More or less 的用法

More or less 是個略為非正式的片語,當副詞用,意為「大約;幾乎,差不多;多少有些,大致上」。在句中,它通常位在副詞慣常的中間位置,即主詞和主動詞之間、語氣助動詞或第一個助動詞之後,或當主動詞用的 BE 動詞之後。例如:

  • I’ve more or less finished reading the novel. (我差不多已經看完這本小說了)
  • His youngest son was more or less mentally retarded. (他的么兒有點弱智)
  • The plan was more or less a success. (這項計劃大致成功)

More or less 通常位在數字和測量單位之後。例如:

  • The alligator’s 800 kilos, more or less. (這隻短吻鱷大約有 800 公斤重)
  • She can earn 10 US dollars an hour, more or less, as a waitress. (她當服務生一小時可賺 10 美元左右)
  • A sum of three million dollars, more or less, will be needed to carry out the plan. (執行這項計畫需要大約三百萬元)

More or less 不可用在年齡之前。例如:

  • His mother’s about 40. (他媽媽大約 40 歲) (正)
  • His mother’s more or less 40. (誤)

Q:Be full of 和 be filled with 可以互換嗎?

A:這兩個動詞片語雖都意為「充滿,裝滿」,但含意並不相同,所以不能互換。

Full of 中的 full 為形容詞,意為「滿的」,但 full of 的含意是 having or containing a lot of things or people or a lot of something,而 filled with 的含意是 making something full 或 becoming full of something,其中 filled 為動詞 fill 的過去分詞形容詞。由此可知,在這兩個片語中,只有 be filled with 能表達真正裝得滿滿沒有剩下任何空間的意思,而 be full of 是表示含有或裝有很多東西、許多人或大量的某種東西,相當於「都是;滿是」的意思。例如:

  • The room was full of books. (這個房間都是書) (正)
    The room was filled with books. (誤) - 除非這個房間沒有其他任何東西,而且書籍從地板疊到天花板,整個房間都堆滿書,這句才講得通。
  • The restaurant is always full of customers. (這家餐廳總是門庭若市) (正)
    The restaurant is always filled with customers. (誤) - 除非這家餐廳的客人摩肩接踵,大家擠成一堆,沒有任何移動或用餐空間,這句才講得通。
  • His trousers are full of holes. (他的褲子都是洞) (正) - 褲子上有許多洞。
  • Her essay was full of grammatical errors. (她的論文滿是文法錯誤) (正) - 論文中有許多文法錯誤。
  • Her eyes were full of tears. (她眼中滿是淚水) (正)
  • Her eyes were filled with tears. (她眼淚盈眶) (正)
  • The room is filled with smoke. (這個房間煙霧瀰漫) (正)

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Many happy returns

Many happy returns 是個賀詞,意為「(祝你) 生日快樂,長命百歲」。這個片語為 many happy returns of the day 的縮略,自 1789 年開始使用至今,原本用在其他賀詞之後來表示「年年有今日,歲歲有今朝」的意思,如 “Merry Christmas/Happy New Year/Happy Anniversary, many happy returns.” (聖誕節快樂/新年快樂/週年紀念日快樂,祝你年年有今日,歲歲有今朝)。不過,它現在主要用來祝賀生日快樂,相當於 Happy Birthday。

例句:

  • I came by to wish you many happy returns. (我來此祝你生日快樂)
  • Happy 80th birthday, Grandpa, and many happy returns! (爺爺,80 歲生日快樂,祝你福如東海,壽比南山!)
  • Most of the students will want to wish many happy returns of the day to Professor Liao on his 46th birthday. (大部分學生都會想要在廖教授 46 歲生日時向他祝賀生日快樂)

「如上所述」、「如前所述」是 as stated above,不是 as stated before

  • As stated above, there is no shortcut for learning English grammar. (如上所述,學習英文文法沒有捷徑) (正)
  • As stated before, there is no shortcut for learning English grammar. (誤)

解說:在正式寫作中,我們經常會使用到 as mentioned above (如上所述,如上面所提及的)、as noted above (如上面所指出的)、as demonstrated above (如上所示)、as shown above (如上所示) 和 as stated above (如上所述,如前所述) 等片語來表示上文、上面或之前所提到的事物,但在這些片語中,不可使用 before 來代替 above。再舉一例:

  • As noted above, the government lacks efficiency. (如上面所指出的,這個政府缺乏效率) (正)
  • As noted before, the government lacks efficiency. (誤)

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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To say the least, to say the least of it

