Had better not

  • You had better not tell Linda about her husband’s cheating on her – she’ll go crazy! (你最好別把她先生出軌的事情告訴琳達 - 她會抓狂的!) (正)
  • You‘d better not tell Linda about her husband’s cheating on her – she’ll go crazy! (正)
  • You had not better tell Linda about her husband’s cheating on her – she’ll go crazy! (誤)

解說:Had better 意為「最好」、「應該」,後接原形動詞,係針對特定情況所提出的強烈勸告或建議,帶有警告或威脅會有不良後果的意味。在口語和非正式寫作中,我們亦可使用 had best 來使語氣不會顯得那麼強烈和直接。Had better 和 had best 中的 had 經常縮略為 ‘d。

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Demand, insist 等動詞後接假設語氣子句

  • My father demanded that I turn the TV off and go to bed at once. (我父親要求我馬上關掉電視上床睡覺) (正)
  • My father demanded that I would turn the TV off and go to bed at once. (誤)
  • My father demanded that I turned the TV off and went to bed at once. (誤)

解說:主句的動詞如果是表示建議、要求或命令 (如 demand, insist, order, suggest 等等 ),而且其後的名詞子句含有應該做但還未做的意思,那麼該子句要用假設語氣:主詞 + (should) 原形動詞 + …。

Q:在 Considering its difficulty, John did very well to pass the exam. 這句中,considering 是當介系詞用,但 considering its difficulty 是做何種詞性呢? 由於經常見到像 considering, concerning 或 regarding 這樣的用字,是否能請您做個比較詳細的解說?

A:根據 The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage 一書,這類介系詞叫做「邊緣介系詞」(marginal prepositions),亦即它們具有和一般介系詞 (如 at, in, from, by 等) 相同的語法功能,但型態卻與一般介系詞大異其趣。這類介詞大多以現在分詞型態存在,少數為過去分詞或看似原形動詞 (有些分詞型態的邊緣介詞還具有連接詞的功能)。它們與其受詞 (名詞或名詞片語) 在句中主要是當副詞用 (如 considering its difficulty) 或放在名詞/名詞片語之後作後置修飾語。由於有些邊緣介詞相當常用,因此瞭解它們的用法確有其必要性。茲將整理後的邊緣介詞臚列如下,希望沒有遺珠之憾。

1. 現在分詞型態的邊緣介詞

a. barring/bar (= except/except for 除…之外,除非)
Barring any last-minute problems we should finish the job by tomorrow. (除非最後一刻出問題,否則我們應可在明天之前完成任務)

b. concerning (= about; with regard to; in connection with 關於) — 比較正式的用語
Police are anxious to hear any information concerning his whereabouts. (警方急欲知道任何有關他下落的消息)

c. considering (鑑於,就…而論)
He did very well in his exams considering that he had studied so little (or considering how little he had studied). (他唸得很少,就此而言,他考得很不錯了)

d. excepting (= except 除…之外) — 通常用於句首或 always, not, without 之後
Dogs are not allowed in the shop, always excepting blind people’s guide dogs. (除盲人的導盲犬之外,其它的狗一律不准帶進商店)
Everyone passed the exam, not excepting John. (每個人都通過考試,約翰也不例外)

e. excluding (除…之外;不包括)
There are twenty students in the classroom, excluding the teacher. (教室內除老師外有 20 個學生)

f. failing (= in the absence or failure of 如果沒有…的話)
You may find her in the dormitory, or failing that, try the library. (你可以去宿舍找她,如果找不到的話,可以再去圖書館找看看)

g. including (包括,其中包括)
There are six people in the room, including three women. (房間內有 6 個人,其中包括 3 名婦女)

h. pending (= until 直到;在等待…期間) — 正式用語
We put off our decision pending his return from Japan. (我們等到他從日本回來才做出決定)

i. regarding (= as regards 關於,有關) — 正式用語,常用於商業書信中
Regarding your recent inquiry… (關於您最近的詢問)

j. respecting (= concerning; in respect of 關於,至於) — 正式用語
I don’t know at all respecting the computer. (我對電腦一竅不通)

k. touching (= about; concerning 關於) — 書面上或比較舊式的用語
Touching their complaints about school meals, I suggest that we should give a positive response. (關於他們對學校伙食的不滿,我建議我們給予正面的回應)

l. wanting (1. = lacking; without 缺乏,沒有 2. = less; minus 不夠,不足)
Wanting courage, nothing can be done. (沒有勇氣,什麼事都做不成)
a book wanting a cover (沒有封面的書)
a month wanting two days (差兩天就一個月)

