(中学篇)2011年第11期:以段落为中心的写作手法(广东:郭园园 )

以段落为中心的写作手法


广东深圳市龙城高级中学    郭园园

 
【摘 要】大多数篇章由段落组成,段落的写作质量直接影响篇章的整体写作水平。掌握段落的写作技巧与方法成为写出高水平文章的关键。本文以分析段落的基本结构为突破口,阐明了段落主题句、支撑句、结论句的写作技巧,并以段落的完整性、统一性、连贯性三个基本特征为出发点,就如何把握段落基本特征、展开与组织段落做了深入研究。本文还讨论了英语写作中多样化表达的方式。

【关键词】段落写作,段落扩展,段落组织,写作技巧,写作
 
       一、引言
       写作过程是一种综合能力训练,它最能反映一个人综合运用语言的能力,并直接体现写作者的语言水平。写好一篇高质量的作文,除了词句的使用、语法的掌握、语感的培养等,写作技巧和写作方法的掌握也起着重要作用。
       段落(Paragraph)是构成文章的基本单位,写出高水平文章要从写好段落开始。要想写好段落,可以从段落结构布局、段落组织与展开、词句运用等几个方面着手。
       段落既是全文的组成部分,又自成一体,有相对独立的主题思想。为了阐明主题思想,段落往往用一个句子概括主题,并置于段首,这就是主题句。段落中的其他句子都围绕主题句展开,对其进行叙述、说明或论证,这些就是支撑句。在段落结尾处,常需要对段落的主题作进一步说明、强调或总结的句子,这就是结论句。主题句是整个段落的核心,支撑句是整个段落的主体。段落的基本结构是“主题句+支撑句+结论句”。段落写作首先是主题句、支撑句和结论句的写作,这是英语段落写作中的最基本要素。
       段落的内容要完整,主题要统一,逻辑要连贯,这是段落的三个基本特征。段落内容要用细节阐明主题思想,以加强对主题信息的支撑,这就要展开段落。展开段落时要用一定的逻辑次序组织段落的内容,以保证段落的连贯性。
       在英文写作中,单调的句式、多次重复的用词往往使文章枯燥乏味。为了体现文章的活力,展现句美、词美的感觉,灵活多变的句式、贴切的用词是达到这一目标的写作手法(戴建萍,2010)。
       二、主题句、支撑句、结论句的写作
       段落是一组句子的集合。段落必须表达完整的意思:如描写事物,争论某件事,驳斥某观点,对某事提出疑问、提出要求或者给事物下定义。典型的段落由三部分组成:主题句、支撑句和结论句(May, 2009)。以下是一个典型的段落:
       [段落示例1]The students in the class come from many different parts of the world.(主题句) Some are from European countries such as France, Spain and Italy. Others are from Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel. Still other students were born in Asian countries including Japan and Korea. The largest number of students are from Latin American countries like Mexico, Venezuela, and Peru.(支撑句) The class is an interesting mixture of people from many different countries.(结论句)
       该段的主题句、支撑句、结论句在文中用下划线标识。主题句用来阐明段落的主要思想,指出谈论的话题是什么,所有支持主题句的细节和描述都与这一主要思想有关。支撑句用原因或事例等细节对主题句予以解释和说明,是段落的展开。结论句则可以用不同的措辞再次强调主题思想或回答主题句的隐含问题,有着首尾呼应的作用和画龙点睛的效果(Driscoll & Brizee, 2010)。
       1. 主题句的写作方法
       主题句一般居于段首,通常在提供信息或解释观点的段落中使用。读者通过浏览主题句就可以了解段落的概要。主题句应是合乎语法规则的完整句子,以肯定句为主,同时需要限制词对主题加以限定或约束。为了准确表达观点,好的主题句需要使用关键词或词组。主题需要有可写性,不能太笼统,也不能太具体。例如:
       The three causes of the American Financial Crisis.
       分析:该句不完整,缺少成分,不合乎语法规则,不能作主题句。
       There were three causes that led to the American Financial Crisis.
       分析:该句完整,成分齐全,是很好的主题句。
       Riding in a bus is more convenient than driving a car for at least three reasons.
