英文寫作的正式文體

英文寫作經常採用正式文體。英文有多種不同的正式文體,所以文法和字彙的選擇至關重要。正式文體通常少用人稱代名詞,但多用名詞片語和被動態。文體越正式,越不帶感情、越去人稱化!

少用人稱代名詞

人稱代名詞被 it 或 there 的非人稱結構所取代。例如:

  • 一般文體:I suggest that you apologize to your teacher for coming to school late. (我建議你應該為上學遲到向老師致歉)
    正式文體:It is suggested that you make an apology to your teacher for coming to school late. (建議你應該為上學遲到向老師致歉) - 這句也使用名詞片語。
  • 一般文體:We would like to donate a large number of books to the library. (我們想把大量的書捐贈給圖書館)
    正式文體:There are a large number of books to donate to the library. (有大量的書要捐贈給圖書館)

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Do 和 make 後接名詞片語當受詞時的用法差異

Do 和 make 當及物動詞時都有「做;製作」的意思,當它們後接名詞 (片語) 當受詞時,do 著重於動作或做某事的過程,而 make 則強調動作的產物或結果。例如:

  • Betty did a very good math paper, but she still made two mistakes. (貝蒂的數學考卷答得很好,但還是有兩個地方錯誤)
  • When I was doing the cooking course, I made two chocolate cakes. (我在修烹飪課程時做了兩個巧克力蛋糕)

下列為與 do 和 make 連用或固定搭配的一些常用名詞 (片語):

DO: activity, business, cleaning, cooking, course, damage, drawing, duty, exam(ination), exercise, favor, gardening, harm, homework, ironing, job, laundry, one’s best, painting, shopping, task, test, washing (up), work 等。

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使用 abroad 時常見的錯誤

Abroad 與 go, live, study 等動詞連用時一定用作副詞,此時它意為「在國外;到國外」。例如:

  • We intend to go abroad at least once a year from now on. (我們打算從現在起一年至少出國一次) (正)
    We intend to go to abroad at least once a year from now on. (誤)
  • My brother is still living abroad. (我哥哥仍住在國外) (正)
    My brother is still living in abroad. (誤)
  • Blanche would like to study abroad. (布蘭琪想要出國留學) (正)
    Blanche would like to study in abroad. (誤)
  • We’re planning our first trip abroad/overseas. (我們正在規劃我們的首次出國旅遊) (正)
    We’re planning our first trip to abroad/overseas. (誤)

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Cos, cos of

Cos 是 because 的簡寫,發 /kəz/ 或 /kɒz/ 的音,也可以拼成 ’cause。它可用來取代 because,而 cos of 則可取代 because of。我們經常在講話、電子郵件和簡訊中,尤其是在非正式情況中,使用 cos 和 cos of。

Cos 和 cos of 的用法與 because 和 because of 一樣。換言之,cos 後接子句,而 cos of 後接名詞、動名詞或名詞片語。當 cos 引導的原因 (附屬) 子句位在主要子句的前面時,其後通常使用逗點來與主要子句隔開。然而,儘管 because of 這個介系詞片語可放在句首或句末,但 cos of 卻不常用在句首。例如:

  • Mary is absent cos she is ill. (瑪麗因病缺席)
  • Cos he was so tired, he went to bed at 8 pm. (由於很疲憊,他八點就上床睡覺了)
  • John cannot go to work cos of sickness. (約翰因病不能上班)
  • Because of the storm I canceled the business trip to Taipei. (因為暴風雨,我取消了到台北出差)
    = Because of the storm, I canceled the business trip to Taipei.
    = I canceled the business trip to Taipei because of the storm.
    = I canceled the business trip to Taipei cos of the storm.

Reason 的用法

Reason for

Reason 後接介系詞 for (不是 of) 再接名詞或動名詞片語,意為「某事的原因或做某事的原因」。例如:

  • I don’t know the reason for her bad mood. (我不知道她心情不好的原因) (正)
    I don’t know the reason of her bad mood. (誤)
  • There were several reasons for his cruelty to animals. (他虐待動物是出於幾個原因) (正)
    There were several reasons of his cruelty to animals. (誤)
  • Could you tell me your reason(s) for marrying such an ugly woman? (你能告訴我你娶這樣一個醜女人的原因嗎?) (正)
    Could you tell me your reason(s) of marrying such an ugly woman? (誤)

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Such 還是 so 呢?