2. 過去分詞型態的邊緣介詞

a. given (後接名詞、名詞片語或 that 子句 — that 可省略) (考慮到;如果;假如)
Given their inexperience, they’ve done a good job.
= Given that they’re inexperienced, they’ve done a good job. (考慮到他們缺乏經驗,他們的工作已算是做得不錯了)

b. granted/granting that (假定,即使)
Granted (or granting) that he should send money to help with the bills, it doesn’t mean he will. (即使他應拿錢出來幫忙付帳,也不意味他會這樣做)

3. 原形動詞型態的邊緣介詞

a. bar/barring (除…之外)
He’s the best singer in the country, bar none (=without any exceptions). (他是全國最佳歌手,無人能比)

b. save/save for/saving (= except/except for 除…之外) — 正式用語
They answered all the questions save one. (除了一個問題外,他們回答了所有問題)
The classroom was empty save for two girls. (save for 比 save 常用) (教室只有兩個女孩)
I agree with you, save that you have got one fact wrong. (除了你有一點錯誤之外,我同意你的看法)
Saving your presence (恕我冒昧,恕我直言), I don’t think it is a very good idea. (請恕我直言,我認為那不是一個很好的構想)

Q:在使用 lest…should 的句子中,should 是否可以省略?

A:可以。你只要查字典就可知道 lest…should 往往被寫成 lest… (should) — 表示 should 通常是可以省略的。其實 lest 是個非常正式的用字,且已過時 (old-fashioned),現在它只被用於非常正式的書面文件中,日常生活會話中是見不到它的蹤跡的。lest 是個連接詞,它所引導的子句是個條件句,所以這種子句中的 should 是假設語氣的 should,與一般表示「義務」(obligation) 的 should 是不一樣的,它係表示一種可能性 (possibility),而且事情發生的可能性不高。

就 “lest + S + (should) + V” 而言,我們也可使用 “for fear that + S + (should) + V” 或 “in case + S + should + V” 來表達相同的意思;這就是說,在 lest, for fear that 所引導的子句中,should 可以省略,而 in case 子句中的 should 通常不省略,但 in case 的子句可以不用假設語氣,而用陳述語氣。此外,我們還可使用 “for fear of + V-ing” 或 “in order not to + V” 來做意思相同的敘述。然而,不管是子句形式,還是片語形式,它們的意思都是「唯恐;以免」。例如:

  • Study hard lest you (should) fail in your examination. (用功讀書以免考試不及格)
  • I will not make any noise for fear that I (should/ might) disturb you. (我不會發出任何聲響以免打擾你)
  • He took his coat with him in case it should rain. (他帶著雨衣以防下雨)
  • Don’t smoke in the office lest you (should) be called down. (別在辦公室裡抽菸以免被責備)
    = Don’t smoke in the office for fear that you (should) be called down.
    = Don’t smoke in the office for fear of being called down.
    = Don’t smoke in the office in order not to be called down.

值得注意的是,在 lest 所引導的子句中,即使 should 被省略,其主詞不管是單數還是複數,動詞仍須用原形動詞,因為 should 後接原形動詞,只是它被省略罷了。例如:

  • He must work hard, lest he fails the examination. (誤)
  • He must work hard, lest he fail the examination. (正)

Q:我們有時會看到 "So be it" 這個用語,請問它是什麼意思?

