朗阁首页 > 托福阅读 > 小议“in fact”在托福阅读里的作用

小议“in fact”在托福阅读里的作用


朗阁老师在课堂实际教学的时候,发现in fact遍布于各种话题与各种题目涉及的文本里。给学生在讲解的时候,学员往往会认为in fact具有“转折”作用,会与前句的句意有个相反的关联。

朗阁老师在课堂实际教学的时候,发现in fact遍布于各种话题与各种题目涉及的文本里。给学生在讲解的时候,学员往往会认为in fact具有“转折”作用,会与前句的句意有个相反的关联。


事实上一定是如此吗?以下来看一组“in fact”。



Ecologists are especially interested to know what factors contribute to the resilience of communities because climax communities all over the world are being severely damaged or destroyed by human activities.In fact, damage to the environment by humans is often much more severe than damage by natural events and processes.The destruction caused by the volcanic explosion of Mount St. Helens, in the northwestern United States, for example, pales in comparison to the destruction caused by humans.We need to know what aspects of a community are most important to the community’s resistance to destruction, as well as its recovery. (TPO3 The long-term stability of ecosystems)



从语义上看,②起到了重复并且递进前一句中原因的作用。为什么这么说呢?因为第①句光说了人类破坏严重,②就相当于说不仅破坏严重,而且通过与“自然界的破坏”比较,来体现严重到了什么程度。③通过例子使“严重性”形象化,有了中间这两句的加工,似乎读者的兴趣也被提起来了,所以到了④,就不是简单重复①的语义了,“we need to know”似乎变成了作者和读者一起要做的事,可以促使读者更加迫不及待地去读下文。


小结:刚才把in fact放入了一个段落的语境里去分析,简而言之这里的in fact的作用是要在语义上进一步重复与递进前一句的“原因环节”。


好处:以上4句其实是一道句子插入题得出答案后的正常语序,起初的待插入句就是in fact这句,市面上一般的答案分析都会重点分析②③两句的关系,毕竟③是②的例子,但个人感觉这种方法只适合这道题,忽略了in fact这种较为常见的句子的作用。



Mathematical models of ecosystems likewise suggest that diversity does not guarantee ecosystem stability—just the opposite, in fact. A more complicated system is, in general, more likely than a simple system to break down. (TPO3 The long-term stability of ecosystems)

先说了does not guarantee, 接着再说just the opposite, in fact类似于模式1但又不完全一样,此处是完全在语义上对前一句做递进,而不是重复前一句的某个环节。后一句类似于模式1里面的第③句,也是像个例子那样在语义上重复。



A classic example is noisy begging by nestling songbirds when a parent returns to the nest with food. These loud cheeps and peeps might give the location of the nest away to a listening hawk or raccoon, resulting in the death of the defenseless nestlings.In fact, when tapes of begging tree swallows were played at an artificial swallow nest containing an egg, the egg in that “noisy” nest was taken or destroyed by predators before the egg in a nearby quiet nest in 29 of 37 trials.(TPO11 Begging by nestlings)

之所以说是模式2的延伸,确实在语义上③就是在重复②:很明显可以看出①②两句是个未经证实的说辞,指大声地乞食会引出天敌的注意。但是,与模式2略有不同的是:这里③与②还有一个因果逻辑的作用——实验是理由,来让前一句的观点成立,增加可信度。像托福阅读这样的说明文,重点讨论的环节很多时候光给抽象的观点是不够的,个人认为由于托福阅读文本来自大学入门教材,不仅要注重言之有理,也要注重形象化,便于使内容变得易于理解。因此,后面才给了这么一个in fact的说辞。


小结:此处in fact的作用是用实验证实前一句的可信度,相当于成为一个理由来支持前一句,与前一段里的“语义上重复”不同,但绝不是“转折”。所谓的转折,在托福阅读里,其实并不多见,只要多刷题就有感受了。