Such 和 so 的用法都需要相當大的篇幅才能說明清楚。本文僅就這兩者同義的「如此,這麼;很,非常」(to this degree; very) 的意思來說明一般使用上常見的錯誤。就此意思而言,such 為限定詞,後接名詞片語,而 so 為副詞,後接形容詞或副詞片語。

不過,在此有需要先說明一下名詞片語的結構。完整的名詞片語主要是由三個元素所構成:不定冠詞 (a/an) + 形容詞 + 名詞,其中名詞一定會有,但名詞若為複數可數名詞或不可數名詞,那麼該名詞片語就不會有不定冠詞,而形容詞可能存在、也可能不存在,所以最精簡的名詞片語可能只有名詞一個元素而已。

現在就來看看一般在使用 such 或 so 時常見的錯誤。例如:

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同位語

同位語 (appositive) 是指緊接在先行詞之後的名詞、名詞片語或名詞子句,以作為補充說明之用,而先行詞也是名詞、名詞片語或名詞子句。Appositive 這個字來自拉丁語,意為「把…放得很靠近」。同位語是英文寫作技巧之一,運用得好,可使句子達到言簡意賅、簡潔有力的效果。

同位語分為非限定性同位語 (non-restrictive appositive) 和限定性同位語 (restrictive appositive),前者係表示同位語為額外補充資訊,若將其拿掉亦不影響句意,所以其前後通常使用逗點、括弧或破折號來與句子其他部分隔開,而後者係表示同位語為必要資訊,若將其從句子中移除,將會使其所限定的先行詞的意思變得曖昧不明,所以其前不能有標點符號。

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Assail vs. assault

Assail 僅當動詞用,而 assault 可當動詞和名詞用。就動詞而言,這兩個字有幾個意思是同義詞,包括「襲擊;攻擊」、「抨擊;嚴厲批評」及「困擾;使感到苦惱」。它們通常可以互換,甚至源自同一個古法文字 asilir,但它們的用法卻有些差異。

Assail 鮮少指 (傷害他人身體的) 暴力 (行為),而是指口頭上的攻擊,即「抨擊」,而 assault 往往指更嚴厲的批評且通常指 (傷害他人身體的) 暴力攻擊,如 While the business community has assailed the tax reform, most of the government officials have come out to support it. (儘管商業界抨擊這項稅改,但大多數政府官員都挺身而出表示支持);Police are searching for a man who used a steel pipe to assault a famous singer. (警方正在搜尋一名用鋼管攻擊一位名歌手的男子);The county magistrate was assaulted by young demonstrators. (縣長遭到年輕示威者的襲擊)。

這就是 assault 可以且經常和 badly, brutally, indecently, physically, savagely, seriously, sexually, viciously, violently 連用,而 assail 卻不行或鮮少和這些副詞連用的原因。若 assault 用作名詞 (意思為「傷害;傷害罪」、「襲擊;攻擊」),則這些副詞須改為形容詞,因此對應的同義名詞片語依序為 bad assault (粗暴的攻擊)、brutal assault (殘忍的毆打)、indecent assault (猥褻罪或強制猥褻罪 - indecently assault 意為「下流地猥褻」)、physical assault (人身攻擊/傷害)、savage assault (野蠻的攻擊)、serious assault (嚴重的攻擊/傷害)、sexual assault (性侵犯)、vicious assault (惡毒的毆打)、violent assault (猛烈的攻擊/暴力攻擊)。

然而,事情還沒有完全釐清。與 assail 對應的名詞 assailant,往往指從事暴力行為的人,即「攻擊者;襲擊者」;換言之,assailant 通常是指從事 assault 之暴力行為或犯下 assault 之毆打、傷害他人罪行的人。

Q:在 I don’t know what to do. 這句中,what to do 是當 know 的受詞,那麼它是不是某個句子的減化呢? 若是,它的原句為何呢?

A:what, which, when, where, who, whom, whose, how 等 wh-字和 whether 的後面都可以接不定詞來用作名詞片語。既然是名詞片語,那麼它們一定是從名詞子句減化 (reduce) 而來,換言之,它們的原句都是名詞子句。用英文來表達就是:A noun phrase is a reduction of a noun clause.。

在進入主題之前,我們先來談關係子句 (形容詞子句) 的一個減化規則,那就是若子句中含有 should, would, must, can, may 等情態助動詞 (modals or modal auxiliaries),那麼句子減化時須將情態助動詞變成不定詞。例如:

The man to remember (= whom you/we/everyone should remember) is Bill. (吾人應該記得的人是比爾)

這規則亦適用於名詞子句。所以,「wh-字 + 不定詞」的原句一定含有情態助動詞。然而,「wh-字 + 不定詞」中的不定詞只有「應該」或「能」的含義,亦即它們只對應 should 或 can/could (現在式用 can,過去式用 could),並無其他情態助動詞的意思。例如:

