|ZT: 134 American English Idioms - by 心紫
|来源: 心紫 于 08-08-15
1. A day late and a dollar short
If something is a day late and a dollar short, it is too little, too late.
2. All bets are off
If all bets are off, then agreements that have been made no longer apply.
3. All hat, no cattle
When someone talks big, but cannot back it up, they are all hat, no cattle.('Big hat, no cattle' is also used.)
4. All over the map
If something like a discussion is all over the map, it doesn't stick to the main topic and goes off on tangents.
5. As mad as a wrongly shot hog
If someone is as mad as a wrongly shot hog, they are very angry. (Same as, Angry as a bear or Angry as a bull).
6. At a drop of a dime
If someone will do something at the drop of a dime, they will do it instantly, without hesitation.
7. At loose ends
If you are at a loose end, you have spare time but don't know what to do with it.
8. At the bottom of the totem pole
If someone is at the bottom of the totem pole, they are unimportant. Opposite is at the top of the totem pole.
9. At the end of your rope
If you are at the end of your rope, you are at the limit of your patience or endurance.
10. Baby boomer
A baby boomer is someone born in the years after the end of the Second World War, a period when the population was growing very fast.
11. Be out in left field
To be out in left field is not to know what's going on. Taken from baseball, when youngsters assign less capable players to the outfield where the ball is less likely to be hit by a young player. In business, one might say, 'Don't ask the new manager; he's out in left field and doesn't know any answers yet.'
12. Beat someone to the draw
If you beat someone to the draw, you do something before they do.
13. Beating a dead horse
If someone is trying to convince people to do or feel something without any hope of succeeding, they're beating a dead horse. This is used when someone is trying to raise interest in an issue that no-one supports anymore; beating a dead horse will not make it do any more work.
14. Bells on
To be somewhere with bells on means to arrive there happy and delighted to attend.
15. Belt and suspenders
Someone who wears belt and suspenders is very cautious and takes no risks.
16. Bet your bottom dollar
If you can bet your bottom dollar on something, you can be absolutely sure about it.
17. Big Apple
The Big Apple is New York.
18. Big Easy
The Big Easy is New Orleans, Louisiana
19. Blow off steam
If you blow off steam, you express your anger or frustration.
20. Blow smoke
If people blow smoke, the exaggerate or say things that are not true, usually to make themselves look better.
21. Can't dance and it's too wet to plow
When you can't dance and it's too wet to plow, you may as well do something because you can't or don't have the opportunity to do anything else.
22. Cat fur and kitty britches
When I used to ask my grandma what was for dinner, she would say 'cat fur and kitty britches'. This was her Ozark way of telling me that I would get what she cooked. (Ozark is a region in the center of the United States)
23. Cat's pajamas
Something that is the cat's pajamas is excellent.
24. Caught with your hand in the cookie jar
If someone is caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar, he or she is caught doing something wrong.
25. Circle the wagons
If you circle the wagons, you stop communicating with people who don't think the same way as you to avoid their ideas. It can also mean to bring everyone together to defend a group against an attack.
26. Close but no cigar
If you are close but no cigar, you are close to success, but have not got there.
27. Coon's age
A very long time, as in 'I haven't seen her in a coon's age!'
28. Country mile
A country mile is used to describe a long distance.
29. Curve ball
If something is a curve ball, it is deceptive.
30. Cute as a bug
If something is as cute as a bug, it is sweet and endearing.
31. Decorate the mahogany
When someone buys a round a pub or bar, they decorate the mahogany; putting cash on the bar.
32. Different ropes for different folks
This idiom means that different people do things in different ways that suit them.
33. Different strokes for different folks
This idiom means that different people do things in different ways that suit them.
34. Dime a dozen
If something is a dime a dozen, it is extremely common, possibly too common.
35. Dog and pony show
A dog and pony show is a presentation or some marketing that has lots of style, but no real content.
36. Dollars for doughnuts
If something is dollars for doughnuts, it is a sure bet or certainty.
37. Don't sweat the small stuff
This is used to tell people not to worry about trivial or unimportant issues.
38. Don't take any wooden nickels
This idiom is used to advise people not to be cheated or ripped off.
39. Don't take any wooden nickels
This is a warning that you should not allow yourself to be cheated or fooled.
40. Down to the wire
If something goes down to the wire, like a competition, then it goes to the very last moment before it is clear who has won.
41. Drop a dime
If you tell someone to drop a dime, you're suggesting he or she telephone you at some future time.
42. Drop in the bucket
A drop in the bucket is something so small that it won't make any noticeable difference.
43. Drunker than a peach orchard boar
Southern US expression - Very drunk, as when a boar would eat fermented peaches that have fallen from the tree.
44. Duck soup
If something is duck soup, it is very easy.
45. Ducks in a row
If you have your ducks in a row, you are well-organized.
46. Eat crow
If you eat crow, you have to admit that you were wrong about something.
47. Fair shake of the whip
If everybody has a fair shake of the whip, they all have equal opportunities to do something.
48. Fall off the turnip truck
If someone has just fallen off the turnip truck, they are uninformed, naive and gullible. (Often used in the negative)
49. Fifth wheel
A fifth wheel is something unnecessary or useless.
50. Fish or cut bait
This idiom is used when you want to tell someone that it is time to take action.
51. Fish or cut bait
When it's time to fish or cut bait, you have to decide whether you are going to be productive or to quit.
52. Forest for the trees
If someone can't see the forest for the trees, they get so caught up in small details that they fail to understand the bigger picture.
53. From Missouri
If someone is from Missouri, then they require clear proof before they will believe something.
54. From the get-go
If something happens from the get-go, it happens from the very beginning.
55. Go fly a kite
This is used to tell someone to go away and leave you alone.
56. Go fry an egg
This is used to tell someone to go away and leave you alone.
57. Go over like a lead balloon
If something goes over like a lead balloon, it will not work well, or go over well.
58. Green thumb
Someone with a talent for gardening has a green thumb.
59. Hold the bag
If someone is responsible for something, they are holding the bag.
60. Horse of a different color
If something is a horse of a different color, it's a different matter or separate issue altogether.
61. Hot button
A hot button is a topic or issue that people feel very strongly about.
62. Hot ticket
A hot ticket is something that is very much in demand at the moment.
63. How do you like them apples
This idiomatic expression is used to express surprise or shock at something that has happened. It can also be used to
boast about something you have done.
64. If I had a nickel for every time
When someone uses this expression, they mean that the specific thing happens a lot. It is an abbreviation of the statement 'If I had a nickel for every time that happened, I would be rich'
65. In high gear
If something is in high gear, it is in a quick-paced mode. If someone is in high gear, they are feverishly on the fast track.
66. In the catbird seat
If someone is in the catbird seat, they are in an advantageous or superior position.
67. John Q Public
John Q Public is the typical, average person.
