Hit the nail on the head、Things The Throw-away Society等12篇英语散文中英对译

Hit the nail on the head、Things The Throw-away Society、Grouping the Gifted:Pro、The Plug-in Drug: TV and the American Family、Appetite、Beauty、Cultivating a Hobby 、Why Nothing Works、Dull Work、Euphemism、A Red Light for Scofflaws、Walls and Barriers等12篇英语散文中英对译

Unit 1

Text A

Hit the nail on the head


Alan Warner

1)Have you ever watched a clumsy man hammering a nail into a box? He hits it first to one side, then to another, perhaps knocking it over completely, so that in the end he only gets half of it into the wood. A skillful carpenter, on the other hand, will drive the nail with a few firm, deft blows, hitting it each time squarely on the head. So with language; the good craftsman will choose words that drive home his point firmly and exactly. A word that is more or less right, a loose phrase, an ambiguous expression, a vague adjective, will not satisfy a writer who aims at clean English. He will try always to get the word that is completely right for his purpose.


2)The French have an apt phrase for this. They speak of “le mot juste,” (the exact word) the word that is just right. Stories are told of scrupulous writers, like Flaubert, who spent days trying to get one or two sentences exactly right. Words are many and various; they are subtle and delicate in their different shades of meaning, and it is not easy to find the ones that express precisely what we want to say. It is not only a matter of having a good command of language and a fairly wide vocabulary; it is also necessary to think hard and to observe accurately. Choosing words is part of the process of realization, of defining our thoughts and feelings for ourselves, as well as for those who hear or read our words. Someone once remarked: “How can I know what I think till I see what I say?” this sounds stupid, but there is a great deal of truth in it.

法国人有一个很贴切的短语来表达这个意思,即“le mot juste”,恰到好处的词。有很多关于精益求精的作家的故事,比如福楼拜可以花几天时间力求使一两个句子在表达上准确无误。在浩瀚的词海里,词与词之间有着微妙的区别,这使我们很难找到能准确表达我们意思的词。这不仅是扎实的语言功底和相当的词汇量的问题,还需要人们绞尽脑汁,细致观察。措辞是认识过程的一个步骤,也是自我情感表达,使自己以及听众和读者深刻理解的一个环节。有人提出:“在我思想未成文前,我怎么知道自己的想法?”这听起来似乎很离谱,但它确实很有道理。

3)It is hard work choosing the right words, but we shall be rewarded by the

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