       分析:这个段落主题要求写 riding in a bus(topic),要把 driving a car(aspect)和riding in a bus(aspect)作比较,陈述原因(reasons)。由此可见,作者在aspect(方面)和reason(原因)两方面来限制主题。
       In the story Soldier's Home, Krebs tells his mother he wants no part of God's Kingdom.
       分析:这个主题句过于具体,无法展开段落。
       In the story Soldier's Home, Krebs is a lonely, cynical veteran.
       分析:这个句子可作为主题句,接下来可以围绕 lonely和cynical展开段落。
       Let me tell you something about overpopulation.
       分析:这个句子作为一个段落的主题句过于笼统。
       Why has the world's population been increasing rapidly in the last decades?
       分析:这个句子是个很好的主题句,作者从cause和time两方面限制了主题,能在一个段落内展开论述。
       2. 支撑句的写作方法
       段落写作的第一步是写主题句,第二步是写支撑句。例如,针对“陈述你将生活在郊区的理由”这样的写作命题,第一步是写出主题句,如:There are several reasons why I will live in the suburbs next year. 第二步则列举数个理由展开主题。
       [段落示例2]
       ① There are two main reasons why I have decided to live in the suburbs next year. ②First of all,there is a transportation problem. ③My company will move to the suburbs. Because there are fewer public transportation lines connecting to the suburbs, I have to live near my office. ④Since my car was damaged, and I do not have money to buy a new one to commute to work, it is very inconvenient for me to live in the city. ⑤The second reason is that the suburbs are an amazing place to reside in, ⑥because there are fewer people there and it is quieter and not as crowded. ⑦The air there is not polluted and fresher, which is beneficial to my health.
       主题句:two main reasons(句①)
       理由1:transportation problem(句②)
       ● office move(句③)
       ● no car(句④)
       理由2:an amazing place(句⑤)
       ● fewer people and not crowded(句⑥)
       ● fresher and cleaner(句⑦)
       作者就两个主要理由用更具体的细节支持主题句。可见,段落的展开依赖于支持主题句的细节。如何展开段落在本文第四部分有详细论述。
       3. 结论句的写作方法
       结论句通常与主题句一样包含段落中心思想,然而所用措辞和表达方式与主题句不同。
       在段落示例1中,主题句是:The students in the class come from many different parts of the world. 结论句是:The class is an interesting mixture of people from many different countries. 主题句和结论句在关键措辞和表达方式上进行了转换,但表达的实质意思是一样的。
       在写结论句时,首先要把握主题句的关键词。例如,在段落示例1中,中心思想是the students come from different parts of the world,关键词是students、different parts、world。其次要总结细节,回答主题句中隐含的问题。在有些段落中,主题句隐含某些问题,隐含的问题通过支撑句论述或说明,结论句就是总结细节,回答隐含问题。最后要用与主题句不同的措辞表达同一中心思想。
       在段落示例1中,主题句的关键词是students、different parts 和world;而在结论句中,关键词是people、mixture、different countries,将students用people替代,different parts of the world用different countries替代,但表达的中心思想一致。
       [段落示例3]
       My hometown has changed greatly. When I last visited here, about half the houses had been torn down to make way for a highway. The remaining buildings were plastered with billboards and surrounded by traffic signs and litter. Now it has become dirty, noisy and full of cars.
       主题句:My hometown has changed greatly.
       主题句关键词:changed
       主题句隐含的问题:How has the hometown changed?
       细节:
       (1)a highway built — noisy and full of cars
       (2)full of billboards,traffic signs and litter — dirty
       结论句:Now it has become dirty,noisy and full of cars.
       结论句关键词:dirty, noisy, full of cars
       本段落中的结论句总结了细节,并回答了主题句中隐含的问题。
       三、如何把握段落的基本特征
       主题句、支撑句、结论句是段落写作的最基本要素。此外,还要在宏观层面上保证段落内容的完整性、主题的统一性、逻辑的连贯性,把握好段落的这三个基本特征(Driscoll & Brizee, 2010)。如果抓住了段落的三个基本特征,段落成文之后就会骨架优美,形象清晰,整体感强烈。
       1. 段落的完整性
       段落的完整性指的是段落展开充分。主题句一旦确定,就应该展开论述,细节越充足越好,可以使用给出数字、列举例子、进行描绘等方法来展开段落。
       [段落示例4]
       Ever since the advent of a computer, it has played an important role in people's lives. The computer used in the Manhattan Project led to the successful creation of the atomic bomb ①in the 1940s. Computers were also applied to the process control of products and scientific calculation ②from the 1950s to 1970s. Scientists employed a number of computers in the simulation of power plants and weather forecasts ③at the beginning of the 1980s. ④Nowadays, computers have become a moving office along with the Internet and phones so people can work using them anywhere, anytime.