68. Kick up your heels
If you kick up your heels, you go to parties or celebrate something.
69. Like taking candy from a baby
If something is like taking candy from a baby, it is very easy to do.
70. Like white on rice
If you do something like white on rice, you do it very closely: When Bob found out I had front row tickets for the concert, he stuck to me like white on rice.
71. Little pitchers have big ears
This means that children hear more and understand the world around them better than many adults realize.
72. Lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut
If someone or something is lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut, they are of low moral standing because a snake's belly is low and if the snake is in a wagon rut, it is really low.
73. Mad as a cut snake
One who is mad as a cut snake has lost all sense of reason, is crazy, out of control.
74. Mad as a hornet
If someone is as mad as a hornet, they are very angry indeed.
75. Make bets in a burning house
If people are making bets in a burning house, they are engaged in futile activity while serious problems around them are getting worse.
76. Make out like a bandit
If someone is extremely successful in a venture, they make out like a bandit.
77. Mind your own beeswax
This idiom means that people should mind their own business and not interfere in other people's affairs.
78. Mom and pop
A mom and pop business is a small business, especially if it is run by members of a family. It can used in a wider sense to mean that something is small scale.
79. Monday morning quarterback
A Monday morning quarterback is someone who, with the benefit of hindsight, knows what should have been done in a situation.
80. My dogs are barking
When someone says this, they mean that their feet are hurting.
81. New York minute
If something happens in a New York minute, it happens very fast.
82. Nickel tour
If someone gives you a nickel tour, they show you around a place. ('Fifty-cent tour' is also used.)
83. Not know beans about
If someone doesn't know beans about something, they know nothing about it.
84. Not worth a red cent
If something is not worth a red cent, it has no value.
85. Out of the left field
If something comes out of the left field, it is beside the point and has nothing to do with the matter being discussed.
86. Paddle your own canoe
If you paddle your own canoe, you do things for yourself without outside help.
87. Paint yourself into a corner
If someone paints themselves into a corner, they get themselves into a mess.
88. Penny ante
Something that is very unimportant is penny ante.
89. Pick-up game
A pick-up game is something unplanned where people respond to events as they happen.
90. Polish the apples
Someone who polishes the apples with someone, tries to get into that person's favor.
91. Pull out of the fire
If you pull something out of the fire, you save or rescue it.
92. Pull your chain
If someone pulls your chain, they take advantage of you in an unfair way or do something to annoy you.
93. Put some mustard on it!
I think its used to encourage someone to throw a ball like a baseball hard or fast.
94. Ragged blue line
This term was used to signify the Union forces (who wore blue uniforms) in the American Civil war .
95. Raise Cain
If someone raises Cain, they make a big fuss publicly, causing a disturbance.
96. Rake someone over the coals
If you rake someone over the coals, you criticize or scold them severely.
97. Rest is gravy
If the rest is gravy, it is easy and straightforward once you have reached that stage.
98. Root hog or die poor
It's a expression used in the Southern USA that means that you must look out for yourself as no one's going to do it for you. (It can be shortened to 'root hog'. A hog is a pig.)
99. Run around the bush
If you run around the bush, it means that you're taking a long time to get to the point.
100. Saigon moment
A Saigon moment is when people realise that something has gone wrong and that they will lose or fail.
101. Say uncle
If you say uncle, you admit defeat. ('Cry uncle' is an alternative form.)
102. Sharp as a tack
If someone is as sharp as a tack, they are very clever indeed.
103. Sharpen your pencil
If someone says this when negotiating, they want the other person to make a better offer, a lower price.
104. Slap leather
This is used as an instruction to tell people when to draw their guns.
105. Slower than molasses going uphill in January
To move extremely slowly. Molasses drips slowly anyway but add January cold and gravity, dripping uphill would be an impossibility, thereby making the molasses move very slowly indeed!
106. Snow job
A snow job is an attempt to persuade or deceive someone, especially when flattery is used.
107. Squeaky wheel gets the grease
When people say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, they mean that the person who complains or protests the loudest attracts attention and service.
108. Squeeze blood out of a turnip
When people say that you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip, it means that you cannot get something from a person, especially money, that they don't have.
109. Stool pigeon
A stool pigeon is a police informer.
110. Take the fifth
If you do not want to answer a question you can take the fifth, meaning you are choosing not to answer. ('Plead the fifth' is also used.)
111. Talk a blue streak
If someone talks a blue streak, they speak quickly and at length. ('Talk up a blue streak' is also used.)
112. Tell them where the dog died
If you tell them where the dog died, you strongly and sharply correct someone.
113. That and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee
This is used to describe something that is deemed worthless. "He's got a Ph.D. in Philosophy." "So? That and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee."
114. That dog won't hunt
Very common Southern US expression meaning: What you say makes no sense.
115. That's all she wrote
This idiom is used to show that something has ended and there is nothing more to say about something.
116. Throw a curve
If you throw someone a curve, you surprise them with something they find difficult to deal with. ('Throw' a curveball' is also used.)
117. Throw a monkey wrench into the works
If you throw a monkey wrench into the works, you ensure that something fails.
118. Tough row to hoe
A tough row to hoe is a situation that is difficult to handle. ('A hard row to hoe' is an alternative form.)
119. Ugly as a stick
If someone is as ugly as a stick, they are very ugly indeed.
120. Uncle Sam
Uncle Sam is the government of the USA.
121. Under the wire
If a person does something under the wire, they do it at the last possible moment.
122. Watch your six
This idiom means that you should look behind you for dangers coming that you can't see.
123. Water over the dam
If something has happened and cannot be changed, it is water over the dam.
124. Wedge politics
In wedge politics, one party uses an issue that they hope will divide members of a different party to create conflict and weaken it.
125. What can you expect from a hog but a grunt?
This means that you can't expect people to behave in a way that is not in their character- a 'hog' is a 'pig', so an unrefined person can't be expected to behave in a refined way.
126. Where the rubber meets the road
Where the rubber meets the road is the most important point for something, the moment of truth. An athlete can train all day, but the race is where the rubber meets the road and they'll know how good they really are.
127. Whistling Dixie
If someone is whistling Dixie, they talk about things in a more positive way than the reality.
128. Whistling past the graveyard
If someone is whistling past the graveyard, they are trying to remain cheerful in difficult circumstances. ('Whistling past the cemetery' is also used.)
129. Who wears the pants?
The person who wears the pants in a relationship is the dominant person who controls things.
130. Whole ball of wax
The whole ball of wax is everything.
131. Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole
If you wouldn't touch something with a ten-foot pole, you would not consider being involved under any circumstances. (In British English, people say they wouldn't touch it with a bargepole)
132. Wrench in the works
If someone puts or throws a wrench, or monkey wrench, in the works, they ruin a plan. In British English, 'spanner' is used instead of 'wrench'.