To say the least 意為「至少可以說」,表示實際的情況比所說的更加嚴重、更壞、更重要、更好等等,通常用於句末,其前通常有逗點。這個片語首次出現在 1700 年代,現在大多用於美國,但它在整個英語世界的使用頻率與日俱增。To say the least of it 也意為「至少可以說」,與 to say the least 為完全同義詞。《牛津英語大辭典》(The Oxford English Dictionary, OED) 將 to say the least of it 列為英式英語偏愛的形式,但實際的情況是,即使在英國,to say the least 仍比 to say the least of it 常用得多。

例句:

  • This is ridiculous, to say the least. (至少可以說這是荒唐可笑的)
  • The dinner was tasteless, to say the least. (至少可以說這晚餐淡而無味)
  • When Amy found her lost diamond ring, she was extremely delighted, to say the least. (當艾美找到她遺失的鑽戒時,至少可以說,他高興極了)
  • I am not at all satisfied with the book, to say the least of it. (至少可以說我對這本書一點都不滿意)

Warts and all

知名歌曲《心肝寶貝》作詞者李坤城與好友女兒林靖恩相差 41 歲的「爺孫戀」,最近傳出女方已懷有身孕,李坤城晚年再得子,真是「恭喜老爺、賀喜老爺」。儘管一般並不看好這份「5 月和 12 月的戀情」(May-December romance),有人甚至批評男方老牛吃嫩草 (rob the cradle),而女方是心智不成熟、涉世未深才被騙,但不管如何,從他們經常在臉書上放閃的情況來看,截至目前似乎一切還算平順,可喜可賀!

男方已逾耳順之年,眾所周知,「老男人」都有下列通病:

越看越遠 (老花眼),越尿越近 (膀胱無力)
往事忘不了,新事記不得
上面有想法,下面沒辦法
以前是硬著等,現在是等著硬

如果男方活得夠久,當女方到達輕熟女或熟女階段時,兩人是否還能如此如膠似漆、恩愛逾恆,就讓我們繼續看下去吧!
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In the way, on the way

  • Can I move these shoe boxes? They’re in my way. (我可以把這些鞋盒移開嗎?它們擋到我的路了) (正)
  • Can I move these shoe boxes? They’re on my way. (誤)

解說:In the/someone’s way 意為「擋路;妨礙某人」;On the/someone’s way 意為「在路上;在途中」。例如:

  • Can you move, please? You’re in the way. (你移動一下好嗎?你擋到路了)
  • On the/my way to work I saw a terrible car accident. (在上班的路上,我目睹一場可怕的車禍)

Some odd

Odd 這個形容詞可用在數字 (尤其是可被 10 除盡的數字) 之後來表示「略高於 (該數字)」(little more than) 的意思,數字和 odd 之間都會加上連字號,如 Benjamin’s about 40-odd – maybe 45. (班傑明大約 40 多歲 - 也許 45 歲)。這種用法被認為不適合用在正式的上下文中,尤其是論文,因為這表示你的研究做得不過,無法提供確切的數字,因此顯得不夠權威。

在一些新聞報導中,數字和 odd 之間有時還會加上 “some”,而數字、some 和 odd 之間也都加上連字號。這種寫法的意思與上述並無二致,但它的含意是確切的數字並不重要,如 There were 500-some-odd people gathering in front of the presidential palace last night. (昨晚聚集在總統府前面的民眾超過 500 人)。
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Lock, stock, and barrel

Lock, stock, and barrel (或 lock, stock and barrel) 原指槍 (gun) 的三個重要構件,其中 lock 是槍的保險栓或擊發機件或裝置,stock 是槍托,而 barrel 是槍管。如果一個人有了這三樣東西,那麼他就有了製作一把槍所需的所有東西。隨著時間的演進,這片語現在都用作比喻,意為「全部,整個;全部地,完全地」(everything, the whole thing; completely, wholly)。蘇格蘭著名歷史小說家及詩人華特‧史考特爵士 (Sir Walter Scott) 1817 年在一封信函中使用了這個片語的比喻意思,是最早使用 lock, stock, and barrel 來表示「全部,整個」意思的人。

例句:

  • His father bought out that big company lock, stock, and barrel. (他父親收購了那家大公司所有股權)
  • When they moved to Japan, they had to sell all their possessions lock, stock and barrel. (他們移居日本時,不得不賣掉所有財產)
  • The family headed lock, stock, and barrel for Taipei to attend the presidential inauguration (ceremony). (那一家人全都去了台北參加總統就職典禮)