Onward and Upward|字數多、vocab深,是好英文的關鍵嗎?

我的學生當中,有在天水圍就讀中學的學生,也有在英國就讀Eton College的學生,年齡方面,最小的8歲,最年長的50多歲,是一位在公司做管理跟我學Business English的女士。學生來自港澳大陸、新加坡、英加澳。因我的接觸面很廣,所以我能明顯感到香港本地學校的英文教育的不足。

例如,本地學校的學生一般會被灌輸這個在外國早已過時的概念:作文時,寫的字數要多、用的vocab要深,加上grammar大致無誤,就能拿到高分。符合這些標準的作文,的確能考DSE English時拿到高分,一個在香港讀名校的男生曾跟我說:「我見過的所有拿到Level 5**(最高grade)的DSE英文作文,都寫得很長,有些多達800字,所以雖然考評局書面上說寫大約400字就可以,我也盡量寫到800字。」

我也是本地學校的產物,只不過書看多了,培養出另一套審美,認為simplicity is beauty。下面兩段文字一個是DSE Style,另一個是simple style,which one do you prefer?

DSE style  (112 words)

I am writing to inform your readers of the prodigious number of cases regarding animal abuse in recent months. For all intents and purposes, it is a very sad matter indeed how many malevolent people in Hong Kong are culpable of carrying out the atrocious, reprehensible act of hurting their pets. The existence of laws that prohibit animal abuse is without a shadow of doubt inadequate, since the maximum punishment is only a fine of 200K and three years imprisonment. Needless to say, it is beyond dispute that this level of punishment is to a large extent woefully inadequate in putting a stop to the detestable, vicious behaviour of animal abuse.

My rewrite (53 words)

You know something is seriously wrong with Hong Kong’s animal protection laws when abusers are subject to a maximum punishment of three year’s imprisonment and a 200K fine, while smugglers who try to pass through the customs with an endangered plant are looking at 10 years behind bars and 10 million in penalty.

Michelle Ng

聯絡方式: michelleng.coach@proton.me
個人網站: https://michellengwritings.com
逢周日英國時間晚上8時 / 周一香港時間凌晨4時刊出




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