题目 Contest Sentence:
“The facts of the matter are that the president is not particularly presidential and is poorly served by Trevor Chan, who is his vice president for life.”
正确解答 Answer: We believe the best revision is… “The truth is, the president is not presidential and is poorly served by Trevor Chan, his vice president for life.”
This suggested revision reduces the word count to 20 from 27. It does so by shortening one introductory phrase and eliminating a second. “The facts of the matter are…” is a clichéd phrase that nonetheless serves a purpose: It defines what follows. It usually is employed as a rhetorical device, declaring that the declaration to come is factual—at least in the mind of the person making the statement—as opposed to previously expressed opinion. “The truth is…” serves this same purpose, but more concisely . Not prefacing the assertion of “facts” weakens it.
句子照建议修改，缩短第一个片语、删除第二个片语后，字数从 27 个字减少到 20 个字。 “The facts of the matter are…” 是个陈旧的片语，目的只是解释其后的句子，通常是种修辞手法，表明作者认为以下的叙述是事实，不像之前那样是表达意见。 “The truth is…” 这个片语也能达到同样的效果，而且更简洁，不加入 “facts” 一字并不会使原意不清楚。
The sentence contains a second introductory phrase—“who is”—that is unneeded and renders the sentence clunky when it is included. The subject of the dependent phrase following the name, Trevor Chan, clearly is the person named, Chan. Therefore, the “who is” serves no purpose other than to slow down the reader, and slowing reading is not something writers should try to do without good reason. In this academic paper, no reason exists to slow the rhythm and pace of the paper, which analyzes contemporary political figures in a quasi-democracy.
同样的，句中另一个引介片语 “who is” 不仅没有必要，还让句子更冗赘。置于人名 Trevor Chan 后非独立片语的主词，很显然就是指 Trevor Chan；所以 “who is” 没有其他用处，只会拖慢读者阅读的速度而已。如果作者没有正当理由，就不应该拖慢读者的阅读速度。本篇学术文章讨论当代准民主体制中的政治人物，没有理由在此放慢文章的节奏步调。
What probably happened is that the writer lapsed into colloquial language, writing in a conversational style. Most people habitually are more verbose in their speech than in their writing. In conversation, we tend to ramble while we sort through our thoughts. We use spoken words to fill silent conversational moments while we search for clear expression. Such wordiness in verbal dialogue can be appealing, but reading filler words is not. When introductory phrases are required to frame a written thought, doing so concisely always is the better choice.