Between 還是 among 呢?

Between 和 among 都是介系詞。Between 意為「在 (兩個或兩個以上的人事物) 之間」,而這兩者有明確的分開或區別。Among 意為「在 (三個或三個以上的人事物) 之中;為…所圍繞」,而這三者並沒有明確的分開或區別,因為他們是屬於同一群體的一部份。例如:

  • Trade between Taiwan and Thailand has increased sharply in the past year. (在過去一年間,台灣和泰國之間的貿易急劇增加)
  • There is a fence between the two gardens. (兩個花園之間有一道柵欄)
  • Peter saw a few familiar faces among the crowd. (彼得在人群中看見了幾張熟悉的面孔)

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Begin 還是 start 呢?

在表示「開始」的意思時,begin 和 start 為同義詞,可當及物或不及物動詞用,且兩者皆可後接不定詞和動名詞,但 begin 比 start 來得正式。Begin 是個不規則動詞,過去式和過去分詞分別為 began 和 begun。例如:

  • Mandy has just begun learning English. (曼蒂剛開始學英文)
  • After waiting for about an hour Phoebe was beginning to get angry. (等了大約一小時之後,菲比開始生氣了)
  • We started building the house in June. (我們六月份動工興建這棟房子)
  • We’ll be starting (the meeting) at 10 a.m. (我們將在上午十點開始 (開會))

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Fast、quick 還是 quickly 呢?

Fast 和 quick 均意為「快的;迅速的」。Fast 可用作形容詞和副詞,而 quick 僅當形容詞用,其副詞為 quickly (立刻,馬上;迅速地)。雖然 quick 有時亦被用作副詞,但這並非標準英語。例如:

  • The police car was going so fast; it must have been chasing someone. (警車開得很快,一定是在追人) - fast 當形容詞用。
  • Allen walks very fast. (艾倫走路很快) (正) - fast 當副詞用。
    Allen walks very fastly. (誤) - 英文沒有 fastly 這個字。
  • He’s a quick learner/study. (他學東西很快) - quick 當形容詞用。
  • Mary replied very quickly. (瑪麗馬上就回覆了) - quickly 是 quick 的正規副詞。

Fast 是指速度非常快或高速的快,如火車行駛的速度、人類跑步的速度或動物奔跑的速度等等。例如:

  • John’s a remarkably fast runner/swimmer. (約翰是個速度非常快的跑者/游泳者) (正)
    John’s a remarkably quick runner/swimmer. (誤)
  • I love fast cars. (我喜歡速度快的汽車) (正)
    I love quick cars. (誤)

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Along 還是 alongside 呢?

Along 和 alongside 皆可當介系詞和副詞用,但兩者的用法並不相同、遑論互換。所以,在應使用 along 的地方,若使用 alongside 來替代,不是文法錯誤,就是意思有別,反之亦然。

Along 當介系詞用時意為「沿著,順著,循著」。例如:

  • They walked along the beach collecting small crabs in a bucket. (他們沿著海灘走,拿著桶子一路撿拾小螃蟹)
  • A black cat was walking along the top of the fence. (一隻黑貓在籬笆上頭走著)
  • We went for a romantic walk along the river yesterday. (我們昨天沿著河邊浪漫地散步)
  • Cars were parked all along the riverbank. (河岸沿途停滿了汽車)
  • Somewhere along this road there’s a bookstore. (順著這條路走,路邊有一家書店)
    Somewhere alongside this road there’s a bookstore. (在這條路附近的某個地方有一家書店)

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使用 either 時常見的錯誤

Either 可當限定詞、代名詞、副詞或連接詞用。這個字其實有兩種發音,國內大多教美式發音 /ˈi:ðə(r)/,但英式英語亦發成 /ˈaɪðə(r)/。

Either 用作限定詞、位在名詞之前時意為「兩者之中任何一個的;兩者的」。在此用法中,either 後面的名詞必須是單數可數名詞 (雖然 either + 單數可數名詞可用 both + 複數可數名詞來替代,但 both 只能用在肯定句)。例如:

  • I don’t like either color. (這兩種顏色 [中任何一種] 我都不喜歡) (正)
    I don’t like either colors. (誤)
    I don’t like both colors. (誤)
  • John studied chemistry and physics, but he had little interest in either subject. (約翰唸的是化學和物理,但他對這兩門學科都沒什麼興趣) (正)
    John studied chemistry and physics, but he had little interest in either subjects. (誤)
    John studied chemistry and physics, but he had little interest in both subjects. (誤) - little 為否定詞。
  • Either candidate would be ideal for the job. (這兩個人中的任何一個都是做這項工作的理想人選) (正)
    Either candidates would be ideal for the job. (誤)
    Both candidates would be ideal for the job. (正)
  • There are three cars on either side of the river. (河的兩邊各有三輛汽車 - 總共有六輛車子) (正)
    = There are three cars on each side of the river. (正)
    = There are three cars on both sides of the river. (正)

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Finally、at last、lastly 還是 in the end 呢?