133. You can't have cake and the topping, too
This idiom means that you can't have everything the way you want it, especially if your desires are contradictory.
134. You've got rocks in your head
Someone who has acted with a lack of intelligence has rocks in their head.
|ZT: 56组易拼错的英文单词 - from 紫君
|来源: 紫君 于 08-08-10 07:33:59
1) quite 相当
2) affect v 影响
effect n 结果, 影响
3) adapt 适应
4) angel 天使
5) dairy 牛奶厂
6) contend 奋斗, 斗争
content 内容, 满足的
contest 竞争, 比赛
7) principal 校长, 主要的
8) implicit 含蓄的
9) dessert 甜食
desert 沙漠 v 放弃
10) pat 轻拍
11) decent 正经的
descent n 向下, 血统
descend v 向下
12) sweet 甜的
13) later 后来
lately adv 最近
14) costume 服装
15) extensive 广泛的
16) aural 耳的
17) abroad 国外
18) altar 祭坛
19) assent 同意
20) champion 冠军
21) baron 男爵
22) beam 梁， 光束
23) precede 领先
24) pray 祈祷
25) chicken 鸡
26) monkey 猴子
27) chore 家务活
28) cite 引用
29) clash （金属）幢击声
30) compliment 赞美
31) confirm 确认
32) contact 接触
33) crow 乌鸦
34) dose 一剂药
35) drawn draw
过去分词 drown 溺水
36) emigrant 移民到国外
37) excess n 超过
38) latitude 纬度
39) immoral 不道德 的
40) alone 单独的
41) mortal 不死的
42) scare 惊吓
45) drought 天旱
46) assure 保证
47) except 除外
48) inspiration 灵感
49) patent 专利
50) police 警察
51) protest 抗议
52) require 需要
53) commerce 商业
54) through 通过
54) purpose 目的
55) expect 期望
55) glide 滑翔
55) strive 努力
56) stationery 文具
|Learn a sport word: Fencing/Sabre
|Yesterday, three medals for women's fencing went to three US athletes (from Yale, Duke and Nortredame respectively). In the early day, I watched TV that Bob Costas used a term "Women's Sabre" for the same event.
Let's take a quiz - what is fencing/sabre in sports in Chinese?
The answer is
|Follow the news: Learn a few Olympic English Words
flag bearer是“旗手”的英文表达，在这里指的当然就是“奥运旗手”了。类似的，“火炬手”就是 “torch bearer”。
lighting of the cauldron是“点火仪式”的英文表达，cauldron在这里指的是“圣火盆”，Olympic cauldron就是“奥运圣火盆”；而用来点燃圣火盆的“奥运圣火”就是大家再熟悉不过的Olympic flame
unauthorized transmission是“非法转播”，也叫做illegal transmission，那么authorized transmission 就是“授权转播”了；这里所说的“权”指的是“奥运版权”，即Olympic Intellectual Property Rights，简称Olympic IPR
Olympic pin是“奥林匹克徽章”或者“奥林匹克纪念章”，“纪念章/徽章交换中心”就是pin trading center，来自世界各地的“徽章收集者”则是pin collector。
Olympic theme song 每一届奥运会，主题歌都是大众关注的焦点之一。一些经典奥运会主题歌一直传唱到今天，成为奥林匹克宝贵的文化遗产.
Olympic Truce就是“奥林匹克休战”，truce指的是a state of peace agreed to between opponents 或者a cessation of all hostilities；那么“宣布休战”就是declaration of truce。
dress rehearsal指a full uninterrupted rehearsal in costumes shortly before the first performance，即“带妆彩排”。
Medal ceremony是“颁奖仪式”，costume for medal ceremony就是“颁奖礼服”，tray holder是“托盘员”，medal presenter escort是“颁奖嘉宾引导员”，而athlete escort则是“运动员引导员”。
sex determination lab就是“性别鉴定实验室”，sex hormone是“性激素”，“性别鉴定”有时也译做sex identification，不过，对未出生的胎儿进行的“胎儿性别鉴定”则是gender testing of fetuses，跟上述说法有所差别，可要注意哦。
Olympic Media Village就是“奥运媒体村”，Main Press Center是“主新闻中心”，简称MPC，International Broadcast Center是“国际广播中心”，即IBC。
"Retired Chinese gymnastics champion Li Ning was carried through the air to light the Olympic cauldron" - quoted from CNN article
|ZT: Age isn't everything - by 洁心
|Age isn't everything - 来源: 洁心 于 08-08-04 15:33:05
While I acknowledge age plays a role in how quickly one picks up a foreign language, it is certainly not a piece of cake to acquire a new language as a teen, especially an older teen.
I believe desire, drive and effort are the most important factors in learning English. I've known people who came to North America in their late twenties and were still able to improve their English by leaps and bounds within a few years, and I attribute this to their determination and efforts.
On the other end of the spectrum, I had a relative who came to Canada as a 15 year old and left 8 years later after having finished high school and university here, still with a poor command of English and a heavy Cantonese accent. While here, she did not fully take advantage of the language environment she had. She spoke Chinese at school with her friends, watched Chinese TV at home, read in Chinese whenever possible. As a matter of fact, her Mandarin improved drastically by the time she left because she hung out with fellow students from Taiwan. In her case, it turned out to be a good thing, because she eventually went back to Hong Kong and found Mandarin to be a great asset in finding work.
I believe in the saying “you reap what you sow”, where you direct you attention and effort is going to be where you find your biggest gain.
|ZT: Speak English with Calm, Confidence, and Creativity
|Speak English with Calm, Confidence, and Creativity - 来源: 画蛇 于 08-07-20
Speak English with Calm, Confidence, and Creativity
Which is more difficult for a native Chinese learning English: listening and comprehension, speaking, or writing? (Presumably, everyone here on this forum is an expert on English reading and comprehension.)
Different people have different learning experiences to relate, I am sure. Most probably would argue, however, that writing in a foreign language presents the greatest challenge. Relative to speaking, I personally find listening and comprehension less intimidating, which is likely how many others feel.
Why do so many of us find speaking the next most challenging – after writing – aspect of learning English?
One overwhelming reason, I think, has to do with the fact that when we open our mouths and speak, we are fully exposed, defenseless. Indeed, laid wide in the open is every possible flaw with our speech, from accent to intonation, from grammar to word choice, from delivery to composure, and we cannot feel more naked, rendering us helpless victims of “stage fright” attacks.
Normally, “stage fright” afflicts performers, e.g., singers, actors and actresses. To a lesser extent, it also strikes public speakers. For those of us who are still less than comfortable speaking in a foreign language in formal settings (business meetings or presentations), the nerve-wrecking fear that we are going to utterly embarrass ourselves can be all too real, and can freeze us up on the spot.
The key to avoid feeling so naked when we speak in a foreign language is three-fold: Be calm, be confident, and be creative.