       主题句:Ever since the advent of a computer, it has played an important role in people's lives.
       细节:① in the 1940s ② from the 1950s to 1970s ③ at the beginning of the 1980s ④ nowadays
       本段按照时间顺序提供细节,举例说明计算机在人类生活的各个时期发挥的重要作用。
       2. 段落的统一性
       段落的统一性是指主题思想贯穿整个段落。段落中的每个细节都应支持主题句。为了支持主题句,要尽可能多地提供细节,但要避免滥用细节。
       [段落示例5]
       ① The capital city of a country is usually a very important city. ②Government offices are located in the capital city and political leaders often live there or nearby. ③There are many different types of governments in the world. ④The capital may also be the center of culture. There are always museums, libraries, and universities in the capital. ⑤Finally, the capital city can serve as a center of trade, industry and commerce, so it is often the financial center of the country.
       主题句:The capital city of a country is usually a very important city.(句①)
       细节:
       (1)Government offices are located in the capital and political leaders often live there or nearby.(句②)
       (2)The capital may also be the center of culture.(句④)
       (3)... it is often the financial center of the country.(句⑤)
       无关细节:There are many different types of governments in the world.(句③)
       显然在这个段落中包含了一个无关细节,没有支持主题句,应该将其删去。
       3. 段落的连贯性
       段落的连贯性是指段落中的句子以清晰、符合逻辑的顺序连接。连贯性能保证各个观点之间以及观点与主题句之间形成联系。连贯性通过一致的时态、统一的逻辑顺序以及连接成分得以保证。
       (1)时态的一致性:在段落中,句子的时态要一致,如果随意变换时态,段落就不可能取得连贯性。对于一般类型文体,时态使用有章可循,如传记通常用过去时,描述类文章通常用现在时。选用哪一种时态取决于作者处理材料的方式。
       (2)逻辑顺序的一致性:段落内容的展开和组织都需要有逻辑性。组织段落常用的逻辑顺序有时间顺序、空间顺序、重要性顺序和熟悉度顺序等。
       ① 时间顺序法是段落组织中最简单和最常见的方法,通常在叙述和过程分析类文章中使用。
       在叙述和分析过程时,对发生、记录的事件或步骤按照时间顺序叙述。在确定写作目的后,写出主题句,再使用first、then、next等把细节连接起来。
       ② 空间顺序法主要用于描述景物、场面、建筑等。对于按空间顺序组织段落的作文,要事先确定描述场面的方式,如从左到右、从上到下、从远到近、从背景到前景、顺时针、逆时针等空间顺序。在描写某次参观时,可同时运用空间顺序和时间顺序,以增强段落内部的连贯性。
       ③ 重要性顺序法就是使用先主后次或先次后主的段落组织方法,前者先强调重要的观点,然后列举次要观点;后者先列举次要观点,把重要的留到末尾。
       ④ 熟悉度顺序法是按照读者对细节的熟悉程度排列细节,展开段落。通常先谈论读者比较熟悉的、具体的细节,后谈论读者不大熟悉的细节。
       在具体写作段落的过程中,使用哪一种顺序取决于作者的写作目的和读者对主题的熟悉程度。下面仅对以时间和空间顺序组织段落的方法予以说明。
       [段落示例6]
       We enjoyed our visit to Dr Hassan's house, which is perched high up on a hill. Walking up the long driveway,we approached the huge bronze door. A butler was standing in the open doorway, ushering guests into the house. Going in, we passed the oak-panelled library and the formal dining room before we arrived at the ballroom, where the reception was being held. Under three sparkling chandeliers,more than a hundred people were enjoying champagne, hors d'oeuvres and good conversation.
