Q:在 Considering its difficulty, John did very well to pass the exam. 這句中,considering 是當介系詞用,但 considering its difficulty 是做何種詞性呢? 由於經常見到像 considering, concerning 或 regarding 這樣的用字,是否能請您做個比較詳細的解說?

A:根據 The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage 一書,這類介系詞叫做「邊緣介系詞」(marginal prepositions),亦即它們具有和一般介系詞 (如 at, in, from, by 等) 相同的語法功能,但型態卻與一般介系詞大異其趣。這類介詞大多以現在分詞型態存在,少數為過去分詞或看似原形動詞 (有些分詞型態的邊緣介詞還具有連接詞的功能)。它們與其受詞 (名詞或名詞片語) 在句中主要是當副詞用 (如 considering its difficulty) 或放在名詞/名詞片語之後作後置修飾語。由於有些邊緣介詞相當常用,因此瞭解它們的用法確有其必要性。茲將整理後的邊緣介詞臚列如下,希望沒有遺珠之憾。

1. 現在分詞型態的邊緣介詞

a. barring/bar (= except/except for 除…之外,除非)
Barring any last-minute problems we should finish the job by tomorrow. (除非最後一刻出問題,否則我們應可在明天之前完成任務)

b. concerning (= about; with regard to; in connection with 關於) — 比較正式的用語
Police are anxious to hear any information concerning his whereabouts. (警方急欲知道任何有關他下落的消息)

c. considering (鑑於,就…而論)
He did very well in his exams considering that he had studied so little (or considering how little he had studied). (他唸得很少,就此而言,他考得很不錯了)

d. excepting (= except 除…之外) — 通常用於句首或 always, not, without 之後
Dogs are not allowed in the shop, always excepting blind people’s guide dogs. (除盲人的導盲犬之外,其它的狗一律不准帶進商店)
Everyone passed the exam, not excepting John. (每個人都通過考試,約翰也不例外)

e. excluding (除…之外;不包括)
There are twenty students in the classroom, excluding the teacher. (教室內除老師外有 20 個學生)

f. failing (= in the absence or failure of 如果沒有…的話)
You may find her in the dormitory, or failing that, try the library. (你可以去宿舍找她,如果找不到的話,可以再去圖書館找看看)

g. including (包括,其中包括)
There are six people in the room, including three women. (房間內有 6 個人,其中包括 3 名婦女)

h. pending (= until 直到;在等待…期間) — 正式用語
We put off our decision pending his return from Japan. (我們等到他從日本回來才做出決定)

i. regarding (= as regards 關於,有關) — 正式用語,常用於商業書信中
Regarding your recent inquiry… (關於您最近的詢問)

j. respecting (= concerning; in respect of 關於,至於) — 正式用語
I don’t know at all respecting the computer. (我對電腦一竅不通)

k. touching (= about; concerning 關於) — 書面上或比較舊式的用語
Touching their complaints about school meals, I suggest that we should give a positive response. (關於他們對學校伙食的不滿,我建議我們給予正面的回應)

l. wanting (1. = lacking; without 缺乏,沒有 2. = less; minus 不夠,不足)
Wanting courage, nothing can be done. (沒有勇氣,什麼事都做不成)
a book wanting a cover (沒有封面的書)
a month wanting two days (差兩天就一個月)

2. 過去分詞型態的邊緣介詞

a. given (後接名詞、名詞片語或 that 子句 — that 可省略) (考慮到;如果;假如)
Given their inexperience, they’ve done a good job.
= Given that they’re inexperienced, they’ve done a good job. (考慮到他們缺乏經驗,他們的工作已算是做得不錯了)

b. granted/granting that (假定,即使)
Granted (or granting) that he should send money to help with the bills, it doesn’t mean he will. (即使他應拿錢出來幫忙付帳,也不意味他會這樣做)

3. 原形動詞型態的邊緣介詞

a. bar/barring (除…之外)
He’s the best singer in the country, bar none (=without any exceptions). (他是全國最佳歌手,無人能比)

b. save/save for/saving (= except/except for 除…之外) — 正式用語
They answered all the questions save one. (除了一個問題外,他們回答了所有問題)
The classroom was empty save for two girls. (save for 比 save 常用) (教室只有兩個女孩)
I agree with you, save that you have got one fact wrong. (除了你有一點錯誤之外,我同意你的看法)
Saving your presence (恕我冒昧,恕我直言), I don’t think it is a very good idea. (請恕我直言,我認為那不是一個很好的構想)