現代英語評註-3

[all the rage] [else but, else except, or else than?] [knitted or knit?] [biological clock] [literally] [hopefully] [geographic or geographical?] [calmly] [due to, owing to, or because of?] [plausible] [hung or hanged?] [arguably] [respect] [confuse] [graffiti is or graffiti are?]

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all the rage

英語創造新的複合字的能力似乎沒有極限。

現代人越來越沒有修養,越來越沒有耐性,脾氣也越來越壞。你可能已聽過,看過,甚至經歷過 road rage,意為開車囂張、罔顧交通規定、對其他駕駛人和行人造成威脅的駕駛行為 -- 這些行為包括叫罵,騷擾,試圖迫使其他駕駛人駛離道路,甚至有時暴力相向。 (這個複合字以及 air rage, phone rage 和 rail rage,請參考英文資料庫之五花八門大雜燴):

  • Two road rage brothers were jailed yesterday after the Old Bailey heard how a pregnant nanny's car was rammed repeatedly. (英國今日報)
  • Emma Wilkins, a Times reporter, yesterday became another victim of road rage. She describes how a minor traffic accident escalated into a violent assault. (倫敦泰晤士報)

"road rage" 這個字已經被廣為使用 -- 在一本英英字典中已出現約 250 次 -- 但 rage 似乎「怒從心中起,恨從膽邊生」非把怒氣出在或席捲 (注意:all the rage 是一句很常用的成語,意為風靡,流行;如 in-line skating is all the rage. 直排輪溜冰正在流行中。all the rage = very fashionable) 日常生活的其他方面不可。旅行已導致 parking rage, rail rage, bike rageair rage。在電台一個扣應節目中,一名聽眾說:

  • Never mind about air rage. Yesterday we saw ground rage break out at Gatwick airport.

至於 trolley rage (在一輛擁擠不堪的電車上,某位惡霸乘客將另一位乘客打到後者「急急如漏網之魚,惶惶如喪家之犬」地倉皇下車的行為), phone rage, work rage 的事件亦所在多有。信不信由你,還有所謂的 golf rage -- 意思是 (這些複合字的意思大多相近,只是發生的場合不同):

  • ...a golfer who played over the heads of others sparked a fracas that ended in one participant having his cheekbone broken with a four iron. (英國衛報)

我還未見到 computer rage,但這可能只是時間上的問題。

最後值得一提的是,諸如此類 "something" rage 的字都來自英國或澳洲的新聞用語,這引發一個問題:難道只有英國人或澳洲人容易暴跳如雷嗎? 抑或這種現象也發生在其他英語系國家呢? 若是,他們怎麼稱呼這種現象呢?


else but, else except, or else than?

你應該說 "else but","else except" 還是 "else than" 呢?

在 "nothing else" 和 "anything else" 等字詞的後面,你要使用那個連接詞或介系詞呢? but, except 還是 than 呢?

  • A lot of mentally ill people do nothing else but lie in bed all the time. (有關精神病的書)
  • She has told nobody else except me. (小說)
  • It sounded as if she'd never done anything else than play the harmonium. (小說)

過去,"but" 和 "except" 用在這些句子中被認為是可以接受的,但 "than" 則不行。

證據:

在一本英英字典及一本文法參考手冊中, "nothing else" 和 "anything else" 等字詞的後面接 "but" 的情況出現 228 次,接 "except" 的情況出現 40 次,而接 "than" 的情況出現 33 次。然而,在這種句子中完全不用 "else" 的情況佔了絕大部分,譬如說: "He does nothing but grumble.",而非 "He does nothing else but grumble."。資料顯示,"nothing but" 比 "nothing else but" 還常用 20 倍,而 "nothing except" 比 "nothing else except" 還常用 30 倍。

建議:

在現代英語中,你可以在 "else" 的後面使用 but, except than,但我們應簡要地說 nothing but 而非 "nothing else but"; nobody except 而非 "nobody else except":

  • Parsons could do nothing but monitor the instruments. (小說)
  • The consultants could do nothing except think and talk and scribble on blackboards. (自傳)
  • He refuses to see anyone except Adrian. (小說)
  • Mrs Collard had never lived anywhere but Taunton. (報紙的文章)

knitted or knit?

你應該說 "knitted" 還是 "knit" 呢?

"knit" 的過去式和過去分詞是 knitted 還是 knit 呢?

  • In their spare moments they knitted socks and jerseys for the men. (一本有關蘇格蘭的書)
  • He showed off the sweater his mother-in-law knit for him. (電台報導)
  • One of the old people had knitted a blue woollen romper suit. (電台專訪)
  • The stairways were heaped with sweaters the women had knit that day. (一本有關紡織工人的書)  

你是說 knitted garments 還是 knit garments (編織的衣服) 呢?