       该段落采用时间和空间顺序写作手法,按照参观时间和空间顺序描写所见所闻,其时空顺序为:driveway→door→house→library→dining room→ballroom。
       (3)巧用连接成分:巧用连接词,重复某些关键词,可以增加段落的连贯性。连接词和关键词可以起粘着物的作用,把各部分连接起来,使句子间的关系更加清楚。连接成分主要有连接词、代词、重复的关键词语。
       [段落示例7]
       ①Until recently daydreaming was viewed as a waste of time. ② Or it was considered an unhealthy escape from real life and its duties. ③But now some people are taking a fresh look at daydreaming. ④And it may be that more people are suffering from a lack of daydreaming ⑤than are suffering from too much of it.
       在段落示例7中,连接词包括:①until recently ②or ③but ④and ⑤than。段落中重复的关键词是daydreaming。②中的it和⑤中的it都代替的是daydreaming。
       四、段落展开策略
       段落展开是用细节对主题作说明、解释和论述。展开段落是段落写作的关键,常用的方法有:事实与数据法、举例法、比较与对比法、分类法、因果法、叙述法、描述法以及过程分析法。限于篇幅,本文只讨论事实与数据法、举例法、比较与对比法、分类法四种段落展开手法。
       1. 事实与数据法
       事实是客观存在且可被证实的事情,例如:“Water cannot fire.”以及“Oil and water do not mix.”是事实,两者都可以通过实验证明其真实性。但“Doing exercises can improve our health.”则见仁见智,它是一种看法。数据是以数字形式呈现的事实,用于给某一主题提供有意义的信息。
       [段落示例8]
       Use of the Internet has grown very quickly. In 1983, there were 562 computers connected to the Internet. By the turn of the century, there were 72.3 million computers in 247 countries online. Experts say that the Internet is now growing at a rate of approximately 40 percent a year. As time goes on, the Internet is becoming more and more popular.
       段落示例8中的主题句为:Use of the Internet has grown very quickly. 本段落使用了数据法来论述主题,用很多数据说明Internet的使用快速增长。
       在使用事实和数据时,切莫将事实与看法混为一谈。在写作中,要用事实支持自己的观点。其次,不使用不相关的数据。如果为了增加观点的可信度而使用不相关的数据,即使这些数据是真实的,也会引起误解。
       2. 举例法
       举例法也是展开段落的常用方法。举例法有两种形式,一是先陈述观点,后举出一个或多个例子阐明观点;二是先举一个例子,后转入例子所要阐明的观点。
       [段落示例9]
       The countryside is an amazing place to live in. First of all, there is a lot of fresh air in suburb areas. For example, not only are there few factories and cars to pollute the air, but also there are lots of trees to make breathing easier. Secondly, it is not crowded on the outskirts of a town. For instance, houses and buildings are spread out on vast areas of land. Finally, people are friendly outside of the cities. To illustrate, neighbours help one another with community cleaning. So, living away from the city is wonderful for various reasons.
       段落示例9是典型的举例法,先摆出观点,再通过举例来阐明观点。用举例法展开段落时,例子要恰当,要能够支持自己的观点,并要准确阐明例子所支持的观点。
       3. 比较与对比法
       比较与对比法也是段落展开常用的方法。比较方法和对比方法基本一致,不同的是比较方法强调两事物如何相同,对比方法强调两事物如何不同。
       [段落示例10]
       Life in the city is quite different from life in the suburbs. People living in the city are constantly exposed to the hustle and bustle of urban life. But life in the suburbs is generally quiet and casual and generally more low-key than it is in the city. If city dwellers want to see trees and grass, they must go to one of the public parks. On the other hand, the streets of many suburban communities are lined with trees and shrubs, and each house has its own grassy yard. A person living in the city is close to many sources of entertainment, but people living in suburban areas must go into the city for entertainment.
       段落示例10主要采用对比法,对比都市生活与城郊生活。在具体写作中,比较法和对比法可以同时使用。
       在用比较或对比的方法展开段落时,首先要确定比较或对比的基点,一旦基点确定,就可以用逐项(item-to-item)比较或逐点(point-to-point)比较的方法展开段落。逐项比较针对被比较或对比的两个特定事物,先叙述甲事物,再叙述乙事物。逐点比较重点放在两事物的对应特征上,先叙述每个事物的某一特征,再叙述每个事物的另一特征(May, 2009)。
       4. 分类法
       分类法是把一事物分成几个类别,表明这些部分与整体的关系。在写作时以总类开头,然后列举各个类别并对其作一些描述。
       [段落示例11]
       There are three classes of personnel at our college. The first class is the staff who are in charge of daily administration. These people work at the section in charge of scientific research and equipment, continuing education, teaching affairs and so on. The faculty classified as the second class include teachers and researchers who teach students or do research in different subjects. The last class is made up of employees who are hired to work in different departments as a supplement to our college personnel. They need to sign a labour contract every three years.
