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  1. 尤其在商业上,报章杂志或公文书信上,尽量不用难字 (big word) 或过时的字眼 (old-fashioned word); 例如:

  Many people feel that moral education is the infrastructure of higher learning. (许多人认为道德教育是高等知识的基础) (如果用 foundation 或 basis 代替 infrastructure 就更明白)

  Three hundred acres of land is the parameter of our university,s expansion (growth). (三百英亩的土地是本大学发展的限度) (如果用limit代替parameter,会更简单易懂。)

  This news has been disseminated all over the U.S. (这消息已散布到全美各地) (如果用spread取代disseminated,不更简单?) (动词时态是:spread, spread, spread)

  The president of this college is not diminutive in size. (这大学的校长个子不小) (假如用small代替diminutive,不更明白吗?)

  I have to elucidate this document to my staff. (我要向我的员工解释这份文件) (如用explain代替elucidate,也许更明白。)

  Mr. A will endeavor to be a physician. (A 先生想尝试当个医生) (如果用try代替endeavor,会更浅白。) (endeavour = endeavor)

  We hope to visualize world peace in the future. (我们希望将来看到世界和平)(如果用see代替visualize,也许更简单!)

  The charitable organization solicits for our annual donation. (慈善机构要求我们一年一度乐捐)(假如用 ask 代替 solicit,更浅白易懂。)(solicitation是名词)

  We don't know what may transpire when we have a new boss. (当新老板来后,我们不知会有什么发生。) (如果用happen代替transpire,也许更明白。)

  Please act as soon as possible on the aforementioned matter. (前面提过的事,请尽速办理。)(如果用 previous 代替古字 aforementioned 不是更明白?)

  这就像美国大文豪马克吐温 Mark Twain 也曾说过:「我不愿在字典里找长字或难字,我绝不用『metropolis』这个字,因为我同样可以用『city』这个字来代替」。罗斯福总统为了强调美国政府不会遗忘那些穷人,在一篇讲词里用了这么一句:「We are endeavoring to construct a more inclusive society.」后来被人批评咬文嚼字,卖弄文笔。如果用浅白易懂的字眼写成:「We are going to make this country in which no one is left out.」或「We are trying to make everyone equal.」也许更简单明白!

  2. 老外也主张不写噜苏或绚丽的字眼(flowery or wordy),句子应该越短越好,一句能用两个字,绝不多加一个。 例如:

  At this point in time, we should pull together for our goal. (现在我们应该为我们的目标团结一致)(如果说:Now, we should pull......更简单。因为 at this point in time = now)

  Despite the fact that my English is not very good, I am not discouraged. (虽然我的英语不好,但我不灰心。) (如果说:Although my English is not...... 就更简短。因为despite the fact tha t= although = Though)

  I am of the opinion that Mr. Lee should resign from this position. (我想李先生应该辞职) (假如说:I think Mr. Lee should......不是更简单吗?因为I am of the opinion = I think)

  He quitted the job due to the fact that he was sick. (他由于生病而辞职) (若说:He quitted the job because he was sick. 更简单。因为 due to the fact that = because)

  In the majority of cases,he likes to ride bike to the office.(他通常喜欢骑单车到办公室) (如果说:Usually, he likes to ride...... 更简单。因为 in the majority of cases = usually)

  She shows a preference for tea rather than coffee. (她喜欢茶而不是咖啡) (若说:She prefers tea rather......更简短清楚,因为 show a preference for = prefer)

  I will bring the matter to the attention of Mr. Wang. (我要通知王先生)

  如果只说:I will tell Mr. Wang (about the matter). 不是更简单吗?因为 bring the matter to the attention of = tell = inform) (句子最后面:「about the matter」可以省去); 同理,也要避免意义的重复或用字的多余 (redundant); 例如:

  The consensus(of opinion)is that we have to act right away.(大家认为我们必须立即行动)(of opinion 可以省去,因为 consensus 的意思,就是大家的意见。)

  The letter shows that the problem(continues to)remain unsolved.(他的信显示问题尚未解决)(continue to 是多余的字,因为 remain 已经有 continue 的含意。所以句子就成为:The letter shows that the problem remains unsolved.)