  • Her knitted jumpers were usually frayed at the cuffs. (小說)
  • They wore knit caps and brightly-coloured jackets. (小說)

你是說 a tightly knitted group of people 還是 a tightly knit group of people (一群緊密結合的人) 呢?

  • The group was now more tightly knitted then ever before, disciplined, self-obsessed and wholly dedicated to hard work. (小說)
  • They lived simply within a tightly knit community. (雜誌的文章)

證據:

證據顯示,在英式英語中,"knitted" 被用做過去式或過去分詞的情況比 "knit" 還常見約 10 倍;在美式英語中,則還常見 1.5 倍。在英式英語中,說 a "knitted" (形容詞) garment 比說 a "knit" garment 還常見 10 倍,不過如果是指某種特殊的編織時,"knit" 比較常用,例如:rib-knit (請參見英文資料庫之五花八門大雜燴的解釋)。

至於 a "tightly knit" or "closely knit" group of people 則比 a "tightly knitted" or "closely knitted" group of people 常用太多了 -- 在一本英英字典中,"knit" 出現在這類詞句中的次數超過 800 次,而 "knitted" 僅 7 次。

建議:

在英式英語中,你最好說 someone knitted something,而非 someone "knit" something:

  • His mother knitted him 10 pairs of socks to take with him on the tour. (雜誌的文章)
  • Every jersey was knitted in one piece with five needles. (雜誌的文章)

在英式英語中,一般通常都說 knitted garments,而非 "knit" garments:

  • He liked the dark knitted dress she wore. (小說)
  • The yellow knitted cap gave him a jolly appearance. (雜誌的文章)

你應該說 a tightly knit or closely knit group of people,而非 a "tightly knitted" or "closely knitted" group of people:

  • He formed a small, tightly knit group that would control every aspect of his media campaign. (電台報導)
  • In a closely knit community like this, we are as tightly bound to the people we dislike as to the people we love. (一本有關紡織工人的書) 

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biological clock

英文有兩個常見的用語是指生物體內支配生物在特定時間的節奏性或循環性活動的機制:biological clock (生物時鐘) 和 body clock (身體時鐘)。在許多情況中,這兩個用語可以交換使用:

  • Whenever we change sleep cycles, our biological clock has to adjust to the new schedule.
  • ...a sort of biological clock that controls almost every aspect of behaviour from mental alertness to digestion.
  • For most people, the day is governed by the clock on the wall, not by their biological clock.
  • Jet lag is caused because the body clock does not readjust immediately to the time change.
  • Since he got back from Australia on Sunday his body clock hasn't quite got back into gear.
  • The body clock also controls your temperature, which falls at night.

然而,請看下面從一本英英字典中摘錄的 biological clock 的例句:

  • She's 38, she's got her own business, and her biological clock is ticking away.
  • Unmarried women in their 30s feel threatened by "the biological clock".
  • By their 30s, the childless are haunted by the ominous tick of the biological clock.

你認為這裡指的是什麼呢? 下面這三個例句應可讓你明白它的意思:

  • Your partner wants children; you feel your biological clock is ticking away.
  • At 36, she risks making her next gamble one against the biological clock as she puts off motherhood for at least two more years.
  • Child-bearing is likely to be triggered by the internal pressure of the biological clock rather than by family tradition.

這就對了,它們全部與想要懷孕生子,或擔心人老珠黃無法生兒育女的女性有關。請注意 biological clocktick 這個字在同一句子中的用法。我可以輕易地再從字典中找到更多的相同用法的例句,但用 body clock 來表達相同意思的例句只有一個。

懷孕生子似乎是受到 biological clock 而非 body clock 的支配或規範。


literally

literally 是個戲劇張力十分強勁的字。這導源於其兩個主要意思之間所造成的混淆:

就其「真正的」或「確實的」(correct or literal) 的意思而言,它表示一個字或一個片語係表達其正常或直接的意思,並沒有誇張的意思。例如:

  • There are literally thousands of military bases around the world.
  • Thousands of refugees were literally starving to death.
  • He'd lost all his hair and had literally shrunken in size.

