Q:I am on the right side of age twenty. 有這種說法嗎?

A:有! On the right/wrong side of 後接某一數目,尤其是年齡,意為「不到/超過」,如 I’m on the right side of 20. = I’m younger than 20 years of age. (我不到 20 歲);She’s on the wrong side of 30. = She’s older than 30 years of age. (她已過 30 歲了)。

事實上,on the right/wrong side of 這片語在英文中頗為常見,除上述的年齡表示法外,常見的應用至少還有下列三項:

  1. On the right/wrong side of the law (= obeying/not obeying the law; abiding by/not abiding by the law) 意為「守法/違法;做守法/違法的事情」,如 After coming out of prison, he tried to stay on the right side of the law. (出獄後,他盡量不去做違法的事情)。
  2. On the right/wrong side of someone 意為「得到/失去某人的歡心」,如 Whatever you do, don’t get on the wrong side of your boss! (不管你做什麼,就是不要讓你的老闆不高興!)。
  3. Get up on the right/wrong side of the bed 意為「(早晨一起床就) 心情好/心情不佳」,如 I think John must have got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. (我想約翰今天早上一定心情不佳)。

    這成語亦可寫成 get out of the right/wrong side of the bed 或 get out of bed on the right/wrong side。就 get up on the wrong side of the bed 而言,這不就類似中文的「起床氣」了嗎!? 例如:He’s shouted at everybody in the office. I think he must have got out of bed on the wrong side. (他對辦公室裡的每個人都大吼大叫。我想他的起床氣還沒消)。

若比較 on the right side of 和on the wrong side of 的應用範圍,後者似乎比前者來得廣泛,實例包括 born on the wrong side of the blanket 和 on the wrong side of the tracks。Born on the wrong side of the blanket 意為「私生」,如 All his life, Peter felt that people looked down on him because he was born on the wrong side of the blanket. (彼得一生都覺得別人看不起他,因為他是私生子);Just between you and me, I suspect Mrs. Potter’s oldest child was born on the wrong side of the blanket. (你不要告訴別人,我懷疑波特太太的長子是私生子)。On/from the wrong/other side of the tracks 意為「在貧民區;出身寒貧家庭」,如 She was brought up on the wrong side of the tracks in a small southern town. (她是在南部小鎮的貧寒家庭長大的)。

關於年齡大小的說法,這裡有一篇文章可供參考。

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2 Comments

  1. 到底起床氣是get up on the wrong side of the bed 還是get out of the right/wrong side of the bed,還是都可以
    當然這兩句話意思應該是一樣,但就起床氣而言呢??謝謝 :-D

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