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:在省略 if 的條件句中,若為否定形式,好像不能將 "had not" 縮寫後移到句首 (如不能將 Had it not been… 寫成 Hadn't it been…),這是否屬實?

A:沒錯! 英文的條件句有三種情況可以省略 if:當條件句的動詞部分含有 were (與現在事實相反)、had (與過去事實相反) 或 should (與未來事實相反 — 即假設的情況不太可能發生) 時,我們可將它們移到句首並省略 if,使句子變成倒裝句。例如:

  • If I were you, I wouldn’t do that.
    = Were I you, I wouldn’t do that. (如果我是你,就不會那麼做了)
  • If he had taken my advice, he might not have made such a bad mistake.
    = Had he taken my advice, he might not have made such a bad mistake. (要是他聽我的勸告,就不會犯這樣嚴重的錯誤了)
  • If I should have a chance to try it, I would do it in another way.
    = Should I have a chance to try it, I would do it in another way. (要是我有機會試一試,我會用另一種方法去做) — Should 係表示有機會一試的可能性微乎其微。
  • If we were to have children, we’d need to move to a bigger house.
    = Were we to have children, we’d need to move to a bigger house. (如果/要是將來有小孩,我們必須換一間較大的房子) –「were to + 原形動詞」是另一種與未來事實相反的條件句型。

如果條件句為否定形式,那麼在寫成倒裝句時,NOT 必須置於主詞的後面,不能將它與 were、had 或 should 縮寫後移到句首。例如:

  • Were she not my daughter, I’d have no hesitation in phoning the police. (如果她不是我女兒,我會毫不猶豫地打電話報警) (正)
  • Weren’t she my daughter, I’d have no hesitation in phoning the police. (誤)
  • Had it not rained last Saturday, we would’ve celebrated Tom’s birthday with a barbecue in the garden. (上週六要是沒下雨,我們會在花園烤肉慶祝湯姆的生日) (正)
  • Hadn’t it rained last Saturday, we would’ve celebrated Tom’s birthday with a barbecue in the garden. (誤)
  • Should you not wish to sign the contract, you must let them know before the end of June. (要是你不想簽約,你必須在六月底之前讓他們知道) (正)
  • Shouldn’t you wish to sign the contract, you must let them know before the end of June. (誤)

但如果將倒裝句改回正常的詞序,那麼 were、had 或 should 就可與 not 縮寫在一起。請看下面的例句 (其它條件句亦同):

  • If she weren’t my daughter, I’d have no hesitation in phoning the police and telling them about the crime that has been committed. (如果她不是我女兒,我會毫不猶豫地打電話報警,告訴警方她所犯的罪)

Q:我想要知道 be to 的用法,如 I'm to sleep on the sofa tonight. (今晚我將睡沙發)。

A:be to 是一種未來式。這種句型相當、相當常用,但它們所表示的意義不盡相同,因此有必要加以徹底瞭解,俾掌握其應用的精髓。「be to + 不定詞」在實際的應用上有下列幾項主要意思,而每項意思都很常見:

1. 表示正式的計畫或安排。

  • The Prime Minister is to make a state visit to Haiti next week. (總理下週將到海地進行國是訪問)
  • We are to receive a pay raise in line with inflation in September. (我們將在9月加薪以因應通貨膨脹)

2. 表示不久的將來幾乎肯定會發生的事件 — 通常用在報紙、電視和電台的新聞報導中。

  • A man is to appear in court later this morning charged with the murder of his father, mother, and wife. (一名被控殺害自己父母親和老婆的男子今天上午稍後將出庭應訊)
  • Work is to begin this week on the new bridge across the Nile. (尼羅河的新跨河大橋將在本週動工興建)

3. 表示別人給我們的正式指示,父母親或其他長輩給小孩的指示,或各種不同的指示、通知和公告。

在這項用法中,經常會出現否定的型態,即 be not to,這種否定型態都是表示「不許,不准,不可」(be not allowed to 或 be not permitted to) 的意思,相當於 mustn’t,但它所表示的「不許,不准,不可」是別人對我們所施加的「不許,不准,不可」。至於在肯定句中,be to 具有 have to (必須) 的意思。

  • You are not to leave the school until your parents arrive to collect you. (在你父母親來接你之前,你不可離開學校)
  • We’re not to smoke in the office. (我們不准在辦公室抽菸)
  • I’m to clean up my room before I’m allowed to go out. (我必須清掃房間後才可外出)
  • We are to look after our neighbors’ dog while they are away. (我們必須在鄰居不在時照顧他們的狗兒)

在給予指示時,我們常常會見到「be to + 被動態不定詞 (be + P.P.)」的用法;藥瓶上的用藥指示以及其他正式公告都是使用這樣的句型:

  • (The medicine is) To be taken three times a day after meals. (每天三餐飯後服用)
  • No food of any kind is to be taken into the examination room. (不准攜帶任何食物進入考場)

4. be to 亦經常用在條件句中來談論某種先決條件 (precondition)。

  • If we are to catch that train, we shall have to leave now. (如果我們要趕上那班火車,我們必須馬上動身)
  • If we are to solve the world’s pollution problems, we must address environmental issues now. (如果我們要解決世界污染問題,我們現在必須解決環保問題)

5. be to 後面亦可使用完成式不定詞 (have + P.P.) 來表示過去計畫好或安排好的事情沒有實現或發生 — 所以這裡的 BE 動詞只能用 was/were。這相當於在口語上用得比較多的 was/were supposed to。

  • I was to have gone on holiday with Miss Lin, but she couldn’t get time off work. (我原本要和林小姐去度假,但她無法請假)
    = I was supposed to go on holiday with Miss Lin, but she couldn’t get time off work.

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.