然而,它也可以用於幾乎完全相反的情況,故意來「誇大其詞」或者用來加強比喻性說法的語氣,意為「簡直」。這就產生了戲劇效果;我們可以從字典中找到許多例句:

  • Dead fish literally carpeted the banks of the river downstream.
  • Everyone wants one: these jackets are literally walking out of the store.
  • The tears literally jumped out of Jane's eyes.

literally 最有趣的用法可能是介於上述這兩個意思之間的意思。在下面自一本英英字典摘錄的例句中,literally 似乎指出,我們可以逐字地和根據字面意思來瞭解一個片語的意思:

  • China can quite literally pull the plug on Hong Kong because it controls the water supply.
  • ...local parents who were concerned about the quality of air in their children's schools; they literally sniffed out problems in the schools.
  • Treatment, while not providing a cure, can quite literally in some cases put people back on their feet.
  • If you ride a bike, you literally take your life in your hands.

hopefully

hopefully 這個字該怎麼用呢?

hopefully 在現代英語中有兩種用法。

有時它當做一般副詞使用,意為「抱持希望地」:

  • "We're looking for girlfriends with similar interests to us," said Trevor, hopefully. (報紙的報導)
  • She glanced hopefully at the closed office door. (小說)

這種用法大多出現在小說中。

另一種用法較上述用法還要常見很多,尤其是在口語中。這裡的 hopefully 意為「如果順利的話」,「如果運氣好的話」:

  • The prospects of keeping your job are not good, but hopefully your pension will be secure. (報紙的文章)
  • We expect to see a considerable number of businesses put on the market, hopefully at more reasonable prices. (報紙報導引述一名公司董事的話)
  • Cllr Bryce has promised that work will be started on the Conondale road, hopefully this week. (報紙的報導)

若干人士反對這種用法,說這是一種錯誤的用法。

證據:

在多本英文字典及其他英文資料中,我們發現 "hopefully" 被用來表達「如果順利的話」之意思的次數總共多達 5,000 次。證據顯示,這種用法在口語中比在寫作中還要常見約兩倍。

建議:

吾人很難理解為何有人會反對使用 hopefully 來表達「如果順利的話」的意思 -- 說話者或寫作者的一種希望。在這種用法中,hopefully 通常表達了其他字詞無法表達的意思;如果你說它可以用 "I hope" 或 "we hope" 來瓜代,那就大錯特錯了。然而,由於有些人反對這種用法,我們最好避免使用,尤其是在寫作中。有時我們或許可以使用 let us hope 來取代之:

  • Gone, let us hope forever, is the arrogance and boorish belligerence that made him such a charmless broadcaster. (報紙的文章)
  • There are 180 Canadian soldiers there now and this will, let's hope , intimidate anyone else from breaching those frontiers and attempting to start anything. (電台專訪)

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geographic or geographical?

你應該說 "geographic" 還是 "geographical" 呢?

對於一個由天然地理特徵來界定,而非由政治疆界來界定的大區域,你是說 a geographic region 還是 a geographical region 呢?

  • A third reason that the earthquake was felt so strongly in central North America is that this geographic region happens to lie where some of the strongest seismic waves emerge from the Earth's surface. (雜誌的文章)
  • Our perspective was changed from a focus on Britain as the centre of an empire into a focus on Australia within the geographical region in which we live. (報紙的文章)

如果你在談論某個地方相對於其他地方的位置時,你是稱它為 geographic location 還是 geographical location呢?

  • Nursing home costs will depend on many variables: geographic location, level of care, range of services, etc. (一本有關照顧老人的書)
  • An important factor is Nepal's uncomfortable geographical location between its two giant neighbours, India and China. (電台的報導)

證據:

在一本英英字典中,a "geographical" area or region 被提到 213 次,而 a "geographic" area or region 被提到 99 次;某個地方的 "geographical" location 被提到 175 次,而 "geographic" location 被提到 58 次。

建議:

你可以說 a geographic or geographical region,或者 a place's geographic or geographical location,但在這兩種情況中,geographical 都比較常用。


calmly

請看下列從英文字典中摘錄出來的使用到 calmly 這個字的例句:

  • That man calmly stepped out of the truck and began firing at people.
  • Jurors wept yesterday as a 10-year-old boy calmly relived the night he witnessed his mother's killing.
  • Monaldeschi funded the city's Duomo with one hand, and calmly but extravagantly massacred opponents with the other.
  • ...a man who calmly confessed: "I've just killed my wife."
  • Then the youngster calmly went in and carried out a one-year-old baby from the fume-filled house.
  • ...the site where Drake calmly played bowls before tackling the Spanish Armada.

在這些句子中,我認為 calmly 這個字不只是表示某人在做上述例句中的動作時心情處於平靜狀態而已。注意:這些動作幾乎都是暴力的、令人震驚的或膽大妄為的動作。calmly 的功能似乎是在強調動作的極端與動作執行者控制心情的能力之間的對比。

此外,也請注意:calmly 在這些例句中的位置都是位在它所修飾的動詞前面。


due to, owing to, or because of?

