On Writing 1: An Approach to Academic Writing


本系列内容基于“Academic Writing for Graduate Students, 3rd Edition by John M. Swales & Christine B. Feak”这本书(简称AWG)。虽然这本书主要是面向研究生写学术论文的,但我个人觉得是里面的很多思路同样适用于General Writing或者说Writing for General Audience。

本篇为第一篇,基于书中的第一章‘An Approach to Academic Writing’,主要是写作动笔前要考虑的一些东西。

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Audience Even before you write, you need to consider your audience. The audience for most graduate students will be an instructor, who is presumably quite knowledgeable about the assigned writing topic and will have expectations with which you need to be familiar. Other possible audiences include advisors, thesis committees, and reviewers. Your understanding of your audience will affect the content of your writing.

Purpose and Strategy Audience, purpose, and strategy are typically interconnected. If the audience knows less than the writer, the writer’s purpose is often instructional (as in a textbook). If the audience knows more than the writer, the writer’s purpose is usually to display familiarity, expertise, and intelligence. The latter is a common situation for the graduate student writer.

Organization Readers have the expectation that information will be presented in a structured format that is appropriate for the particular type of text. Even short pieces of writing have regular, predictable patterns of organization. You can take advantage of these patterns, so that readers can still follow, even if you make some language errors.


我有个师兄跟我说,写作要‘think the reviewers as babies, and lead them by hands’,也就是要像能牵着读者的手一样,去引导读者去读完你的文章。很多人(包括我自己有时候)对英语写作的态度就是写完就好,字数够了就行,以为写出来了别人就一定能看懂,却没想过读者读文章的时候是什么心情,如果文章毫无逻辑结构,七零八落,读者肯定看不下去,甚至会骂娘的。所以尊重你的读者,认真对待写作,写的时候把自己当成读者,感受下自己读出来是什么样的。

Style The style of a particular piece should not only be consistent but also be suitable both in terms of the message being conveyed and the audience. A formal research report written in informal, conversational English may be considered too simplistic, even if the actual ideas and/or data are complex.

Flow Another important consideration for successful communication is flow—moving from one statement in a text to the next. Naturally, establishing a clear connection of ideas is important to help your reader follow the text.


The emergence of English as the international language of scientific communication has been widely documented. English has emerged as the international language of scientific communication. This phenomenon has been widely documented.


According to a recent survey, 26% of all American adults, down from 38% 30 years ago, now smoke. This improvement/decrease/decline can be partly attributed to the mounting evidence linking smoking and fatal diseases, such as cancer.


Presentation We believe that if the flow of ideas is good, small errors may not be noticed; when the flow of ideas is not strong—i.e., does not follow the old-to-new principle—grammar errors may be more pronounced. Thus, it makes more sense to us to focus more on content and information flow first and then tend to matters of grammar only after all other aspects of the paper are in good shape.