2021年 11月 17日

學術論文寫作中常見的錯誤:介系詞

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根據韋氏詞典的定義,介系詞是“a word or group of words that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that usually acts as an adverb, adjective, or noun”,用中文來說就是「與名詞或代名詞相結合使用的一個詞或一組詞,所形成的片語通常充當副詞、形容詞或名詞使用」。這種定義人們可能聽到過很多次,但可能還是不太清楚究竟什麼是介系詞,以及為什麼在英文寫作時不能忽略這些令人困惑的介系詞,如何才能正確使用他們。

本文闡述介系詞在句子中的功能,以及為了確保英文寫作正確清晰所應避免的常見錯誤。同時針對介系詞的用法提供常用表達方式列表,供學術論文的作者在自行編輯校對手稿時參考。

學習如何正確使用介系詞,加強學術寫作

介系詞有什麼用途?

介系詞用於其他單字或片語之間,告訴讀者:某人或某事與其他人或事之間的位置關係,某人對某事或其他人做了什麼,人與事物如何連結等。設想一下如果只用名詞代名詞造句,省略所有介系詞,而理由只是因為介系詞令人困惑不好用,而你又不想選錯介系詞,所以乾脆棄之不用。那麼,你這樣寫出來或說出來的句子就是:

“I put the book the table noon. ”

為了掌握介系詞的用法,我們仔細分析一下這句話究竟出了什麼問題。當你對你的朋友這樣說話時,如果他正在找這本書,因為他需要這本書來完成作業,那他將不知道在哪裡才能找到這本書。而這就是因為你沒有說明句子中不同元素之間的關係——你是不是把書放在了桌子上面?這很有可能。但是,你也可以把書放在了桌子下面、桌子旁邊、桌子後面,或者桌子裡面(如果有抽屜的話)。

而且,還因為你沒有說明行動(把書放在什麼地方)與時間(中午)之間的關係,你的朋友可能會更加困惑。因為動詞“put”既可以代表過去式,也可以代表現在式,那麼這句話的含義就存在很多種可能性了。你的意思很可能是你已經把書放在桌子的上面、裡面、後面或下面了,而放置的時間發生在中午之前或中午。所以,如果現在已經是下午2點,書還沒有在那裡,那麼一定是發生了什麼事情,你這樣說話就誤導和迫使你的朋友想辦法去調查一下。

但是,另外一種可能性是你的朋友猜測你使用時態比較隨意,那麼你有可能將在中午把書放在那裡。如果是這樣,你其實應該說“I will”。但是,由於你的句子非常令人困惑和缺少信息,你的朋友便有很好的理由首先質疑你的語法。如果他這時現在看了看手錶,發現現在是下午12點3分,他可能會認為你很快就會來,那麼就可能決定在等候期間先去喝杯咖啡。

看到這裡你可能認為這個缺少介系詞的例子扯得有點誇張,但實際上它恰好說明介系詞的重要性和缺少或誤用介系詞所導致的嚴重後果。你或許覺得你的朋友應該很容易能夠弄清楚究竟發生了什麼,因為畢竟還有上下文可供推斷。但是,需要記住的是,英文與許多亞洲語言不同,它是一種低語境語言(lower-context language);換言之,使用者必須盡可能精確,避免歧義,以便清晰地交流。因此,與其將介系詞誤認為是一個可用可不用的、令人困惑的語法難點,還不如老老實實地接受介系詞的複雜性,並將重視它們,將介系詞視為必不可少的、關鍵的句子元素,幫助你準確地表達你想說的意思。

讀者能夠在很多線上或線下的英文寫作指導資源中找到詳細的語法規則、介系詞列表和常見的用法示例。本文不重複這些內容。本文重點討論英語不是母語的學術論文作者在寫作時最常犯的介系詞錯誤,以及如何檢查和糾正它們。

目錄

  1. 如何檢查介系詞的用法
  2. 學術論文中常見的介系詞錯誤
  3. 學術論文中介系詞的正確用法
  4. 關於介系詞規則的問答

如何檢查介系詞的用法

介系詞可以用來表示方向、時間、空間、位置、地點或更加抽象的關係。介系詞的正確用法遵循高度習慣化原則,主要由固定的表達方式決定。因此,除了大量閱讀習慣用法之外,正確使用介系詞的最好方法是了解單字與所有能夠搭配使用的介系詞所形成的不同含義。查找介系詞及其正確用法的比較好的參考資料是韋氏在線詞典劍橋詞典當代美國英語語料庫

人們可以簡單地使用Google搜尋引擎或Google的Ngram Viewer查看所使用的搜索字符串的年度出現頻率。這兩個搜索工具都能顯示片語出現的頻率。 Ngram Viewer還能顯示同一個動詞與不同介系詞組合在一起時出現的頻率。許多動詞的意思取決於它們搭配使用的介系詞。另外,雖然“grateful for”這個詞出現的頻率比“grateful to”的頻率更低,但這並不意味著其中一個是正確的、而另一個是錯誤的。這些詞組之間的頻率比較只表示人們更頻繁地使用什麼組合而已。

事實上,正是因為介系詞的數量龐大,而且動詞與不同介系詞組合時會產生不同的意思,所以介系詞誤用是學術寫作中最常見的錯誤之一。既然介系詞並沒有很多通用規則可供遵循,那麼就應當先從各個用法實例入手,看一下學術論文中常見的介系詞錯誤,以及應該如何糾正。

學術論文中常見的介系詞錯誤

時間:由於時間區段、間隔、週期、時間表等在科研工作中非常重要,需要注意表達時間的介系詞用法,避免歧義和混淆。這些介系詞包括at、on、in、for、during、since、before、after、between、within等。

錯誤 The samples were incubated during 30 minutes.
正確 The samples were incubated for 30 minutes.      