你應該說 "due to","owing to" 還是 "because of" 呢?

在「古早時代的正式英語」中,due to 的 "due"係用做形容詞:

  • Sealink says the delay is due to the late delivery of a new ferry.
  • Much of the fuss over the report is due to the allegation that it has been deliberately suppressed.

現今 due to 如上面例句直接接在 "be" 動詞後面 (即用做形容詞) 的情況已不常見。較常見的是用做介系詞,due to 後面接受詞構成介系詞片語,在句中當修飾語:

  • There has been a slight falling off of sales in the past year, due to the recession.
  • Due to the Doppler effect, the sound is reflected back at a slightly different frequency.

過去,due to 這樣的用法被視為不正確。在這種情況中,你應該使用 owing to because of 來取代 due to

  • The figures released yesterday showed income down 57%, owing to a rise in the cost of borrowing.
  • Because of the freeze, more and more first-year students will need government loans.

證據:

在一本英英字典中,"due to" 用做介系詞的情況出現逾 1,200 次。

建議:

在現代英語中,你可以將 "due to" 用做介系詞,其後接名詞片語構成介系詞片語,在句中當修飾語,來解釋主要子句所敘述的情況。

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plausible

plausible 這個字視上下文而定,可以表達兩種截然不同的意思。

當你指的是論點或資料時,"plausible" 的意思相當直接易懂:

  • A more plausible explanation for Europe's lag is that American and Japanese firms are better at using the fruits of scientific research.
  • ...information presented in an easily understood manner, complete with good, and plausible, illustrations.
  • The very inaccessibility of the site renders plausible the fact that the original castle was probably built by religious refugees from the Abbasid caliphs.
  • It hardly seems plausible that Shevardnadze resigned because of attacks on his policies.

這裡的意思是說,某件事似乎有理,令人相信的或似乎是真的,而你接受並相信它。

相反地,當你談論的是人或他們的行為時,你會發現像下面的例句:

  • You have been dishonest with me - as I understand you have been dishonest with others. I am disappointed, but not surprised. I have learned that men like you are plausible liars.
  • Plausible men like him can borrow billions and misuse the money, while hard-working individuals can be forced into bankruptcy over a few hundred pounds.
  • He was more than plausible, he was thoroughly convincing, and he was lying.
  • Dupont was indeed smooth and plausible in his excuses.
  • ...a deeply evil criminal with an innocent face and a plausible excuse.
  • What he desperately needed was $42 for the train to Houston where a job was waiting for him, and then he would be able to feed his family. It all sounded very plausible.

plausible people 可能仍會令其他人相信及接受他們;問題是,他們所說的通常是不誠實的,虛假的,欺騙的。


hung or hanged?

你應該說 "hung" 還是 "hanged" 呢?

"hang" 這個動詞有兩種過去式或過去分詞型態 -- hung hanged.

做「懸、掛、吊」的意思時,我們使用 hung

  • He hung his mackintosh in the hallway. (小說)
  • The original picture was hung alongside the copy. (雜誌的文章)

但當有人被問絞處死時,你是要使用 hung 還是 hanged 呢?

  • When felons were hung for minor offences, the crowd often booed the executioner. (報紙的文章)
  • In 1739, highwayman Dick Turpin was hanged in York. (報紙的文章)

如果有人自縊身亡或懸樑自盡,你是要使用 hung 還是 hanged 呢?

  • The first play I wrote because one of my best friends hung himself. (電台專訪)
  • He confessed to murder and later hanged himself in jail. (報紙的文章)

在談論絞死和自縊時,一般認為 hanged 才是正確的型態。"hung" 被視為不正確,或至少被視為非標準英語。

證據:

在一本英英字典中,當談論處決或自殺時,"hanged" 出現約 1,500 次,而 "hung" 105 次。在這些使用 "hung" 的情況中,59 次出現在口語,46 次出現在文章中。

建議:

在談論絞死和自縊時,我們最好使用 hanged 而非 "hung":

  • Nobody has been hanged on the island since 1978. (雜誌的文章)
  • Prison officials said he had hanged himself in his cell. (報紙的報導)

arguably

當你在陳述一項觀點、意見和看法時,arguably 這個字會給它添加什麼效果呢? arguably 意為「有理由說」、「有論據地」、「可辯證地」。

現在讓我們來看看下面這些從字典中摘錄出來的例句:

  • Britain has arguably the best bookshops in the world.
  • He was arguably one of the worst senators in the history of the republic.
  • Arguably the greatest stadium act in the world is Pink Floyd.
  • Although arguably a decade too old for the part, Clark Gable was Siegel's first choice.