  He has made his (final) conclusion in his speech.(他在演说里做出结论) (final 是多余的字,因为 conclusion 已经含有 final 的意思。)

  He has had many years of (actual) experience in business。(他有多年经商的经验) (actual 也是多余的字,因为 experience 已有 actual 的意味)

  We assembled (together) all the parts for our radio.(我们装好收音机的零件)(因为 assemble 本身就有 together 的意思,所以 together 是多余的)

  Enclosed (herewith ) please find the report of the meeting.(herewith 是多余的字,因为 enclosed 就有 herewith 的意思)(即:附上会议报告,请查收)

  写到这里,想起一位深受美国人民爱戴,一向主张不写长句、不噜苏的美国已故参议员 Stephen Young,他每次受邀参加会议、演讲、宴会时,他的回信只有三个字「我会到」(I'll be there)......。也有人打趣的说:「讲演或写作的句子,就像穿迷你裙,愈短愈好。」(Like wearing mini-skirt, sentences in speech or writing should be the shorter, the better.)

  此外还有:in reference to = about;draw to close = end; at an early date = soon等。

  3. 老外为了族群和谐相处,除不用歧视或偏见的字眼外,连男女性别,也要避免区别,以示「平等」。 例如:

  Mankind are considered the smartest animals in the world。(人类是世上最聪明的动物)= Man is the smartest animal......。 (如果改为:Human beings are considered the smartest animals...... 就能包括男女。所以 mankind = man = human beings) (注意:mankind 后面动词要用多数,而 man 的后面动词,则用单数)

  Manpower seems not strong enough in developing our economy here. (发展这里的经济,似乎缺乏人力资源。)(如果说:Labor power seems not strong enough... 也就没有「男性主义」的感觉。可见 manpower = labor power = work force = human resources)

  This small company hired a cleaning woman yesterday.(这个小公司昨天请来一名清洁女工)(如果说:This small company hired an office cleaner...也就没有男女之分了)

  He (she) has been a committee chairman (chairwoman) since 1998. (自从1998年他就是委员会主席) (假如把chairman或chairwoman改为chairperson或chair,就没有男女之分。) (如指讨论会的主持人,也可称为 moderator 或 coordinator。)

  Many businessmen (businesswomen) feel their jobs are very stressful.(许多商人觉得工作压力很大)(如果把 businessmen (businesswomen) 改为 business people 或 business executives 或 business managers 就可包括男女了)(凡是单数 man 或 woman,其多数都是 men 或 women。)

  Policemen (policewomen) should treat citizens with courtesy.(警察对人民应该有礼貌)(假如把 policemen 或 policewomen 改为 police officers 就可避免男女性别)

  Congressmen (congresswomen) should speak up for their constitutes. (国会议员应该为其选民说话)(constitute = voter) (我们也可以把 congressmen 或 congresswomen 改为 members of congress 或 congressional representatives)

  Stewardesses for international regions may get jet lag sometimes.(国际航线的空中小姐有时会有时差疲惫的现象)(如把 stewardess 改为 flight attendant,就能包括男女空中服务员。)

  同理,我们可以把 salesman 或 saleswoman 改为 salesperson;把 mailman 改为 mail carrier 或 postal worker;把 foreman 改为 supervisor 等等。

  当然,一些带有种族偏见的字眼,甚至有侮辱的味道(insulting words 或 slur),也要尽量避免使用,以免闹出麻烦。例如:

  对黑人不要用 Negro,更不能用 Nigger(用 Black 还可以),礼貌的说法是 Afro-American 或 African-American;

  对白人不要用 Honky(这是黑人骂白人的用字),正确用法是 Caucasian,或 white people;

  对犹太人不要用 Hymies,应该叫 Jewish 或 Jewish people;

  对越南人不要用 Gook,要用 Vietnamese;

  至于墨西哥人、西班牙人及中、南美洲人,包括 Puerto Rico,正确的用法多是 Hispanics 或 Latins,不过据说西班牙人为了维护自己的文化,倒喜欢别人称为 Spaniard。

  还有黑白结婚的孩子,也不可称为 Oreo(Oreo 饼乾外面是巧克力,里面是白奶油)。

  有偏见的老外,不叫华人为 Chinese,而叫 Chink 或 Chinaman(从前还叫「Yellow Peril」,即黄祸)。遇到这种事,怎么办呢?我建议:「君子不与小人斗」,最好是「不理」(ignore)或「走开」(walk away)。不过老外与你谈话时,如果使用这些不礼貌的字眼,那么你就可以说:「For your information,the word you just used is derogatory(或 inappropriate)to describe someone of my race.」(只想让你知道:你刚刚所用的字,来描写我的族群,是很不合适的)。这时,你也可说一句「拜拜」了。

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