  • I don’t know what to do. (我不知道做什麼)
  • I don’t know what I should do. (我不知道我該做什麼)
  • Wendy found two smartphones she liked, but she had difficulty deciding which one to buy. (溫蒂發現兩支她都喜歡的智慧型手機,但她難以決定買哪一支)
  • Wendy found two smartphones she liked, but she had difficulty deciding which one she should buy. (溫蒂發現兩支她都喜歡的智慧型手機,但她難以決定她該買哪一支)
  • Tony can’t decide whether to hang out with his friends or (to) stay home tonight. (東尼不能決定今晚是要和朋友廝混在一起還是留在家裡)
  • Tony can’t decide whether he should hang out with his friends or stay home tonight. (東尼不能決定今晚他該和朋友廝混在一起還是留在家裡)
  • Please tell me how to find these reference books? (請告訴我怎樣找到這些參考書)
  • Please tell me how I can find these reference books? (請告訴我怎樣我才能找到這些參考書)
  • Professor Lee told me how to teach English. (李教授告訴我怎樣教英文)
  • Professor Lee told me how I could teach English. (李教授告訴我怎樣我才能教英文)

在上面這五組例句中,各組兩句的意思並無不同。

Thank you, thanks, many thanks, etc.

這幾個字詞都是表達感謝或致謝的用語。thank you 為感嘆詞 (interjection),意為「謝謝你,多謝」,其後經常接介系詞 for 來表示所感謝的事物,如 Thank you for your kind words. (感謝您的美言);Thank you very much for helping me with my homework. (非常感謝您幫我做功課)。thank you 亦可用於接受別人給予的東西時表示感謝之意,如 “Another glass of wine?” (要再來杯酒嗎?) “Oh, thank you. That would be great.” (哦,謝謝。那再好不過了)。然而,若在 thank you 的前面加上 No,則是表示「婉謝」之意。當有人要給你東西,但你並不想要時,你就可以說 “No, thank you”,如 “Would you like a cup of coffee?” (喝杯咖啡好嗎?) “No, thank you. I’ve just had one.” (不要了,謝謝。我剛喝了一杯)。此外,thank you 還可用於句末來表示堅決拒絕,如 I can lift this on my own, thank you. (我自己提得動,謝謝)。

Thank you 現在也經常拼成 thankyou 和 thank-you,前者可當名詞或形容詞用,而後者僅當形容詞用,名詞意為「感謝;致謝」,形容詞意為「感謝的;致謝的」,如 We owe Mary a special thankyou for all her help. (我們特別感謝瑪麗的大力幫忙);We said our thankyous and left. (我們道謝後就離開了);a thankyou (or thank-you) letter/note/card (感謝函/感謝便條/致謝卡)。若將 thank you 分開來看,thank 為 (及物) 動詞,其後可接代名詞、名詞或名詞片語,除 thank you 外,其中最值得一提的是 thank God/goodness/heaven(s) 和 thank one’s lucky stars 這幾個口語常用的片語。thank God/goodness/heaven(s) 意為「謝天謝地;感謝老天爺」,用來表示如釋重負,鬆了一口氣的感覺,如 “It’s OK. I’ve found the keys.” (沒事了,我找到鑰匙了) “Thank God for that.” (謝天謝地);”You son’s alive.” (你兒子還活著) “Thank heaven(s).” (感謝老天爺)。thank one’s lucky stars 意為「幸虧自己的運氣好 (才倖免於難等)」,如 We can thank our lucky stars that the rope didn’t break. (多虧我們福星高照,繩子居然沒有斷);He is thanking his lucky stars for a narrow escape. (他認為自己運氣好才能僥倖脫逃)。

Thanks 可當感嘆詞和名詞用。當感嘆詞用時,thanks 的用法與 thank you 並無不同,如 Thanks for reminding me. (謝謝你提醒了我);”Do you want a chocolate?” (您要不要吃塊巧克力?) “Thanks, I’d love one.” (謝謝,就來一塊);”How about a drink?” (喝一杯怎麼樣?) “No, thanks.” (不用,謝謝)。從上述可知,在大家再熟悉不過的 Many thanks = Thanks a lot = Thank you very much (多謝;非常感謝) 這三個片語中,第一個 thanks 是名詞,而第二個 thanks 和 thank you 都是感嘆詞。

在 thanks 的名詞用法中,除 many thanks 外,thanks to 亦相當常用;這片語意為「由於,因為」,由於其後可接表示正面或負面意義的名詞或名詞片語,因此 thanks to 兼具「多虧;幸虧;歸功於」和「歸咎於」的含意,如 Thanks to this treatment, her condition has improved. (幸虧用了這種療法,她的病情已經好轉);It was thanks to your stupidity that we lost the game. (由於你的愚蠢,我們輸掉了比賽)。thanks to 的反義詞為 no thanks to,意為「並非由於」,這是固定用語,不可寫成 not thanks to (其實,這道理很簡單,由於 thanks 是名詞,它前面的修飾語當然是用作形容詞或限定詞的 no,而不是副詞的 not),如 It was no thanks to you that we won. (我們不是因為你才贏的);At long last we made it, no thanks to you. (最後我們成功了,但並非你的功勞)。