When it comes to speaking in a foreign languages, there are things that are within our control and then, there are things that are not quite so. Accent, for example, is not something we can easily eliminate. Intonation, for another, often takes much practice to get to be close to how native speakers do it. It is about the things that are not quite under our control that we need to be calm about. I have an accent, but so do Dr. Henry Kissinger and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, either of theirs is more pronounced than mine. What is the big deal, really? And don’t let worries about our imperfect intonation hold us back from speaking up with calm, either.
(Just how to make sure that you always speak in a calmly manner? These tips may be helpful: take a deep breath; count to 3 before you say a word; step back to collect your thoughts if you are agitated, unduly excited, or disturbed when you are about to speak – there will always be another, more opportune time for you to say what you need to say.)
If calm more or less comes from mental preparation, confidence is something we build over time, and it takes some hard work. Naturally, when we are constantly worrying if or not the next sentence coming out of our mouths is going to be grammar-free or word choice-perfect, our body language tends to show that we are not our otherwise confident selves. But whatever level in English proficiency we are at, we can project a measure of confidence that is neither overreaching nor self-constricting. When our outward confidence is not overreaching, we are more readily accepted as equal partners in a conversation, and any flaws our speech may have are likely to be glossed over rather than scrutinized and picked on. And when we don’t self-constrict our abilities to speak by short-changing ourselves in confidence, we have a much better chance to shine when our words start rolling off our lips.
(An example of show of confidence: Right after one speaks with the third-person singular “s” dropped, he catches himself and says: “I did it again! I am still having trouble with the third-person singular ‘s.’ One of these days I am going to get it right!”)
What does creativity have to do with our abilities to speak English as a foreign language? Don’t many of us invent all kinds of awkward Chinglish phrases already thanks to our flourishing creativity? Well, that is not the kind of creativity I have in mind. By being creative in our daily communications, I mean we think both before and after we speak, and whenever necessary or appropriate, inject some thoughtfulness into our utterings and remarks. Needless to say, most of our routine conversations among colleagues are mundane and unremarkable; if somehow we from time to time drop a line that just has something sparkling (due to thought or wit) in it, our colleagues will be duly favorably impressed.
(When next time an opportunity presents itself for you to say something witty to impress your colleagues, try something like “We Chinese have a saying,” and then use an appropriate proverb. Never mind that your translation may be somewhat off; when you lead off with “we Chinese have a saying,” it is almost expected that the ensuing translation will be tilted.)
We may think ourselves progressing along the calm-confidence-creativity spectrum as we learn to master our English-speaking skills. With calm, we get ourselves off to a good start; with confidence, we present the best of ourselves wherever we are in English proficiency; and with creativity, we are on our way to shine.
|ZT: 译事难， 难于上西天
|译事难， 难于上西天 - 来源: 画蛇 于 08-07-27
From the good olden days come these rules golden,
Unto which many a sage's pithy sayings are woven.
Rhymed or not, they are hereby collected and expanded -
May they now enrich your lives and broaden your horizon.
Learn from history to be an observant student of current affairs;
After all, yesterday’s current affairs are today’s history.
Know whom we deal with, both close-by friends and far-away foes;
Act with passion and consideration - we are more alike than different.
Share a drink with soul mates, who understand us by heart;
Sing to seasoned rhyme-makers, who appreciate a good verse.
One may have numerous acquaintances scattered around the world,
But how many of them does one count as true friends?
True friends one never tires of seeing; next meeting will be just like
The first, and never a complaining word on the shared journey through hunger and thirst.
Living close to water, by and by one gets to know the fish;
Making frequent trips to the mountains, one learns to hum the birds’ tunes.
Flash water comes and goes in an instant;
The petty-minded one shuns for their nature flippant.
In bad times, treasure turns into trash;
In times good, trash turns into treasure.
You up-and-comers, apply yourselves to studies,
For the only treasure is knowledge in disguise, in times good or bad.
Think again when you next time feel the urge to pour out to strangers;
More often than not, a casual chat suffices to keep up appearances.
Pretty flowers are finicky, denying the hardest-working florist the desired fruits of her love of labor;
Willows Wild, on the other hand, flourish in the least expected places, with little nurture.
Tiger-painters often end up with paintings only resembling the object;
When the task is to know a fellow human being, how much better can one expect?
Wealth is nothing but a pile of dirt;
For virtues, the wise is only too willing to part with his golden shirt.
Water rushing down the rapids does so not out of its own volition;
Just as mindless are the white clouds emerging from the misty valleys in slow motion.
Until he set foot on the mountain top overlooking the river traveling east,
That the sea it joined ran deep he did not believe the least.
Distance tests a horse’s staying power;
Time reveals men’s true character.
Pulling together, a poverty-stricken couple can afford luxurious amenities;
Each to his/her own, once-wealthy, another couple will soon have to beg for necessities.
It is easy for perfect strangers to be friends for one day;
After some time under the same roof, whether or not they remain friends is harder to say.
Horses collapse on the wayside due to malnutrition;
Men fall short on popularity because of their destitute condition.
He is nobody’s fool who lets bygones be bygones;
He who takes his grudges to the grave is a real fool.
Strange is when kinfolk act like perfect strangers,
And perfect strangers move you more than family members.
Sweet is the water from the village well;
Endearing is a familiar face on foreign soil.
If the streetwalkers still fret over their dwindling good looks,
Should not everyone else hurry to hit the books?
Let others be the laughingstock of the peach blossom host;
I am determined to celebrate our reunion by downing one more toast.
Young beauties, spare no effort to deter the unwelcome signs of old age;
Note those prodigals – once their family fortunes are gone, they are no freer than birds in the cage.
Hosting skills are picked up at home at parents’ behest;
Away from home, one is left to fend as he can best.
What is real cannot be faked;
What is fake can never be real.
All guests deserve the highest respect;
Treating them equally with decorum requires no tact.
A penniless soul in the city has only his shadow to keep him company;
A wealthy kin hidden deep in the mountains lacks no sycophancy.
It is a fairy who leaves nothing behind for others to gossip about;
He is a sage who, however tempted, resists gossiping about others.
True, at the right price, truth can be extracted from a reluctant mouth;
Nevertheless, words from those who can be bought are not to be trusted.
For proof that money has its own worshippers, look no further than the banquet table – where it is always the wealthy to whom others flock to propose toast after toast.
Bustling locales are where one heads in search of riches;
Where quietness prevails offers one hiding niches.
Sickness is deceiving in that it rolls in with a thunder and leaves without so much as a murmur;
It so appears only because one chooses to overlook all warning signs when the sickness started manifesting itself in a tremor.
In the Yangtze, trailing ones push along the preceding waves;
In worldly affairs, up-comers race to replace the old knaves.
Water-butting pavilions are the first to greet the rising moon;
East-facing flowers get an early-start to welcome spring.
Think not you have started off the day’s travel early enough;
Look ahead – long before you, others have hit the road when the dewdrops were still hanging thick on the bough.
