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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Below 還是 under 呢?

在「Below, beneath, under, underneath (preps.)」一文中,筆者已就這幾個介系詞在指位置時它們意思的細微差異,做了詳細的解說。本文將就 below 和 under 與測量單位和數字連用來表示「低於;少於;小於」(less than) 的意思時常見的錯誤,做一說明。

年齡

在指年齡時要用 under,不用 below。然而,有些字典亦使用 below,讓人感到困惑,殊不知「未成年」的英文是 underage 而不是 belowage (沒這個字)。例如:

  • We have three children under the age of six. (我們有三個不到六歲的孩子) (正)
  • The nursery is open for children under 4. (這家托兒所收 4歲以下的兒童) (正)

測量單位

在指時間和重量時要用 under,不用 below。例如:

  • The sports car can get from standstill up to 100 kilometers per hour in under five seconds. (這部跑車從靜止加速到時速 100 公里還不到五秒) (正)
    The sports car can get from standstill up to 100 kilometers per hour in below six seconds. (誤)
  • A visa is not required for a stay of under six months. (停留六個月以內不需要簽證) (正)
    A visa is not required for a stay of below six months. (誤)
  • This type of schoolbag was just under two kilos, so they could not hinder development in schoolchildren. (這款書包重量不到兩公斤,所以它們不會妨礙學童的發育) (正)
    This type of schoolbag was just below two kilos, so they could not hinder development in schoolchildren. (誤)
  • The newborn baby weighed under three kilos. (這個新生兒重量不到三公斤) (正)
    The newborn baby weighed below three kilos. (誤)

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Tall 還是 high 呢?

Tall 和 high 這兩個形容詞都意為「高的」,但 tall 是用來指人、建築物以及會長高的東西,而 high 則用來指高山以及離地面有一段頗長距離的東西。例如:

  • James is thin and tall. (詹姆斯又瘦又高) (正)
    James is thin and high. (誤)
  • It’s the world’s tallest tower. (那是世界最高的大樓)
  • It’s the highest mountain in the world. (那是世界最高的山)
  • The plants were two meters tall. (這些植物有 2 公尺高)
  • There are many tall trees in our school. (我們學校有許多高樹)
  • The light switch is too high for a child to use. (電燈開關對小孩來說太高了,碰觸不到)
  • There is a high ceiling in my office. (我辦公室的天花板很高)
  • John built a 3-meter-high wall around his house. (約翰在他房子的四周築起了 3 公尺高的圍牆)
  • How tall are they? (他們身高有多高?)
  • How high are they? (他們距地面有多高?)

No doubt 還是 without doubt 呢?

當我們認為我們所說的事情是真的或可能發生時,可以用 no doubt 來表示。儘管字典給 no doubt 下的定義幾乎都是「毫無疑問,毋庸置疑,肯定」,但其實它的意思類似於 “I imagine” 或 “I suppose” (我想,我認為)。例如:

  • No doubt Amy was the most beautiful girl in her class. (我認為艾美是她班上最漂亮的女生 / 艾美很可能是她班上最漂亮的女生)
  • Tom will no doubt visit us if he comes to Taipei. (如果湯姆來台北,他很可能會來我們家作客)

當我們非常肯定我們的看法時,可以用 there is no doubt that … (毫無疑問,毋庸置疑,肯定) 來表示,但不可用 no doubt。There is no doubt that … 係用於正式場合。例如:
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Fall 還是 fall down 呢?

Fall 可當名詞和動詞用,意思少說也有一、二十個之多,但本文僅就其「落下,倒下,摔倒,跌倒;下降」的意思來討論相關的用法錯誤。Fall 是個不規則動詞,時態變化為 fall, fell, fallen。它僅當不及物動詞用,所以不需要受詞。例如:

  • Robert had a bad fall yesterday. (羅伯特昨天重重地摔了一跤) (fall 當名詞用)
  • Many trees fell in the storm. (許多樹在暴風雨中被吹倒了) (fall 當動詞用)
  • House prices have fallen recently. (房價最近下跌) (fall 當動詞用)

由於 fall 僅當不及物動詞用,再加上其「向下」的含意,許多人乃把 fall 和 fall down 當作同義詞,用錯而不自知。Fall 指的是從較高的位置掉落到地面,或從較高的水平或價位降下來,而 fall down 這個片語動詞則是指人或物從其正常的位置掉落到地面。因此,當你認為既然「摔倒;跌倒」的名詞是 fall,那麼動詞當然也是用 fall 時,錯誤於焉發生。例如:
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Far 還是 a long way 呢?

Far 和 a long way 都可用來表示距離遠的。例如:

  • A lot of people can’t see very far without their glasses on. (許多人沒戴眼鏡就不能看得很遠)
  • Taiwan is a long way from Canada. (台灣與加拿大距離遙遠)

Far 大多用在否定句和疑問句。例如:

  • There’s a Korean restaurant not far from here. (離這裡不遠處有一家韓式餐廳)
  • How far is her house from the airport? (她家離機場多遠?)

A long way 大多用在肯定句,但亦可用在否定句和疑問句。例如:
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使用 largely 時常見的錯誤

Largely 是個副詞,意為「主要地;大多;大部分地」。例如:

  • Mr. Chen runs a largely female company. (陳先生經營一家員工大多為女性的公司)
  • The company’s success is largely due to our efforts. (這家公司能成功主要是靠我們的努力)

Largely 並無 enormously、greatly 或 significantly 等字「極其,非常,大大地,巨大地」的意思。例如:

  • The noise was greatly reduced. (噪音大大地降低了) (正)
    The noise was largely reduced. (誤)
  • Mary admired her professor enormously. (瑪麗對她的教授極為欽佩) (正)
    Mary admired her professor largely. (誤)

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