Fact, truth (nn.)

這兩個名詞都意為「事實;真相」,但含意和用法不盡相同,如在 Neither witness told the truth. (兩名目擊者都沒有說實話) 這句中,truth 不可用 fact 來代替,因為 tell the truth (說實話) 為慣用語。

Fact 意為「事實;真相」,係表示客觀的、可以證明的事實,對所有人來說都是一樣的,因為事情已經發生或存在,如 Facts speak louder than words. (事實勝於雄辯);The soap opera is based on historical fact. (這齣連續劇是以史實 [歷史事實] 為依據);The teacher told us a lot of interesting facts about baseball. (老師告訴我們許多有關棒球的有趣事實);Let’s just stick to the facts and not jump to any conclusions. (我們還是實事求是吧,不要貿然下結論)。

Truth 意為「真相;真理;實話;真實性」,係表示主觀的真相或真理,它們可能因人而異,如 It is universal truth that holds true for the whole world. (這是一項放諸四海皆準的普遍真理;Truth lies at the bottom of a well. (真理不易被發現);There’s not any truth in these rumors. (這些謠傳沒有任何真實性);Only after several months of investigating did the police finally get to the truth. (經過好幾個月的調查後,警方才終於查明了真相)。

值得一提的是,fact 在英文中還扮演一個很重要的語法角色:由於連接詞 that 所引導的名詞子句不能直接當介系詞的受詞,因此為了讓 that 子句與 due to、in view of 等片語連用,可在 that 前面加上 the fact 來使 that 子句作其同位語,形成 the fact that 結構。在此結構中,the fact 並無意義,但卻解決了諸多寫作不順暢或語法錯誤的問題,如 I didn’t go out because of the fact that it was raining. (因為下雨,我沒有外出)。

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