Take truth presented with even the utmost sincerity with a grain of salt;
Masked as kindness, unkindness trips the unsuspecting without fail.
A trip to the mountains finds many a tree with a rule-straight trunk;
In the real world as upright a folk is often nothing but bunk.
If one finds himself scorched like a leaf-less tree by a punishing sun,
Assign not blame to the sun’s discriminating viciousness.
Fate is blind.
Spring is the time to plan for the year;
When the day is still young, think about when day-end is near.
Harmony in the family leads to happiness and prosperity,
When coupled with individual application and perspiration.
Criticize oneself as one would criticize others;
Forgive others as one would forgive oneself.
It takes a small effort to guard one’s ill-conceived words from slipping;
It is a much greater undertaking to guard one’s thoughts from straying.
Let me be at the receiving end of injustice;
Just let me be not indefensible when called to face justice.
Of all cautions, the first and foremost one should heed is never engage in self-deception.
A long-time acquaintance can be more deadly than a stranger tiger.
The very bearer of relationship-wrecking tidings is himself a relationship-wrecker to be shunned at all cost.
Water from a distant source is no help to a fire roaring nearby;
Kinship far away is no match of next-door neighbors when emergencies strike.
When tea and wine flow free, everyone is a brother;
In emergencies, a lesser friendship’s answer is “don’t bother.”
Choose friends wisely – most relationships are paper-thin;
Treat life as a chess game – unexpected moves are only to be expected.
In remote mountains, trees routinely thrive even after their 1000th year;
Humans, enduring wear and tear, seldom last beyond the century mark.
The weak is best to avoid heavy-lifting;
The light-weighted is best to avoid advice-gifting.
In poverty, stay away from high society;
In need, steer clear of kinship.
He who lives by the golden rules has no enemies.
Intellectuals are a country’s invaluable asset;
A scholar’s very presence commands respect.
The best recipe for quitting drinking lies in the eyes of a sober man looking over a drunkard.
Seek help only from the willing and generous;
Dispense succor to the needy in emergencies.
A drop of water tastes supreme to the thirsty;
A toast beyond drunkenness is best left unproposed.
Nothing cheapens friendship faster than overstaying one’s welcome;
Frequent visits with kinship turn close relations into strangers.
The honorable scandalizes not;
The upright embezzles not.
Set you mind to a goal and persevere,
And it shall be only a matter of time when you will get there.
A thorough understanding of the Classics is worth more than a thousand ounces of gold.
An uneducated son is no better than an ass;
An uneducated daughter is no better than a pig.
Life has something wanting when the granary is depleted;
Upbringing has something lacking when the offspring is uneducated.
Why lock yourself up in a study for years when you can gain the same enlightenment by conversing with a learned man?
An unlearned man is not much better than a suited-up beast.
Of the myriads of human beings all over the world, how many are true heroes?
A good home-brewed wine is for entertaining distinguished guests;
A well-spent wealth is one dispensed to satisfy knowledge quest.
Save a life and you are in high heavens.
Doomed are the fish that live in the pond just outside a burning city’s gate.
What with well-foreboding blades growing in the courtyards! - let others have all the omens;
I myself am quite content to have none of the nonsense.
If you ever dream about riches from rags,
Know that applying oneself is the only practical path.
It takes hundreds of years to build something truly great;
To destroy it, an instant is more than needed.
An individual is no match of the law.
Do good and stop not;
Quit evil and continue to mend.
Clear water spawns no fishesl
In recruiting followers, a sage has only unfulfilled wishes.
Only half of us are above average;
The perfect, none.
A daughter defers to his father until she marries, when she defers to her husband.
A foolish man lets his wife get the better of him;
A wise woman humors her husband’s whim.
No use to fight gossips – they are indeed everywhere;
Stay unswayed, and they are as good as heard nowhere.
Strive to be upright, and if you end up short, so be it;
Don’t be tempted by evil, less you regret later, when it is too late.
Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.
A family life lived in a lean-to beats a cloistered withdrawal from worldly affairs all the time.
What is yours will come to you by natural course;
What is not yours cannot taken by force.
Established abbeys welcome those pursuing other-worldly goals;
Gentlemen’s studies hide learned scholars worthy of lofty posts.
Phoenixes nest high on the bamboos in the courtyard;
Palace-worthy fishes lend their touch of elegance by gracing the pond.
Make friends of only those who are one’s superior;
After all, one gains little by looking at one’s reflection in the mirror.
A few days is all it takes for one to overstay one’s welcome.
All relationships are not the same, some more substantial than others;
Once well-versed in worldly affairs, come what may, one can handle with ease.
The glib get away with the crude;
The tongue-tied is chastised for being rude.
The knife-sharpener sharpens the knife only to nib his finger;
The riches-seeker hunts for wealth only to harm his wellbeing.
Know when you have had your fill and ask for no more, you live a life both wholesome and pleased;
Know when you have reached the limit and push no more, you leave behind a reputation pure and distinguished.
Consider yourself fortunate if you suffered only material losses;
Much worse you would have been should physical harm have resulted.
Inches missed, miles apart resulted.
One scales great heights by placing himself at the foot of the peaks;
One goes places by not thinking himself above trivial travails.
A good execution trumps a perfect plan.
God helps those who help themselves.
Siblings grow apart;
Friends travel afar.
One may hate wealth, but not food;
One may complain about living, but not death.
While others dread old age, I am only too happy to see my hair turns salt and peppery;
Just think, many of our brethren die young and never reach old age!
Beware of eavesdroppers.
Good news travels slowly;
Bad news travels only fast.
Hooligans never outgrow their small-mindedness;
Gentlemen learn from their imperfections.
Gentlemen never compromise their character because of poverty;
The same cannot be said of the petty-minded.
When one is poor, he often is worry-free; yet when he comes into wealth, he loses his birthright to a quiet night’s sleep.
Kindness sometimes is paid back with hatred.
Engage in life’s pursuits by just means;
Ill-gotten gains will find a way back to haunt you.
Long-term plans help stave off imminent worries.
Those who share my ideals pray for my success;
Others accuse me of ulterior motives.
Make hay while the sun shines.
When you have accomplished something, enjoy a quiet moment of celebration;
You never know, but envious minds may make you regret your revelation.
From gossiping springs many a trouble;
To avoid headaches, refrain to run when you can only wobble.
An ounce of temperance in time saves many troubles down the road.
Why are not men as smart as the turtle, who knows not to stick its head out when it sees trouble?
Abide by the law, and live a happy and contented life;
Go your crooked ways, and every night will be a sleepless night.
Life is short – make the most of it.
When one is still young, he does not know the importance of getting a head start with his education;
When he finally realizes that something is amiss, it is only too late – white hair is already creeping up his elevation.
After the second quarter, the moon reflects a glimmer light by the night;
Past midlife, one may as well kiss his life-dreams good-bye.
