, to, or prepositions and conjunctions of fewer than five letters when they occur in the middle of the title.

    The Bridge Of San Luis Rey is such an error; of should not be capitalized, because it is a preposition. The Rape Of The Lock is worse; both the preposition of and the article the should be lowercased. The Moon is Down is an error; is is a short word, but it is an important one, a verb, not a mere preposition or conjunction, and it must be capitalized.

    Travels With Charley is wrong; the preposition with should be lowercased. Clock Without Hands, however, is right; the preposition without has more than four letters. They Came By Sea is wrong; the preposition by should be lowercased. The Parade Passed By and the Music Died is not wrong, however-- here By is an adverb modifying Passed, not a preposition.

FIREIGN WORDS

23. Use italics (underlines on the typewriter) for isolated foreign words if they are too uncommon to treat as English words, but not for foreign proper nouns and proper noun phrases except when special emphasis or clarity is needed.

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