你的文字會否不當地使人喘不過氣來?

細心閱讀以下的文字,有沒有難以明白的地方?

If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks, I've had them, everybody has had them, but obstacles don't have to stop you, if you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up, figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

圖片來源:http://www.gratisography.com/

大家有沒有在什麼地方停下來反覆思想?特別是在"but obstacles don't have to stop you, if you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up"那裏?

這段文字原來的標點符號並非這樣。

原來文字:

If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. -Michael Jordan

改篇文字保留了原文的所有字詞,不同的是文字中間的停頓標點都換成逗號(comma)。現在,大家大聲讀出這兩段文字,能感受到不同嗎?
以逗號作為停頓符號,是不少英文學生(無論母語是什麼語言)常犯的毛病。這也是正常的,因為當你用心寫一個段落的時候,句子與句子間都有密切的關係。可是,在英語體系中,如"if"的句子,可連着前面一句,又可以接着下一句,不使用句號(full stop / period)會造成混亂。

簡單來說,英文非問句有三個重要的停頓符號--full stop(.)、semicolon(;/分號)和comma(,)。Full stop清楚表示大停頓,semicolon 比 full stop 停得短一點,comma停得再短一點。因此,若果你一直使用",",讀者就會以為你滔滔不斷、連綿不絕、片刻不停,弄得喘不過氣來啊!

停頓使用合宜,能使讀者與作者同步。以上述文字為例,"I've had them"已經清楚表明一個想法,"Everybody has had them"是另一個想法,但是它們中間以分號(;)分開,又把它們拉在一起一點點。標點符號很神奇吧!

日後,大家寫作的時候,不妨誦讀一下自己的文字,或者心中有口,感受自己文字的呼吸。這樣就更容易掌握停頓標點的用法了!


【專業一點】:這些令人喘不過氣的句子,在學術界稱為"run-on sentences",就是一直繼續、不停來的意思。

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