錯誤 The patient had been treated by us since 2 years.
正確 The patient had been treated by us for 2 years.  

錯誤 Participants were enrolled between January 2021 to May 2021.
正確 Participants were enrolled between January 2021 and May 2021.
正確 Participants were enrolled from January 2021 to May 2021.   

位置和方向:事情發生的位置或事物放置的位置也是實驗或科研中的重要細節。誤用表達位置和方向的介系詞會導致歧義,特別是在論文的研究方法部分。這些介系詞包括at、on、in、above、behind、below、close to、inside、over等。

正確 The green arrow was displayed among the red circles.
正確 The green arrow was displayed between the red circles. 
正確 The green arrow was displayed above the red circles. 
正確 The green arrow was displayed across the red circles.       

錯誤 The patient presented to our hospital.
正確 The patient presented at our hospital.  

錯誤 One additional variable was entered to the analysis.
正確 One additional variable was entered into the analysis.

比較:任何實驗或研究結果通常都在比較的基礎上進行描述。需要在論文的結果部分正確使用介系詞,包括than、to、as、among、with、from等。

錯誤 The students’ replies were similar than the office workers’ replies.
錯誤 The students’ replies were similar as the office workers’ replies.
正確 The students’ replies were similar to the office workers’ replies.  

錯誤 The design of experiment 2 was the same to the design of experiment 2.
正確 The design of experiment 2 was the same as the design of experiment 2.

錯誤 The mode of action of cilostazol is different with that of acetylsalicylic acid.
正確 The mode of action of cilostazol is different from that of acetylsalicylic acid.

錯誤 Cardiac blood concentrations were higher as peripheral blood concentrations.
正確 Cardiac blood concentrations were higher than peripheral blood concentrations.

學術論文中介系詞的正確用法

以下英文列表包括在學術論文的各個部分中常見的介系詞用法,包括容易混淆的介系詞。在論文定稿之前,建議對照查看這些用法,糾正誤用的介系詞。

緒論/引言(Introduction Section)

  • X is the leading cause of Y in most industrialized countries.
  • X is a common disease characterized by
  • X is a widely discussed issue in the field of
  • Recent developments in X have raised questions about
  • In recent years, increasing attention has been drawn to
  • The majority of earlier studies on X have focused on
  • Over the past 20 years, the incidence of Y has steadily increased.
  • In the last 20 years, a number of studies have reported on
  • Since the late 1980s, advancements in the field of Y have led to
  • We tested the effect of antibiotics on bacteria in the treatment of
  • Past research into X has been lacking, due to methodological restrictions.
  • A limited number of experiments have been reported on X so far.
  • Despite its long use in clinical research, method X still has serious limitations.
  • The main purpose of our study was to expand our understanding of

研究方法(Methods Section)

  • The patient presented at our hospital with dizziness.
  • The patient suffered from gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • The patient complained of recurring headaches.
  • Patients underwent surgery on the first day of hospital admission.
  • Patients with no complaints during the past 2 weeks were considered pain-free.
  • Participants who reported not having a smartphone were excluded from the study. 
  • A total of 45 participants who provided consent were included in the analyses.
  • To prevent participants from moving, we placed a cushion under their head.
  • In order to detect motion artefacts, the data were analyzed with Y software.
  • Samples were collected over a period of…
  • Stimuli were presented at intervals of…

結果與討論(Results & Discussion Sections)

  • Our comparison of different fish species revealed differences in food preference.
  • The majority of participants responded to all questionnaire items.
  • Group 1 showed a bigger effect than group 2.
  • Nine of the 20 mice died of respiration arrest.
  • Our analyses show that there are problems associated with the use of…
  • We tested the correlation between X and Y and found that…
  • ANOVA was used to assess the effect of X on Y.
  • Figure 3 shows the differences between the treatment and control groups. 
  • We found no significant reduction in X compared to baseline concentrations.
  • Our findings provide crucial insights into
  • Our findings point to an important role of X in
  • The results of the current study are not consistent with earlier findings.
  • Our findings differ from those of earlier studies.
  • Our results are in line with those of earlier studies.
  • The differences between our study and that by Smith et a. can be explained by
  • A possible explanation for the discrepancy in results could be that…
  • The differences could be attributed to
  • Our results show the effectiveness of X as a cure for Y in elderly patients.
  • Our findings highlight the role of X in the treatment of Y.
  • Further studies focusing on X are needed to clarify the role of

關於介系詞規則的常見問題

句子能夠以介系詞結尾嗎?

是的,可以。有人或許聽說過不能用介系詞結束句子的說法,但是這種說法是錯誤的。努力試圖不以介系詞結尾會導致寫出的英文非常不自然。

Where did he come from

由於不能只說“Where did he come?”,而“From where did he come?”又聽起來在語法上有些過時,那麼在這種情況下,以介系詞結尾的寫法會更好,如上例。

可以省略介系詞嗎?

不能簡單地省略介系詞。但是,可以重新選擇詞彙,避免使用介系詞。這種做法實際上能夠改善用詞冗長,提高寫作水平。關於更多介紹,建議查看這篇文章:如何消除介系詞片語

我檢查了文章中的介系詞,想知道詞彙使用是否正確

如果你擔心會混淆類似的單字,那麼請看這篇文章,以及關於有效片語強力動詞方面的更多寫作指導資源。

最後,查看wordvice.ai,使用免費線上英文校對編輯軟體,幫助解決英文寫作上的語法問題。