Finally、at last、lastly 和 in the end 這四個字或片語都當副詞用,除了 lastly 外,finally、at last 和 in the end 均意為「最後;終於」,但用法並不相同。(請參見「At the beginning 還是 in the beginning?At the end 還是 in the end 呢?」一文)

Finally 意為「最後;終於」,通常是指在一段長時間或遭遇一些困難之後。就此意思而言,finally 通常位在句子的中間,亦即位在主詞和主動詞之間 (即普通動詞之前),或位在語氣助動詞或第一個助動詞之後,或位在當主動詞的 BE 動詞之後。例如:

  • We finally got home at midnight. (我們終於在午夜時分回到了家)
  • After months of looking John finally found a job. (找了好幾個月之後,約翰終於找到了一份工作)

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As 還是 like 呢?

事實上,as 和 like 幾乎是風馬牛不相及的兩個字,但偏偏卻有不少人把它們當作同義詞,還三不五時將它們互換一下。必須注意的是,as 和 like 只有當連接詞且用作比較時才可互換,此時它們意為「像,好像,就像;如同 (…那樣),正如 (…那樣)」。誠如大家所知,as 還有幾個很常見的連接詞用法和意思,與 like 更是毫無關聯。

雖然 as 和 like 當連接詞且用作比較時是同義詞,但 like 僅能用於非正式的上下文中,因為迄今傳統的文法書仍將 like 的這項用法視為錯誤。例如:
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Altogether 還是 all together 呢?

Altogether 是個副詞,主要意為「完全,全然」(completely) 或「總共,共計」(in total)。Altogether 意為「完全,全然」時旨在強調某事物完全停止、結束,或者強調某事物被完全遺忘或忽視,抑或強調對所說的話完全肯定;所以,not altogether 意為「不完全是」(not completely)。例如:

  • The government has decided to abolish the tax altogether. (政府已決定完全取消這項稅收)
  • Many people have stopped using their computers altogether. (許多人已完全不用自己的電腦了)
  • John seemed to have forgotten our quarrel altogether. (約翰似乎已完全忘了我們吵過架)
  • This is a new solution altogether. (這完全是一種新的解決方案)
  • I don’t altogether agree with you. (我不完全同意你的看法)
  • I’m not altogether sure Mary will marry me. (我不能完全肯定瑪麗會嫁給我)
  • The speaker was $60 and the microphone was $30, so it was $90 altogether. (喇叭 60 美元、麥克風 30 美元,所以總共是 90 美元)
  • How many students will there be altogether? (總共會有多少學生?)

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Following 還是 the following 呢?

Following 可當介系詞、形容詞和名詞用。這個字並非動詞 follow (聽從,遵循,遵從;理解,明白;[社群媒體上的] 追蹤,關注) 的現在分詞,而是單獨存在的一個字。

Following 用作介系詞時意為「在…之後」,後接名詞片語,其前不可有定冠詞 the 或所有格代名詞。例如:

  • The team blossomed following the selection and recruitment of the new players. (球隊在遴選和招募新球員後大放異彩) (正)
  • Following the banquet, there will be a costume party. (宴會之後將有一場化裝舞會) (正) - costume party 為美式英語。英式英語的化裝舞會叫做 fancy-dress party。
    The following banquet, there will be a costume party. (誤)
  • Following my teaching career, I’d like to be a writer of children’s books. (教書生涯結束後,我想當兒童文學作家) (正)
    My following teaching career, I’d like to be a writer of children’s books. (誤)

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使用 could 時常見的錯誤;釐清 could 和 can 易混淆之處

能力

Could 和 can 皆可表示能力 (意為「能,會」),前者表示過去的能力,後者表示現在和未來的能力。在此用法中,could 為 can 的過去式。例如:

  • When I was young, I could play the piano, violin, and cello. (年輕時我會彈鋼琴、拉小提琴和大提琴)
  • He can speak English, French, German, and Spanish. (他會講英文、法文、德文和西班牙文)
  • I can walk home after school tomorrow. (明天放學後我能走路回家)

當 could 用作 can 的過去式來表示過去有能力做某事時,這是指過去某一段時間發生的事實。對於過去有能力去做某一偶發的單一事件而且做了,在肯定句中我們就不能使用 could,必須使用 was/were able to 或 managed to 或比較正式的 succeeded in (後接動名詞),意為「成功做到,順利完成」。例如:

  • I was able to get the concert tickets I wanted. (我 [成功地] 買到了我想要的演唱會門票) (正)
    = I managed to get the concert tickets I wanted. (正)
    = I succeeded in getting the concert tickets I wanted. (正)
    I could get the concert tickets I wanted. (誤)
  • We were able to find the missing girl we were looking for. (我們 [成功地] 找到了我們要找的那個失蹤女孩) (正)
    = We managed to find the missing girl we were looking for. (正)
    = We succeeded in finding the missing girl we were looking for. (正)
    We could find the missing girl we were looking for. (誤)

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