Worrying about the offspring is often a hopeless undertaking,
Instead, why not have faith in providence: each is worthy only what he is making.
Men seldom live beyond the century mark;
Yet they constantly worry about things ten times as afield in life’s park.
Carpe diem - make haste and make merry!
If tomorrow shall bring worries, pray let they spoil not my high spirits now and here.
Faced with a dilemma, back-pedaling is seldom is an option;
Freedom is something one creates by not getting into an impossible situation.
If medicine can sometimes treat maladies out of stories,
Spirits are hardly the right remedy for genuine worries.
Poverty-shy souls keep their mouths shut;
Still water goes nowhere - up not and down not.
A hundred suitors go after one prize daughter is announced to be waiting (in the wings);
A hundred other horses become concerned when one star performer goes missing.
Flowers in bloom call for a feast of appreciation;
A full moon calls for a night out star-gazing.
Three shots deliver you to enlightenment;
A blackout sends a thousand worries to oblivion.
A mountain knows it has its name made when the fierce tiger calls it home;
A sea abides its time for recognition while accommodating every tributary coming to join its cause.
Embrace love and be respectful;
Appreciate beauty and be yourself.
Natural beauties need no cosmetics.
Grace is showing gratitude at the receiving end of great kindness;
Achievement is success celebrated with little fanfare.
Marital bliss is best protected by turning a deaf ear to gossips.
As long as the bright moon is sound and safe on the Five Lakes,
One needs not worry about his angling days being numbered.
The fisherman drops his anchor wherever fishes gather;
He gathers his gear to move on whenever, due to water becoming shallow, fishes scatter.
All good things come to an end.
Leave one agitated word unsaid;
Even instigated, keep one temper checked.
Forgive one move that offends;
Take one step back, however hurried.
At thirty, it is time to reign in ambitions;
At forty, time to stop pining for unrealized wealth dreams;
And at fifty, time to make time for planning for when one is no longer breathing.
Living, refrain from talking about the dead;
In death, what cares what becomes of the ashes in the shed.
Parental love, however tender, could see one only so far;
Marital commitment sometimes also comes to an end.
Like the birds, we all happen to rest in the same woods on this night;
When the time comes, in different directions we hesitate not to scatter and flight.
The unassertive folks get picked on;
The submissive horses get ridden on.
Windfalls make a person rich;
Extra fodder keeps a horse in shape.
The ultimate judge sees all and discriminates against none.
Justice is blind – the day of reckoning comes for all.
If the Yellow River has its clear-water days,
One surely needs not worry that his time will never come.
When in favor, plan for when being out of favor;
When in safety, mull over every potential danger.
Leave out of sight no vulnerabilities from enemy attacks;
Leave out of mind no precautions about walking on a bridge.
Heroes become heroes by risking theirs lives in doing what they do;
As flowers are ephemeral, wealth can vanish without so much a warning as an a-chou.
Relationships are like the season –
There are times good and bad, warm and cold.
I could have waited after traveling the first thousand miles with you;
Yet since parting ways is evitable, I might as well say good-bye here and now.
Allow me to sit on the sidelines watching with a disinterested eye;
Sooner rather than later, the day of reckoning will come for you, too, albeit so far you have only been riding high!
See things and say not a word;
Asked about things, you know not a thing.
Steer clear of whatever does not you concern;
Return home as soon as you have no more to learn.
What is fake cannot be made real.
Do good, and steer clear of evil.
A promise made, a promise kept.
Like father, like son.
A fish out of water is no fish at all.
Champions’ roads are paved with many years’ unacknowledged work.
Live debt-free, and you don’t have to pray for longevity.
Save for a rainy day.
Plant by the season, grow by the day,
And you just have kept hunger at bay.
An unearned penny is a penny you don’t have for spending.
Fate is chance, and chance is finicky.
Some may be better than others at hiding emotions;
All emotions, nevertheless, find a way to show on one’s face.
Judge an official by his clerks’ wellbeing;
Judge a worship house also by its clerks’ wellbeing.
Thundering anger gets little accomplished;
Roaring show of power endears no one.
Forgive to cultivate character;
Compromise for greater gains.
It is so very difficult to earn a kind word but only too easy to dispense a hurtful one.
Watch your words – what is said can be retrieved.
Beware of sabotage disguised in flatteries;
Welcome criticism meant to be correctives.
Show respect to an oncoming martial artist by displaying your instrument;
Observe decorum by not flaunting your masterpiece poems to non-poets.
One out of any three people is good enough to be one’s teacher. What one needs to do is learn from the good traits and check oneself against the bad ones that others exhibit.
Failure to apply oneself in youth leads to regrets in old age.
God forbid that bad things shall happen to good people.
A few early-morning drinks lay waste to an entire day’s plan;
A light-headed spousal squabble ruins a full night’s sleep.
We reap what we sow.
Justice may be delayed, but not denied.
Avoid appearing to curry favor with officials;
Be among the first guests to pay respects to deserving hosts.
Go to a party invited only.
The grasshopper preys on the unsuspecting cicada only to fall victim unawares to the calculating finch behind him.
I ask not to be as rich as Bill Gates or Warren Buffett;
All I ever wish is to have Solomon-wise children and grandchildren.
Seeds of marital bliss were sown a hundred lives earlier.
We have a hundred lives’ worth of karma to thank for our riding on the same ferry today;
For sleeping in the same bed tonight, that of a thousand lives.
Ten thousand kills on the enemy side are achieved at the cost of three thousand troops of one’s own.
Unkind words can inflict as much as hurt as a knife wound.
Weather-flattened plants shall come to life again when spring returns;
One’s youth, once gone, is gone for good.
Call for a hotel well before the sun sets;
Check the day’s weather as soon as the rooster stirs at the crack of dawn.
People in high places did not get there for their small-mindedness.
The rich can afford to plan for the distant future;
The financially-strapped have to cope with the present as best they can.
Small favors endear.
One cannot tamper with fate.
Striking the flint properly produces sparks;
If you are yet to lift a finger, don’t complain about smokes not forthcoming.
Knowledge comes from applying oneself to studying;
If one refuses to apply himself, surely nobody can force him to.
Hold your sniffing at the elderly until you yourself become old;
If you behave yourself, you will learn that aging is only natural.
Wealth is good, and the honest people earn it through honorable means;
Sex is desirable, and the virtuous ladies approach it with decorum.
Good deeds beget good karma, and bad deeds beget bad karma;
In due time, the karma principle never fails, or misses.
If and when one loses his credibility, he has lost it all.
All wide-spread rumors start with one individual.
When in doubt, consult with the expert.
To avoid being pound-foolish, steer clear of being penny-wise.
Guarding against famine is a yearly business;
Guarding against burglary, a nightly affair.
The difference between with education and without education is the difference between staple plants and wild weeds.