很少出现的情况有:Just as painted designs on Greek pots may seem today to be purely decorative, whereas in fact they were carefully and precisely worked out so that at the time, their meaning was clear, so it is with Chinese pots. (TPO10 Chinese Pottery) 此处的in fact是加了whereas表示转折的。


当然根据下图朗文现代词典的解释,in fact确实有转折的情况(注释b的两个例句),但都给了but与whereas这种表示转折的信号词,符合刚才的TPO10里的语句,但如果没有这些信号词也是可以的,牛津高阶词典里就有此类情况的例句。



好处:上面模式2里的①②③三句其实也来自句子插入题,原先还有个The cheeping provides important information to the parent, but it could also attract the attention of others.这样的待插入句,市面上通用的“某站TPO”软件里关于这道题似乎在不成体系地进行分析,而且较为牵强,没有关注到in fact的作用,懂得其具有作为支持观点的作用,至少③这个位置就不可能插入句子了,否则会显得语句间结构不紧凑。



A The function of these is quite different. ①Many are made to be put in the tombs of the elite in order to serve the tomb owners in the afterlife. ②Unlike formal statues that are limited to static poses of standing, sitting, and kneeling, these figures depict a wide range of actions, such as grinding grain, baking bread, producing pots, and making music, and they are shown in appropriate poses, bending and squatting as they carry out their tasks.③In fact, it is the action and not the figure itself that is important.(TPO10 Ancient Egyptian Sculpture)

个人感觉此处的in fact可以理解为对应之前朗文词典里的注释a, 起到一个强调作用,所谓强调其实就是把前文的意思重新说一遍,类似于之前的模式2。


B Fossilization of soft-bodied animals is less likely than fossilization of hard-bodied animals, but it does occur. Conditions that promote fossilization of soft-bodied animals include very rapid covering by sediments that create an environment that discourages decomposition. In fact, fossil beds containing soft-bodied animals have been known for many years. (TPO5 The Cambrian Explosions)

此处应当是一个extra detail。第一句就提到了尽管软体动物不太可能形成化石,但是同样也是有化石的,最后一句进行信息补充:而且很早以前就为人所知了。


C①Livestock could be driven across the mountains, but the cost of transporting bulky grains in this fashion was several times greater than their value in eastern markets.②In fact, goods could be shipped more cheaply across the much greater distance of the Atlantic Ocean than they could from western New York to coastal cities. ③The first step toward an improvement of western transportation was the construction of turnpikes. (TPO20 Westward Migration)



DIn order to understand ancient Egyptian art, it is vital to know as much as possible of the elite Egyptians' view of the world and the functions and contexts of the art produced for them. Without this knowledge we can appreciate only the formal content of Egyptian art, and we will fail to understand why it was produced or the concepts that shaped it and caused it to adopt its distinctive forms. In fact, a lack of understanding concerning the purposes of Egyptian art has often led it to be compared unfavorably with the art of other cultures: Why did the Egyptians not develop sculpture in which the body turned and twisted through space like classical Greek statuary? Why do the artists seem to get left and right confused? (TPO10 Ancient Egyptian Sculpture)

此处in fact依旧是要在语义上重复前一句。



Indeed也是常见的用来替换in fact的内容。

比如:Some current analyses conclude that volcanoes and solar activity explain quite a considerable amount of the observed variability in the period from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries, but that they cannot be invoked to explain the rapid warming in recent decades. Indeed, the contribution of volcanoes and solar activity would more likely have been to actually reduce the rate of warming slightly. (TPO10 Variations in the climate)




从概率上来看:托福阅读里大多数的in fact/indeed都是要在语义上重复/递进前一句或者前一句的某个环节,这其中又有小部分不仅在语义上重复,还能作为一个“因”来支持前面的“果”(做实验来证实的情况不算多见,但也不算少见);此外,极小部分的in fact可能会(也可能不会)与一些表示转折的信号词连用,来体现转折之意。










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