Consider 還是 regard 呢?

當 consider 意為「認爲;把…當作,把…視為」而 regard 意為「認為,看待;把…看作,將…認為」時,兩者皆不可使用進行式 (consider 意為「考慮」時才可使用進行式)。例如:

  • I consider her irresponsible. (我認為她不負責任) (正)
    I am considering her irresponsible. (誤)
  • Mary regards Jack’s achievement as unique. (瑪麗認為傑克的成就獨一無二) (正)
    Mary is regarding Jack’s achievement as unique. (誤)

就上述意思而言,consider 有下列幾種句型:
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With regard to 還是 with regards to 呢?

With regard to 或 in regard to (= in connection with) 意為「關於;至於」,其中 regard 須用單數,不可用 regards。儘管 with regards to 自 1990 年代以來有越來越多人使用的趨勢,但仍應被視為錯誤。例如:

  • With regard to your suggestion I will consider it carefully. (關於你的建議,我會好好考慮) (正)
  • With regards to your suggestion I will consider it carefully. (誤)

不過,由於許多人認為 with regard to 和 in regard to 這兩個在商業書信中經常用到的片語不夠簡潔,因此往往使用同義的 about、concerning 或 regarding 來代替。例如:
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Pick 還是 pick up 呢?

Pick 的動詞用法有好幾個常用的意思,包括「(用手) 採,摘」、「挑選,選擇」、「(用手指或尖形工具) 挖,剔」、「撿起,拾起,拿起或類似的動作」等。然而,這些意思無一可以用片語動詞 pick up 來替代。Pick up 主要意為「(用手從某一表面) 拿起、舉起 (人或物)」及「(用車子) 接載 (某人)」。雖然 pick 和 pick up 都有「拿起,撿起」的意思,但含意不同 (Pick 和 pick up 的其他意思請參閱字典)。

Pick 意為「(用手) 採、摘」。例如:

  • We spent the summer holiday picking strawberries. (我們這個暑假都在採草莓) (正)
    We spent the summer holiday picking up strawberries. (誤)
  • John picked Mary a rose. (約翰摘了一朵玫瑰花給瑪麗) (正)
    = John picked a rose for Mary. (正)
    John picked up a rose for Mary. (誤)

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使用 suggest 時常見的錯誤

Suggest 是個及物動詞,主要意為「建議,提議」。這個動詞使用頻率之高自不待言,幾乎可以說是「無日無之」。Suggest 後面可以接名詞 (片語)、動名詞、that 子句 (由連接詞 that 所引導的名詞子句) 或 what/who/where 等 wh-字所引導的名詞子句。

Suggest 可接名詞 (片語) 當受詞。例如:

  • John suggested an inexpensive restaurant near the school for the party. (約翰建議在學校附近一家平價餐廳舉行聚會)
  • He suggests a little walk. (他建議去散會一下)

Suggest 可接動名詞當受詞,但不可接不定詞。這種句型意為「建議做某事」,但不必提及行動或動作的執行者,因為行動或動作的執行者在上下文中不言可喻。但若在動名詞的前面加上所有格,即可明確指出行動或動作的執行者。例如:

  • Phil suggested going in his car. (菲爾提議坐他的車子去) (正)
    Phil suggested to go in his car. (誤)
    Phil suggested our going in his car. (菲爾提議我們坐他的車子去) (正)
  • I suggest going to the library on Sunday. (我建議禮拜天上圖書館) (正)
    I suggest to go to the library on Sunday. (誤)
    I suggest our going to the library on Sunday. (我建議我們禮拜天上圖書館) (正)
  • I suggested putting the matter to the school. (我提議把這件事交給學校處理) (正)
    I suggested to put the matter to the school. (誤)
  • If there is a mechanical problem, I suggest contacting the manufacturer directly. (若發生機械故障,我建議直接與製造廠商聯繫) (正)
    If there is a mechanical problem, I suggest to contact the manufacturer directly. (誤)

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Different from、different to 還是 different than 呢?

許多人認為 different (不同的) 後面僅能接介系詞 from,不可接 to 或 than。事實上,這個形容詞無論接 from 或接 to,甚至接 than,都是正確的用法。Different 可用來說明兩個人或事物之間的差異,其後通常接 from,但我們亦可使用 different to,尤其是在說話時。例如:

  • Our school is very different from theirs. (我們學校跟他們學校有很大的不同) (正)
    Our school is very different to theirs. (正)
  • The incumbent president is so different from the former president. (現任總統迥異於前任總統) (正)
    The incumbent president is so different to the former president. (正)
  • These results are a bit different from the ones we got three days ago. (這些結果和我們三天前得到的結果有點不同) (正)
    These results are a bit different to the ones we got three days ago. (正)
  • My opinion could hardly be more different from hers. (我的觀點正好和她的完全相反) (正)
    My opinion could hardly be more different to hers. (正)

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Elder, eldest 還是 older, oldest 呢?