There are occasions for drinking and there are occasions for singing.
One saves breath by letting the wind help him fan the fir.
Let the fisherman lead one to where the waves are.
Relationships flourish when one makes no demands;
Non-drinkers cannot care less about sky-rocketing wine prices.
Worries grow with responsibilities;
Disputes increase with relationships.
One dreads less fierce wild animals than double-dealing by the seemingly friendly.
Strongmen are strongmen only until they are bettered by yet stronger men;
Evil-doers only to doers of greater evil.
Penny-pinchers don’t need a sizable family fortune to support a comfortable lifestyle;
Fashion greats don’t need a limitless wardrobe to buttress a personal style.
Time does not you or me wait.
One can pray for favorable winds, one can play on geopolitical advantages, yet one’s most reliable help in any adventure remains to be cooperation from one’s corroborators.
Contentedness is more precious than monetary wealth.
Of all things obtainable under the sky, education tops them all in meaning and importance.
All the great mountains are occupied by the monks;
All the pithy sayings are collected in the books.
It feels good to do good;
Guilt preys on conscience.
The lamb feeds at his mother’s breasts kneeling down;
The crow cares for its parents in old age by bringing them food.
Anxiety does one little good when the time is not ripe;
Quiet preparation often accomplishes just as much.
Seeing others do good, help spread the word;
Hearing about others’ imperfections, let them go out through the other ear.
A wise wife helps keep her husband out of trouble;
A filial son gives his sire comfort.
It is no use lamenting over broken pots or crying over spilt milk.
Abundance is what one thinks it is;
Leisure is when one makes time for leisure.
All roads lead to Rome.
Easier said than done.
Devil is in the detail.
The pursuit of perfection gets one nowhere.
We may apply our different trades, but we all are to make a living and to raise a family.
It is sweet to be able to move up; it is hell to have to move down;
Birds of the same feather flock together.
Greed is a bottomless pit.
One picks his own priority between the stomach and the roof.
To each his own.
(Mind one’s own business.)
Everyone wishes his offspring were wise and well-educated;
Everyone hopes his household to be well-off and abundantly-provided.
Commonsense like this is granted to be universally true;
Should you wish not to waste time, debate on something more sophisticated.
A dispute can sometimes be settled amicably with a small gesture of kindness.
True charity needs no motivation.
Great ideas are born out of necessity.
Danger is no deterrent to heroism.
All journeys start with the first step;
All edifices start with the first brick.
Everyone could use a little counsel/edging from time to time.
Last-resort solutions are seldom good solutions.
A small lantern in the dark looks brighter than a seven-storey tower of light.
Hide as one may, providence sees it all.
True legacy is not measured by size.
A little spiritual life goes a long way to ease life’s disappointment.
The smart ones often wind up in want;
The dim ones sometimes luck up in high places
A night accompanied by a lone full-moon feels so much more beautiful than a starry sky.
A brother at one’s throat is one sibling one could live without.
Do only what is right and concern oneself not with matters of little consequence.
Peony flowers are pleasing to the eye, but little date buds bear fruits in time.
Mistreating the little ones is worse than doing it to the elderly;
Mistreat none and one has a clear conscience.
Be content living off one’s own two hands tilling the land;
A life of no need and no want is a fulfilled and rewarding one, amen!
Wait for one’s turn, and abide one’s time,
Less a little impatience lead to things getting out of hand.
Compete with one’s inner self to get ahead;
Not against fellow brethren only to beat oneself dead.
Behind every successful man is an equally successful woman.
When mommy is not happy, nobody is happy.
(When the sovereign suffers, each and every one of her subjects suffers.)
Ambition discriminates against neither age nor economic status.
(If anything, one discriminates against himself when it comes to ambition.)
All good things come to an end.
There just is no justification for taking a life.
If the new-riches often don’t know how to start a new lifestyle,
The new-poors are much harder-pressed to rid their old spendthrift ways.
Guests fill up the seats at the table;
With the cellar well-stocked, wines flow free.
When it rains, it pours.
Every good thing comes to be at a cost.
It seems only yesterday when I was riding the rocking horse;
Now I see in the mirror an old man with peppery hair.
Virtues are often the luxury of the wealthy;
Many a thief owes his sticky fingers to poverty.
All the stars line up to the North Star;
All the rivers travel east to join the Great Sea.
Life is about finding one’s rightful station.
Good advice jars the ear;
Good medicine displeases the palate.
Obey Mother Nature and thrive;
Disobey Mother Nature and pay your own price.
Man fights to death for the last nugget of gold;
Birds fight to death for the last peck of food.
A well-suited couple is one that produces harmonies music like a pair of complementing musical instruments.
With a male heir, poverty shall be only short-lived;
Without a male heir, wealth never lasts very long.
Benevolent souls live to old ages;
Evil-doers die young.
Indulged with, delicious food turns into poison;
Celebrated without constraint, happy occasions lead to tragedy.
In wealth, it is all the more important to observe high moral standards;
In poverty, it is likely unwise to fuss over formalities.
Wind-whipped water in paintings makes only make-believe waves;
However eye-pleasing, embroidered flowers give out no fragrance.
The presence of the truly great is still felt long after they are gone.
When the pot calls the kettle black, it is time for the former to take a look in the mirror.
Emulate others in doing good, and run from bad influence like retreating from scalding water.
Financially-strapped folks cannot be very assertive;
Malnourished horses cannot be but in stubbly hair.
Worries are best kept close to one’s chest.
If illness is mainly due to luck and often attracts charitable attention,
Poverty is often one’s own making and receives little sympathy.
Refrain from sharing not spur-of-the-moment sentiments;
All too often, once the moment passes, one no longer feels the same.
It is a beautiful season that pleases everyone.
One errs in rendering judgment by appearance only;
True greatness cannot be measured with ordinary means.
A handful of dirt can make a pail of clear water murky;
An undisciplined drop of alcoholic drink can lead an otherwise upright man astray.
Right next to a bush of wild weeds may grow a precious fragrance;
Out of a humble abode may walk a man destined for high place.
Many a grand mansion has seen starved bodies;
Many a humble abode has produced men bound for high posts.
With a little help from alcohol, one sees the world with an entirely different perspective.
If all is predestined, surely no hustling of any kind can change anything.
It is the thought that counts.
Repeated a hundred times, a falsehood gains a ring of truth.
Perfect knowledge spoils a sense of adventure.
Time is fair.
Life is short.
You cannot take it with you.
(You cannot take your money to the grave.)
Of all the classics, the book of filial obligations comes first.
Avoid lawsuits at all cost.
Justice is not blind – it favors the rich.
Frugal habits build wealth;
Poverty roots in carefree spending.
The road to high places is built with education.
Plot as one may, when it really matters, fate always seems to have the final say.
On life’s journey, what matters is not how soon you get there but how you get there.