A:這是個表示假設語氣的固定用語,意為「那就這樣吧」(請看下面的例句)。 英文中有若干固定的假設語氣片語或句子,它們的主要特色就是動詞都是原形動詞 (不管人稱為何)。類似的假設語氣片語或句子還有 “bless you”, “long live”, “be that as it may”, “suffice it to say (that) + 子句” 等等。例如:

  • Bless you. (願上帝保佑您) — 這是 May God bless you. 的簡稱。
  • Long live our gracious Queen. (吾國仁慈寬厚的女王萬歲) — 這是英國國歌的第一行。
    Long live the bride and groom. (新娘新郎長命百歲) — 在婚宴上舉杯向新人敬酒的祝賀語。
  • I have always supported you financially, but be that as it may, I can no longer support your current lifestyle. If I have to pretend that you no longer exist, so be it. (我一直在金錢上支援你,但即使如此,我也不能再資助你目前的生活方式。如果我不得不假裝你已不存在,那就這樣吧!) — be that as it may 等於 even if that is true, in spite of that (即使真是這樣;儘管如此)。
  • I could mention other examples of your bad work, but suffice it to say (that) your performance has been unsatisfactory. (我還可以舉出你工作不力的其他事例,但我只要說你的表現一直不能讓人滿意就夠了,其他的就不必多說了) — suffice 為動詞;suffice it to say (that) 意為「只要說…就夠了」。

Q:有人說 I am glad to see you tomorrow. 這句不對,這到底是怎麼回事呢,因為我認為這句的文法並沒有錯。

A:這個句子確實不合邏輯,因為 I’m glad to see you 指的是現在的時間,而 tomorrow 是未來時間,把兩者放在一起顯然矛盾。在英文中,形容詞後面的不定詞稱為「不定詞後修飾語」(infinitive postmodifier),係用來修飾它前面的形容詞。如果不定詞後修飾語指的是主動詞所表示的時間之後所發生的事件或狀態,那麼此不定詞必須使用進行式 (to + be + V-ing),而非簡單現在式 (to + 原形動詞)。所以,問題中的句子若要合乎邏輯或語法,我們必須將它改為 I am glad to be seeing you tomorrow. (我很高興明天會見到你)。茲再舉一例說明之:

  • She is very happy to be soon married to him.

這句也犯了相同的錯誤。She is very happy to be married to him. 只能表示她已嫁給他的意思,亦即她已嫁作人婦,現在兩人是夫妻。然而,從句中的 soon 可以看出,她是要說,她對於即將和他結婚感到樂不可支 (她還沒結婚)。所以這句應改為:

  • She is very happy to be marrying to him soon.
    = She is very happy to be getting married to him soon.
    = She is very happy that she is going to marry him soon.

Q: Mary needn't have taken her umbrella. 和 Mary didn't need to take her umbrella. 有何不同?

A:needn’t have + P.P. 和 didn’t need to + 原形動詞都是在表示過去發生的事件。needn’t have done 是說本來不必做或用不著做,但卻做了;didn’t need to do 則是說不必做或用不著做,但有可能做了,也可能沒做。問題中 Mary needn’t have taken her umbrella. 的意思是說,瑪麗本來不用帶傘,但她卻帶了;而 Mary didn’t need to take her umbrella. 則是說她不必帶傘,但實際上可能帶了,也可能沒帶。因此,就 didn’t need to do something 的「不必」而言,實際上有沒有做,我們僅能從上下文來作判斷。請看下面的例句:

  1. I needn’t have prepared all that food. They phoned to say they wouldn’t be coming. (我原本不必準備那些食物。他們打電話來說不來了)
  2. I didn’t need to prepare all that food. They phoned to say they wouldn’t be coming. (我是不必準備那些食物的。他們打電話來說不來了)
  3. You needn’t have washed the dishes. I would’ve put them in the dishwasher. (你原本不必洗碗盤。我本來要把它們放到洗碗機去洗)
  4. You didn’t need to wash the dishes. I would’ve put them in the dishwasher. (你是不必洗碗盤的。我本來要把它們放到洗碗機去洗)
  5. The sun came out so we didn’t need to take any rainwear on the trip. (太陽出來了,所以此行我們不必帶雨衣了)
  6. We had plenty of petrol in the tank so we didn’t need to fill up. (油箱還有很多油,所以我們不必加油了)
  7. We didn’t need to wait for long for them. They arrived just after us. (我們不必等他們很久。他們就在我們之後到達)