       在段落示例11中,主题句为:There are three classes of personnel at our college. 分类词为classes;列举词为:first、second、last;所分的类为:staff、faculty和employees。
       写分类段落必须遵循以下分类原则:
       (1)对事物的分类遵循同一分类原则;
       (2)所分的类别必须互不隶属和关联;
       (3)分类必须完整;
       (4)根据对所分类别的熟悉程度排列顺序;
       (5)使用分类词和列举词。
       用分类法展开段落时先使用分类词介绍概类,再使用列举词(如first、second、third)表明概类中的各分类。常用的分类词有kind、type、group、thought、way、class、part、element、factor、aspect、division、characteristic、subdivision、reason、category等。
       五、词句多样化的表达形式
       一篇经典优质的文章除了内容丰富和组织严密外,词汇和句型的运用起着重要作用。字词准确使用、句型结构灵活多变及搭配合理均可以达到表达形式多样化的效果,使文章生动有趣、充满活力(胡湘华,2010)。
       1. 使用近义词或同义词
       在段落写作中,多次重复使用一个词会使文章变得单调乏味,巧妙地运用近义词或同义词,可使句子的表达形式发生变化,从而增强文章的可读性。
       例如,在段落示例9中,使用同义词或近义词的方法达到了表达方式多样化的效果,如用 suburb、countryside、outskirts、outside of the cities等不同的词表达相近的含义。本段主题句“The countryside is an amazing place to live in.”和结论句“So, living away from the city is wonderful for various reasons.”使用amazing和wonderful两个意义相近的词表达了同样的意思。再者,可将主题句中的amazing用charming置换,结论句中的various用many替代,用词多变,但句子表达的意思没有改变。
       为了使表达方式多样化,名词、动词、副词和形容词都可以用它们的近义词或同义词来相互替代,有时名词可用代词替代。在段落示例10中,people living in the city、city dwellers、they、a person living in the city均表示城市居民,这些词或短语用在不同的句子中。
       英语中同义词众多,在表达时用意义相近的短语代替单词也能体现作者的词汇运用能力。例如:
       I have made up my mind to study English. / I have decided to study English.
       A piece of burning paper resulted in the big fire. / A piece of burning paper caused the big fire.
       2. 使用分词或分词短语
       分词有过去分词和现在分词,分词或分词短语在句子中常作后置定语和状语。现在分词通常表示正在进行的动作,过去分词通常表示被动或完成的动作,它们的使用丰富了句子表达形式和内容。例如:
       The thick crowd is sluggish. It is flowing up and down this street. He is swallowed up in the crowd.
       以上句子为简短单句的罗列,通过合并句子和改写成含有现在分词短语作定语的长句能更有效地表达思想。句子可以作如下改写:
       He is swallowed up in the thick crowd flowing sluggishly up and down this street.
       又如:The town was north of the Red River, and a tornado struck it, and it was practically demolished.
       这组句子由三个句子组成并列句,表达方式单调乏味,累赘而不简练。如果将相关句子改成包含过去分词短语作定语形式的句子,表达形式会更为紧凑简练,看起来更接近英语文风。句子可以作如下改写:
       The town, located north of the Red River, was struck by a tornado and practically demolished.