Elder 和 eldest 都可當形容詞和名詞用。Elder 用作形容詞時意為「(尤指家庭兩個成員中) 年紀較大的;較年長的」,與 older 同義。Eldest 用作形容詞時意為「(尤指家庭三個或三個以上的成員中) 年紀最大的;最年長的」,與 oldest 同義。Elder 和 eldest 只能用在名詞之前,亦即僅能當定語形容詞 (attributive adjectives) 用。例如:

  • His elder sister has a beautiful face. (他姊姊有一張漂亮的臉蛋) (正)
    His older sister has a beautiful face. (正)
  • My eldest daughter is in college. (我的長女正在上大學) (正)
    My oldest daughter is in college. (正)
  • He’s my elder/eldest brother. (他是我哥哥/大哥) (正)
    He’s my older/oldest brother. (正)

Elder 和 eldest 亦可當名詞用,前者意為「長者,長輩;(尤指家庭兩個成員中的) 年長者,年齡較大者」,而後者意為「(尤指家庭三個或三個以上的成員中) 年齡最大者;長子;長女」。例如:
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Opposite 還是 in front of 呢?

Opposite 用作介系詞時意為「與某人/某物相對;在某人/某物的對面」,而介系詞片語 in front of 意為「在某人/某物的前面」。例如:

  • The bank is opposite the post office. (銀行在郵局的對面) (正)
    The bank is in front of the post office. (誤) - 除非兩棟建築的位置是一前一後。
  • They sat opposite each other. (他們面對面坐著) (正)
    They sat in front of each other. (誤)
  • Jack sat opposite Monica in the restaurant. (傑克和莫妮卡在餐廳裡面對面坐著) (正) - 傑克和莫妮卡坐在同一張餐桌的不同邊,面對面。
    Jack sat in front of Monica in the restaurant. (傑克在餐廳裡坐在莫妮卡的前面) (正) - 傑克和莫妮卡坐在不同的餐桌,傑克坐在莫妮卡的前面。
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使用 marry 時常見的錯誤

Marry (結婚) 可當及物和不及物動詞用,但通常用作及物動詞,後接受詞。Divorce (離婚) 的用法亦同。例如:

  • Amy married a wealthy old man last month. (艾美上個月嫁給一個有錢的老頭)
  • Last year he divorced his second wife. (去年他跟他第二任太太離婚了)

然而,在正式文體中,它們都用作不及物動詞。例如:

  • He did not marry until he was forty. (他直到四十歲才結婚)
  • John and Mary divorced two years ago. (約翰和瑪麗兩年前離婚了)

在非正式的口說英語中,若沒有受詞,我們係使用 get married 和 get divorced 來表示「結婚」和「離婚」。例如:

  • My son and his girlfriend are getting married in Hawaii. (我兒子和他女友將在夏威夷結婚)
  • The couple finally got divorced last year. (那對夫妻去年終於離婚了)

Be married 和 be divorced 可表示結婚和離婚的狀態。例如:

  • We’ve been married for nearly 40 years. (他們已結婚快 40 年)
  • They’re divorced now. (他們現在已離婚)

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First、firstly 還是 at first 呢?

First 可當形容詞和副詞用,前者意為「第一的;最早的;最初的;最先的」,而後者意為「第一;首先;首次;最先;最初」。例如:

形容詞

  • Your first year at university can be quite frightening and exciting at the same time. (你上大學的頭一年可能恐懼和刺激兼而有之)
  • Why didn’t you seek help from the police in the first place? (你為何不先求助於警方呢?)

副詞

  • You (go) first! (你先請!)
  • When did the idiom first appear? (這個成語首次出現在什麼時候?)
  • He finished first in math, second in English, and third in fine arts. (他獲得數學第一名、英文第二名、美術第三名)

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Content 還是 contents 呢?

Content 主要當名詞和形容詞用,用作名詞時有攸關對錯的單複數之分,即 content 和 contents,因為兩者的意思和用法皆不同,使用時不可不慎。單數的 content 是個不可數名詞,意為「(文章、電影、電視節目、演講等的) 內容);(網站、光碟、隨身碟等的) 內容」。例如:

  • This film’s adult content is not suitable for young children. (這部電影的成人內容對兒童不宜) (正)
    This film’s adult contents are not suitable for young children. (誤)
  • Several well-known websites have closed down because of the high cost of producing original content. (數個知名網站因製作原創內容的成本過高而關門大吉了) (正)
    Several well-known websites have closed down because of the high cost of producing original contents. (誤)

除上述意思外,單數的 content 還意為「(物質) 含量」,但這個 content 卻是可數名詞,只是要用單數,沒有複數型。例如:

  • Chocolate has a high fat content; it’s not good for your health. (巧克力的脂肪含量很高,對你的健康無益) (正)
    Chocolate has high fat contents; it’s not good for your health. (誤)
  • John usually eats a breakfast cereal with a high sugar content. (約翰經常吃含糖量很高的早餐麥片) (正)
    John usually eats a breakfast cereal with high sugar contents. (誤)
  • The vitamin and mineral content of fruit and vegetables is high. (蔬果的維生素和礦物質含量很高) (正)
    The vitamin and mineral contents of fruit and vegetables are high. (誤)

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