Nowadays、these days 和 today 的用法

Nowadays (注意這個字的拼法,不是 nowdays)、these days 和 today 都可用作副詞來表示相較於過去的「現今,當今,如今」。例如:

  • Most people think kids nowadays are lazy. (大多數人都認為現在的小孩很懶)
  • People nowadays live far more comfortable lives. (現今人們過著比過去舒適很多的生活)

These days 比較不正式一些。例如:

  • Young people these days don’t respect their teachers any more. (時下的年輕人不再尊敬他們的老師)
  • These days you seldom see a young person give up their seat for an older person on the bus. (現今在公車上你很少會見到年輕人讓位給年長者)

Today 略微正式一點。例如:

  • People today are much more concerned about their health than they were in the past. (現在人們比以前更關心自己的健康)
  • Computers today are so advanced. (現在的電腦很先進)
    = The computers of today are so advanced.

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Luck 和 lucky 的用法

Luck 是名詞,意為「運氣;幸運,好運」,其後往往接介系詞 in 或 with 再接人事物來表示在某人事物上或對某人事物的運氣;lucky 是形容詞,意為「幸運的,運氣好的」。例如:

  • Bruce always wears a charm that he thinks brings him good luck. (布魯斯總是戴著一個他認為會給他帶來好運的護身符)
  • John seems to have had a lot of bad luck in finding a job. (約翰找工作時似乎碰到許多倒楣的事情)
  • My luck held/lasted and I found a gas station just in time. (好運與我常相左右 / 好運一直伴隨著我,我即時找到一處加油站)
  • A lucky person won the first prize in the competition. (一位幸運兒贏得了這項比賽的首獎)
  • You’re lucky to work for such a nice company. (你能在這麽好的一家公司工作真是幸運)
  • A: I got promoted yesterday. (A:我昨天升官了)
    B: Lucky you! (B:你真是幸運!)

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Progress 為不可數名詞

  • My daughter has made a lot of progress in English this semester. I’m very pleased. (這學期我女兒的英文進步很多。我很高興) (正)
  • My daughter has made a lot of progresses in English this semester. I’m very pleased. (誤)

解說:Progress 意為「進步,進展」,是個不可數名詞,其前不可使用不定冠詞 a 且沒有複數型。Progress 經常與動詞 make 連用來構成 to make progress (in/on + 名詞) 這個相當常用的片語,意為「(在…) 取得進展/有進步」。由於是不可數名詞,泛指時,progress 前面不可有定冠詞 the。例如:

  • Medical progress has been so rapid over the past few years. (過去幾年間,醫學發展突飛猛進) (正)
  • The medical progress has been so rapid over the past few years. (誤)

Bell vs. belle

Bell 可當名詞和動詞用,前者意為「鈴;鐘;鈴鐺;警鈴;門鈴;鐘狀物;鐘聲;鈴聲」,如 They rang the church bells. (他們敲響了教堂的鐘) - 鐘裡面的鐘錘叫做 clapper;There was no one at the counter, so Mary rang the bell. (櫃台沒有人,所以瑪麗就按了鈴);The ringing of the electric bell woke me from a dream. (一陣電鈴聲把我從夢中喚醒);The bell indicates the exam is over. (鈴聲表示考試結束) - 手機鈴聲叫做 ringtone(s),不要搞混了。

必須注意的是,「按鈴;搖鈴」是 to ring the bell(s),bell 的前面是定冠詞 the,鮮少使用不定冠詞,因為 to ring a bell 是個很常見的俚語,意為「聽起來耳熟;使人想起某事;引起某人對某事模糊的記憶」,如 “A: Do you remember Peter Chen? B: Well, the name rings a bell, but I can’t think who he is. / but I can’t remember whether I’ve ever met him.” (A:你還記得陳彼得嗎?哦,這名字聽起來好像很熟,但我想不起來他是誰 /但我想不起來是否和他見過面);Does what I just said ring a bell? (我剛剛所說的讓你想起某事了嗎?)。此外,to give someone a bell 是英國常用的口語,意為「打電話給某人」,亦可說成或寫成 to give someone a ring,如 I’ll give you a bell/ring tonight. (我今晚會打電話給你)。
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地名專有名詞是否加定冠詞的規則

  • Mount Tai is in the east of China. (泰山在中國的東部) (正)
  • The Mount Tai is in the east of China. (誤)
  • A Mount Tai is in the east of China. (誤)

解說:江、河、海洋的專有名詞前面要加定冠詞 the,但湖泊前面不加定冠詞;Mount 和 Mountain 的專有名詞不加定冠詞,但 Mountains 和 Sierra 等表示山脈的名稱前要加定冠詞。Island (島嶼) 的專有名詞不加定冠詞,但 Islands 和 Archipelago (群島) 以及 Peninsula (半島) 等專有名詞前則要加定冠詞。國家名稱大多不加定冠詞,但若國名中有 Republic 或 Kingdom 或最後一個字母為 s,則該國名前要加定冠詞,如 The United Kingdom (英國)、The United States (美國)、The Netherlands (荷蘭)、The Philippines (菲律賓)。

Q:在 The rapid spread of disease in this area was ascribed to poor sanitation. 這句中,disease 不是應該用複數 diseases 嗎?

A:Disease 這個字可當可數及不可數名詞用。在 The rapid spread of disease in this area was ascribed to poor sanitation. (本地區疾病之快速蔓延,被歸因於環境衛生不佳) 這句中,disease 是當不可數名詞用,泛指任何疾病,所有疾病,而非特指某種或某些疾病。

名詞的泛指或通稱 (generic reference) 在英文中是個非常重要的文法觀念。不可數名詞是以零冠詞 (即名詞前不加任何冠詞) 來表示泛指。例如:

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. (情人眼裡出西施)
  • Beauty is only skin deep. (美貌只是外表;不可以貌取人)
  • Discretion is the better part of valor. (謹慎即大勇;大勇貴謹慎 - 意指不該冒不必要的危險)
  • I adore chocolate. (我非常喜歡巧克力)
  • We adore Baroque music. (我們非常喜歡巴洛克音樂)

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By and by vs. by the by

By and by 通常當副詞片語用,意為「不久 (after a while);很快 (soon)」,如 Sam will come back by and by. (山姆不久就會回來);By and by the sun began to appear. (不久太陽開始出現)。但 by and by 亦可當名詞用,意為「未來,將來 (future)」,與 future 一樣,其前都要有定冠詞 the,且表示單數的概念,而且為了避免混淆,這片語通常加連字號,如 Most science fiction stories are set in the by-and-by. (大多數科幻小說都是以未來為背景);Last night I told my wife about my plans for the by-and-by. (昨晚我告訴我太太有關未來的計畫)。

By the by 意為「對了;順便一提 (incidentally, by the way)」,如 I have to go now. By the by, if you want that book, I’ll bring it next time. (我要走了。對了,如果你要那本書,我下次帶給你);By the by I have something to tell you. (我順便有件事要告訴你)。

這兩個片語都被認為不適合用於正式寫作。Bye and bye, bye the bye, by the bye 等等都是錯誤的拼法。

雖然這兩個片語現今仍三不五時出現在新聞媒體中,但似乎已不若往昔那麼常用。對現代英語人士而言,它們似已過時,尤其是 by and by 具有聖經的特質,因為它被用於聖經英譯本及基督教讚美詩中。