       再如:With the fire burning all night, she had a sound sleep.(现在分词作状语)
       She gazed, her hands clasped to her breast. (过去分词作状语。)
       分词作状语可修饰谓语动词或整个句子,表示动作发生的时间、原因、条件、结果、让步或伴随的情况。通常句子主语与分词的主语一致,否则需要在分词前添加主语,构成独立主格结构。
       3. 使用名词表达动词意义
       许多动词都有对应的名词,如lose的名词是loss,construct的名词为construction。一般来说,在英文写作中使用动词对应的名词表达动词的意义也能体现写作者的写作功底。可以在名词之前或之后加入定语修饰成分,从而使表达的信息更饱满、更丰富。这种表达方式言简意赅、形象生动。请看下面的例句:
       His failure in the exam again made his mother very worried.(failure是名词,动词为fail。)
       No one can enter the office without permission.(permission是名词,permission与permit表达相同意思。)
       4. 长句与短句交替使用
       一般说来,短句结构简单,用词少,信息容量小,简明扼要,生动活泼;长句结构复杂,用词多,信息容量大,表达严密、细致、精确。从修辞效果看,短句节奏快而且简洁灵活,生动形象;长句节奏慢,且细致严密。在英语表达中,如果只用短句或只用长句,语气和节奏缺乏变化,就容易使人产生单调、乏味之感。只有长短句交错使用,相映相衬,才能加强语言的艺术感染力,增强文章的表达效果(张旭瑾,2009)。
       [段落示例12]
       ①We can imagine the beautiful surroundings. ②There are many trees along the streets. ③There is a clean river in the city. ④There are many fishes in the river. ⑤There are willow trees on one side. ⑥There are some stretches of grassland on the other side. ⑦ There are many flowers there.
       段中七个句子均为短句,句型结构单一,长短相同,十分单调。下面是修改后的段落:
       ① Just imagine the beautiful surroundings we can create if we make our cities greener. ② Green trees line the streets. ③ A clean river winds through the city,in which a lot of fishes abound. ④On one side stand rows of willow trees. ⑤ On the other side lies a stretch of grassland sprinkled with many yellow and red flowers.
       改写后的这段文字有长句①、③、⑤,也有短句②和④,一长一短,表现出抑扬顿挫的节奏感。不仅句子长短交叉,而且句型结构变化也很大,使文章流畅自然,生动活泼。
       5. 使用复合句
       在段落中,使用大量堆砌的单句在一定程度上降低了表达效果,复合句可以将结构松散的单句关联起来,呈现简洁、明了的表达效果。英语写作常用的复合句包括定语从句、状语从句、名词性从句(练稳山,2010)。例如:
       定语从句:Mary is a girl in Class 1, who speaks English very fluently.
       状语从句:The boy was saved because the doctor arrived there before it was too late.
       名词性从句:His teacher didn't know why Xiao Ming was always late for school.
       名词性从句包括主语从句、表语从句、宾语从句和同位语从句等。
       6. 巧用连接词,丰富句型和表达方式
       如果在写作中过多使用so、and、then、but、or、however、yet等连接词,非但达不到丰富表达方式的目的,反而使句子结构松散。巧用连接词不仅能够丰富句型,而且还能够把思想表达得更清楚,使语义更连贯,尤其是一些表示从属关系的连接词,如who、which、that、because、since、although、after、as、before、when、whenever、if、unless、as if等。例如:
       The Mississippi River is one of the longest rivers in the world,and in spring it often overflows its banks,and the lives of many people are endangered.
       上句用了and把三个分句并列起来,单调乏味。如果使用关系代词which,就可以使句式更多样,语义更连贯,语言更流畅。例如:The Mississippi River,which is one of the longest rivers in the world,often overflows its banks in spring, endangering the lives of many people.
       在英文写作中,要掌握一些常用的连接词的使用,如表示罗列的first、then、finally、moreover等;表示时间顺序的recently、at first、in the beginning等;表示转折关系的but、however、though、otherwise等;表示并列关系的and、also、too、as well as等;表示因果关系的because、because of、as等;表示让步关系的although、however、no matter how等;表示目的的so that、so as to等;表示强调的in fact、certainly、no doubt、obviously等;表示归纳概括的in a word、in short、in brief、as far as I know、in conclusion等。
       此外还要掌握一些常用的句型,如in order to、in order that、would rather do ... than do、prefer doing ... to doing ...、not ... until、It is no use / good doing ...、It is ... that ...、so ... that ... 等。
       六、结束语
       以段落为中心的英文写作技巧和方法可以延伸到篇章写作。篇章是段落的集合,篇章在结构上与段落是一致的。篇章的结构可以说是段落结构的扩展。段落的写作方法和手段同样适用于篇章的写作。
 
(本文发表于《中小学外语教学》(中学篇)2011年第11期)
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