上面第 1 至第 4 句都是不必做,但實際卻做了;第 1 和第 3 句很容易判斷,第 4 句也一看就知道,因為 I would’ve put them in the dishwasher. 是假設語氣,實際上碗盤並沒有被放入洗碗機裡面去洗,所以碗盤是用手洗的;第 2 句比較不容易判斷,但由於They phoned to say they wouldn’t be coming. 放在後面,因此認定應該是先準備好食物後,他們才來電說他們不來了。第 5 至第 7 句則是不必做,而事實上也沒做;第 7 句一看就知道,而第 5 和第 6 句應該也不難判斷,因為 The sun came out 和 We had plenty of petrol in the tank 發生在前 (原因),所以後面的動作就不必做了,實際上也沒有做 (結果)。

關於 need 的用法,還有一些地方需要注意。從上面的例句可知,這個字可作語氣助動詞或一般動詞用。當 need 作語氣助動詞用時,它幾乎都是用在否定句和 (少部分用在) 問句。若當一般動詞用,那麼它可用在肯定句、否定句和問句 (由此可知,在肯定句中,need 只能當一般動詞用)。所以,我們可以說

  • Need he study? (他必須唸書嗎?) 或
  • Does he need to study?

 

  • He needn’t study. (他不必唸書) 或
  • He doesn’t need to study.

 

  • He needs to study. (他必須唸書) (在肯定句中,need 只能用作一般動詞;主詞為第三人稱單數,動詞須加 s)

雖然 needn’t 和 don’t need to 可以互換,都是表示在立即的未來「不必」做某事 (請看下面的第 1 和第 2 句;我們也可將 need 用作名詞,如下面的第 3 句),但在表示「普遍的 (general) 不必」、而非「特定的 (specific) 不必」時,我們通常使用 don’t need to (第 4 句):

  1. You don’t need to water the garden this evening. It’s going to rain tonight. (今晚你不必到花園澆水了 — 因為今晚將會下雨)
  2. You needn’t water the garden this evening. It’s going to rain tonight.
  3. There’s no need to water the garden this evening. It’s going to rain tonight. (這三句都是指「今晚不必到花園澆水」此一特定事件的「不必」)
  4. You don’t need to pay for medical care in National Health Insurance hospitals. (在全民健保醫院看病不必付錢是「普遍的事件」。註:National Health Insurance 為我國全民健保,簡稱 NHI;National Health Service 為英國的全民健保,簡稱 NHS)

Q:But that there is water, there would be no fish. 這句是假設語氣的條件句,請問 But that 子句為何可以用現在式動詞?

A:But that 的意思是「若非;要不是」,是條件句的另一種句型。它的後面接子句,不過我們也可將之改為「but for + 名詞」(而 but for 又等於 without)。

由於 But that 子句敘述的是事實,所以若為現在式,則使用簡單現在式,若為過去式,則使用簡單過去式。而主要子句係屬假設的敘述 (非事實),所以若與現在事實相反,則句型為「主詞 + would/should/could/might + 原形動詞」;若與過去事實相反,則句型為「主詞 + would/should/could/might + have + P.P.」。不過,它們也都可以改為用 if 引導的假設語氣條件句。注意:此時 if 子句的敘述必須分別與現在和過去事實相反。請看下面的例句 (第一句為問題中的句子) 並加以分析,以徹底瞭解這些實用句型及其變化:

  1. But that there is water, (現在事實的敘述) there would be no fish. (與現在事實相反) — (要不是有水,就不可能有魚)
    = If there were no water, (若無水 — 與現在事實相反) there would be no fish.
    = But for water, there would be no fish.
    = Without water, there would be no fish. (but for = without,意思亦是「若非;要不是」,但後面接名詞)
  2. But that you helped me, (過去事實的敘述) I would not have succeeded. (與過去事實相反) — (要不是你幫忙,我就不會成功)
    = If you had not helped me, (如果沒有你的幫忙 — 與過去事實相反) I would not have succeeded.
    = But for your help, I would not have succeeded.
    = Without your help, I would not have succeeded.