You may only whisper, yet the omni-prescient hears you loud and clear;
Your private trespass may be ever so slight, ye the omni-prescient sees it as in broad daylight.
Refrain from doing the smallest evil, for the smallest evil is still evil;
Rush to aid the needy, who can use even the most trivial gesture of kindness.
Mistreating others invites retribution;
Forgiveness cultivates goodwill.
The day of reckoning comes quicker than one can blink an eye.
The sages’ sayings represent the highest authority.
Everyone carries his own head over his shoulders;
Everyone makes up his own mind.
Seeing is believing.
A thousand days’ upkeep of a military is justified by one day’s deployment.
In times of peace, talent is exalted;
In wealthy families, discipline is neglected.
Knife wounds heal easily;
Not so with hurts inflicted by vicious personal attacks.
White hair is the only thing that is fair in this world,
Favoring not the celebrities with any less of it.
Parading before the public is a business reserved for the rich;
With shy wallets, the poor need to be dragged to leave home.
All officials aspire to the very top, which makes it all the more important to get a head start by out-competing fellow candidates at the initial selection.
Plants sprout up from the ground;
Trees branch out from the trunk.
It is a thriving household where father and son get along well;
It is a prosperous household (business) where siblings (partners) stand by one another.
Officials pronounce regulations and policies;
Communities make pacts and covenants.
Eleventh-hour efforts don’t get one very far.
One is fortunate to be born in peacetime;
Friends wish to have met each other when they were still young.
Generals are missed in times of political instability;
Wives are missed in times of financial stress.
When the ponds are full, it is easy to forget there are days of drought;
As long as the land is diligently attended to, one needs not worry about being unable to feed a family.
Buried deep in the ground, roots have no fear of the roaring winds;
Standing upright, trees cannot care less about the slanted shadows cast by the moon.
You all praiseworthy readers, pray hear this respectful supplication:
Life is all about self-discipline, and stick to it we all must, regardless of our individual station.
Should we be wise enough to learn from the above pithy sayings reflecting life's golden rules,
At the end of life’s journey, however treacherous which may at times seem, we all shall be crowned with nothing but jewels.
|ZT: A Casual Chat with 画蛇 on Learning English Composition
|A Casual Chat with 画蛇 on Learning English Composition - 来源: tcmquack
A Casual Chat with 画蛇 on Learning English Composition
Quack: Before I ask my first question, I want to thank you for graciously agreeing to sit down with me for a little chat. As I wrote in my e-mail to you earlier in the week, I am interested in learning from your experience of dealing with some of the more-common issues we encounter in learning English composition.
画蛇: You’re most welcome, Quackie. Although we have not known each other for long, in the short time since we have met, I have grown to like your direct, humorous style, both in writing and in conducting yourself as a person. Trust me, the pleasure is mine to have, as you call it, this little chat.
Q: Thanks for your kind words. Well, since you just mentioned writing style, let me start there. To be honest with you, I am not even sure that I have a writing style, for I, after close to two decades of studying English, still struggle on a daily basis trying to find my own voice in writing. Just how does one develop one’s writing style?
蛇: I don’t mean disrespect, Quackie, but I think you have gotten this business of developing a writing style backwards. In practice, you really don’t go out set a goal of developing a certain writing style. A writing style is more something you end up with rather than something you actively and conscientiously pursue.
Q: Fair enough. I guess I need to remind myself from time to time to get away from certain preconceived concepts, writing style among them.
蛇: Exactly. The key is be yourself. Or as you put it, find our own voice, and be true to it. If you do that, the style thing will come naturally.
Q: My next question has to do with my favorite subject: rewriting. You don’t seem to have much faith in rewriting, do you? Do you rewrite at all?
蛇: Don’t silly. Of course, I do. Everyone rewrites. I think you got the idea that I don’t believe in rewriting because, in the very first piece I wrote for职坛’s “Improve Our English” activity, I advocated focusing on getting the first few words down and letting the piece’s natural flow take one to a logical conclusion. I argued for a quick and efficient start because so many of us find ourselves stuck in the first paragraph or even the first sentence. Others may find that other ways of getting past the first few sentences work better for them. Personally, I just like starting things rolling early and worry about perfection later.
Q: Ah, perfection! Are you a perfectionist? I almost have to say that you must be, since all your writings are just so smooth, perfect.
蛇: Now, you are just saying that! No, I am not a perfectionist, and have never wanted to be one. For one, I am too lazy to be a perfectionist (Hannah knows that well since, if I can get away with it, I don’t even bother to type more than 20 Chinese characters in a post). For another, I am of the opinion that to meet our daily communications needs, we don’t need to be a perfectionist. Perfectionism is wasteful, inefficient, and very much unnecessary.
Q: You are not by any means condoning spelling or grammar errors, or other sloppy composition mistakes, I take it?
蛇: Not exactly. But everyone has a spelling or grammar error now and then. You avoid the basic mistakes – so basic that I call them “flagrant fouls,” and you will have a passable, decent piece of writing. For more formal communications, e.g., a job application cover letter or resume, one pays closer attention to watch out for these avoidable errors.
Q: That makes good sense. From hereon, I will watch out for “flagrant fouls” in my own writing. Would you mind giving us a couple of examples of “flagrant fouls”?
蛇: 1. “He don’t like me because he hate me.” 2. “You was the only person I know when I first come to this country back in 2001.”
Q: I see. To our credit, we don’t come across many errors of that kind on 职坛. And what about the more forgivable mix-ups you see here?
蛇: The more forgivable mistakes apply to not just here, but also to any workplace. Some examples are: using “affect” where “effect” is meant or vice versa, “a SSA expert,” “its vs. it’s”, or misplacing “only.”
Q: Forgivable or not so forgivable, they are still eyesores to folks of more exacting standards. How would you advise others to avoid those mishaps?
蛇: I don’t see any shortcut to solve this problem but be attentive to details and learn as one goes along. That is true of finessing in general, is it not?
Q: Good point. I intend to wrap up this piece under the tolerable length of the average职坛 reader. Any parting wisdom for the rest of us?
蛇: 1. Stay in one’s comfort zone (write on what one knows about); 2. write for the right audience (steer clear of pampering or condescension); and 3. when in doubt, err on being brief and simple (cut out any clogging, cluttering non-essential stuff).
Q: Very sound advice, indeed. On behalf of all 职坛 readers, thank you!
|Why Oil Overfill Should Always Be Avoided?
|What damage can be done if oil is overfilled?
When you overfill the crankcase by a quart or more, you risk "foaming" the oil. If the oil level gets high enough, the spinning crankshaft can whip the oil up into a froth, like the stuff that sits on top of your cappuccino; and the problem with that is that the oil pump can't pump froth. It's like trying to drink from a straw when there's not much left in the glass -- what you get is mostly air. And air can't lubricate your engine.
The same principle is applicable to transmission fluid; do not overfill. Always fill to the levels to the car specifications.