現在再讓我們來看看僅拿掉 arguably 的相同句子:

  • Britain has the best bookshops in the world.
  • He was one of the worst senators in the history of the republic.
  • The greatest stadium act in the world is Pink Floyd.
  • Although a decade too old for the part, Clark Gable was Siegel's first choice.

第二組例句似乎非常肯定、果斷、自信,顯示你已做成決定且不願考慮不同的選擇。所以,它們幾乎都會引起人家的不同意和爭論。

相對地,第一組例句在它們的說法和論點上就比較溫和、謙恭許多,顯示你的觀點是可以辯論的。然而,它也暗示可能以合乎邏輯和經過縝密思考的權威性論據來為已陳述之觀點辯護。這兩者的結合產生了一種效果,即它們被聆聽和被接受的機率較第二組例句高出很多。

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respect

在何種情況下,你可能想要將你對某人的 respect (尊敬,敬重) 用言辭表達出來呢? 請看下面從英英字典中摘錄出來的例句:

  • With respect, sir, I hardly think that's the point.
  • With all due respect, Michael, I think that's a bit simplistic.
  • With all due respect to Ms Edwards, I think she's being terribly naive.
  • I have the greatest respect for you, George, but, Lord, you are no nearer catching me now than you were four years ago.

這些片語絕非表示恭維、敬意之詞;它們係被用在當你想要禮貌性地表達批評、挖苦、諷刺或反對的時候。

如果你是墨西哥人,不知你對美國國務院發言人如下的談話會作何解讀或作何感想?

  • The United States government has the utmost respect for Mexican sovereignty.

如果是我,我會相當擔心。


confuse

confuse 這個字該怎麼用呢?

如果你 confuse two things or people,那就表示你分不清,將他們混淆在一起,也就是搞錯了。我們通常說 someone confuses one thing or person with another:

  • People very often confuse enjoyment with satisfaction. (報紙的文章)
  • They released statements admitting that Buendorf had been confused with another man. (電台的報導)

有時你會聽到人家說 someone confuses one thing or person for another:

  • It is all too easy to confuse a symbol for the reality that it represents. (有關宗教的書籍)
  • He could be confused for a nervy public relations consultant. (報紙的文章)

一般認為這項用法是錯誤的,在此正確的動詞應該是 mistake,而不是 "confuse":

  • Sea mammals and fish often mistake green plastic bags for food. (電台的報導)
  • His imprisonment was a result of being mistaken for a Jamaican gangster. (報紙的報導)

證據:

在一本英英字典中,"confuse with" 出現約 1,600 次,"confuse for" 18 次;"mistake for" 出現約 1,200 次。

建議:

你可以說 someone confuses one thing or person with another,或 someone mistakes one thing or person for another。但你不要說 someone "confuses" one thing or person "for" another。


graffiti is or graffiti are?

你應該說 "graffiti is" 還是 "graffiti are" 呢?

graffiti 來自義大利文的 graffito,意為小刮痕,小劃痕 (little scratch)。義大利文中以  -o 做字尾的名詞,其複數係將 -o 改成 -i。當這個字首次應用在英文中時, graffito 是單數,而 graffiti 是複數。現在有些人仍遵守這樣的用法:

  • Just before the election an "English Out" graffito appeared on the walls of the National Gallery of Scotland. (雜誌的文章)
  • These graffiti are unique and a moving testament to the courage of these men. (報紙的文章引述一名作家的話)

然而,graffiti 被當做單數型使用的情況已變得非常普遍:

  • Racially offensive graffiti was found sprayed on the bridge. (雜誌的文章)
  • Perhaps the militant who sprayed this graffiti on the walls of the Sorbonne had read Foucault. (一本有關哲學家 Foucault 的書)

證據:

在一本英英字典中,"graffiti" 被當做單數型使用的情況出現 123 次,當做複數型出現 38 次。單數型的 "graffito" 出現 31 次。

建議:

現今將 "graffiti" 與複數動詞連用或說成 "these graffiti" 或 "those graffiti" 似乎很奇怪;而 "a graffito" 似乎更奇怪。把 "graffiti" 視為單數型可能比較好:

  • Over the past few weeks anti-American graffiti has been daubed over public buildings. (電台的報導)
  • I, for one, am not happy to confront this graffiti every time I leave my house. (報紙的報導引述居民的話)

與其說 a "graffito",還不如說 a piece of graffiti 來得好:

  • This is a bit like making local councils legally responsible for each piece of graffiti placed on a building. (報紙的文章)

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