Yet 不可用於進行式

  • John is still living in Taipei. He’s not moving to Kaohsiung till next month. (約翰還住在台北。他下個月才要搬到高雄) (正)
  • John is yet living in Taipei. He’s not moving to Kaohsiung till next month. (誤)
  • John is living yet in Taipei. He’s not moving to Kaohsiung till next month. (誤)

解說:Still 和 yet 當副詞用時都有「還,仍然」的意思,但 yet 不可用於進行式。

狀態形容詞和動態形容詞的差異

顧名思義,狀態形容詞 (stative adjectives) 指的是表示狀態或狀況的形容詞。大多數的形容詞都是狀態形容詞,它們通常可以被視為永久性,不會改變的,如 big, green, heavy 等。狀態形容詞不可用於祈使結構。例如:

  • Be big! (大一點!) (誤)
  • Be green! (綠一點!) (誤)
  • Be heavy! (重一點!) (誤)

此外,狀態形容詞亦不可用於進行式。例如:

  • He is being big. (他裝模作樣地大了起來) (誤)
  • He is being green. (他裝模作樣地綠了起來) (誤)
  • He is being heavy. (他表現得很重) (誤)

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Q:had better 後接進行式和完成式的意義為何?

A:had better 後接動詞的進行式 (had better + be + V-ing),係表示最好馬上做某事;若接完成式動詞 (had better + have + P.P.),則表示本該做某事但並未去做。例如:

  • I think I’d better be/get going. (我想我該走了)
  • We’d better be getting our clothes ready. (你最好馬上把衣服準備好)
  • We had better be watching TV. (我們最好馬上就看電視)
  • We had better be starting back now. (我們最好現在就動身回去)
  • You had better have done it. (你本來應該把那件事做好的) — 但實際上卻沒有做。
  • You had better have stayed with us. (你本來應該跟我們待在一起的) — 但實際上卻沒有。
  • You had better have stayed here. (你本來應該待在這裡的) — 但實際上卻沒有。

Q:see 和 feel 有時也可用進行式,對不對?

A:沒錯,這兩個動詞一般都不用進行式,但在某些情況中則可以;至於它們是否能以進行式的型態出現,完全取決於它們在上下文中的意思而定。

see = understand,意為「懂得,知道,明白,瞭解」(從不用進行式)。

當 see 的意思相當於 understand 時,它可以跟 that/why/what/how 所引導的子句連用,但從不用進行式。

  • I can see why you’re angry, but it’s not my fault. (我可以理解你為何生氣,但那不是我的錯)
  • I saw that he was angry and I thought it better not interrupt him. (我知道他在生氣,所以我認為最好還是不要去打擾他)
  • I can see now how easily he loses his temper. (我現在瞭解到他很容易發脾氣)

see = find out,意為「發現,查明」(從不用進行式)。

當 see 的意思相當於 find out 時,它通常跟 if 子句連用,但從不用進行式。

  • He returned to the scene of the accident to see if any help was needed. (他重返出事現場,看看是否需要任何協助)
  • I’ll see if I can buy you a lunch box on my way home. (我會看看是否可以在回家途中幫你買個便當)

see = meet / date or go out with,意為「約會;會晤,會面」(往往用進行式)。

當 see 意為約會時,它幾乎都是用進行式。至於其他形式的會晤、見面,有時也用進行式。

  • Are you still seeing Steven? (你還在跟史蒂芬交往嗎?)
    Oh no, I stopped seeing him months ago. (哦,不! 幾個月前我就不再跟他交往了)
  • I’ve been seeing quite a lot of Martin recently. He’s very nice. (最近我跟馬丁約會得很頻繁。他很棒。)
  • I don’t have an appointment, but is there any chance that Mr. Lee could see me this afternoon? (我沒有預約,但李先生今天下午可以見我嗎?)
    Well, he’s seeing the Korean ambassador at three o’ clock but he could possibly see you after that. (嗯,他下午三點要會晤韓國大使,之後他或許可以跟你見個面)

feel = think,意為「認為」(不用進行式)。

當 feel 的意思相當於 think 時,它通常跟 that (可以省略) 子句或 about 片語連用。當你使用 feel 來取代 think 時,你所表達的觀點可能比較著重於個人主觀 (或個人情緒) 的看法,而比較少講求證據。

  • I feel that more should be done to help disadvantaged people. (我認為在幫助弱勢族群上應該要做得更多)
  • What do you feel about this idea? (你認為這主意怎麼樣?)

feel = touch or physical/emotional state,意為「觸摸;覺得」(經常用進行式)。

  • I was feeling under the bed to see if the cat was still there. (我在床底下觸摸,看看那隻貓是否還在)
  • Are you feeling better? (你覺得好點沒有?)
    Yes, I feel fine now. (是的,我現在覺得很好)
  • How are you feeling today? (你今天覺得怎麼樣?)

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:我看到 I wouldn't like you to think that I was being unfair. 這樣的句子,請問 I was unfair 和 I was being unfair 意義上有何不同?

A:英文中有所謂的 “stative verbs” (狀態動詞) 和 “dynamic verbs” (動態動詞),stative verbs 不可有進行式,反之,dynamic verbs 則可。be 動詞雖屬於 stative verbs,但當形容詞是在描述動作或行為 (actions or behaviors) 時,我們通常使用 「be + being + 形容詞」的句型。這種用法頗為常見。請看下面的例句:

  • You’re being silly / foolish / childish when you do such silly / foolish / childish things. (當你在做這種愚蠢/幼稚的事情時,你的行為真是愚蠢/幼稚)
  • I was walking on tiptoe and being very careful not to wake the baby. (我踮著腳走路,小心翼翼地不要讓我的動作吵醒嬰兒)

如果形容詞是在描述或表達「情感」(feelings)、「心理狀態」(mental states) 或「情緒反應」(emotional reactions),我們通常使用「be + 形容詞」的句型。請看下面的例句:

  • I was upset / worried when I heard that they would have to operate on John’s knee. (當我聽到他們必須為約翰的膝蓋開刀時,我憂心忡忡)
  • I am delighted to hear that you have passed all your exams. (我很高興聽到你已通過所有考試)

問題中的句子 I wouldn’t like you to think that I was being unfair. (我不希望你認為我處事不公) 所講的是行為、動作、措施或作法,不是情感、心理狀態或情緒反應。

Divorce (v., n.), divorced (adj.), divorcé, divorcée (nn.)

當動詞用的 divorce 可以是及物或不及物;不及物動詞的 divorce 與介系詞連用時,幾乎都是接 by 或 from,這有部分要視誰先採取離婚行動而定:Last year he was divorced by his wife. (去年他太太跟他離婚了 — 她先採取離婚行動,句中的 was divorced 是被動態,divorced 為過去分詞);Last year he was divorced from his wife. (一般的推斷是他先採取離婚行動,所以這句的意思是「去年他跟他太太離婚了」,句中的 divorced 是形容詞,意為「離異的;已離婚的」) — 後面這一句若改為 Last year he divorced his wife. 就沒有任何疑義了,一定是他先採取離婚行動,而句中的 divorced 為及物動詞。

上述為已離婚的情況,但更多的是即將離婚或鬧離婚的情況。與 to get married (get + 形容詞 married) 比 to marry 還要常用的情況一樣,to get divorced 也比 to divorce 來得常用,如 After they got divorced, she never remarried. (他們離婚後她就一直沒有再婚)。一般而言,無論是結婚或離婚,我們通常使用現在進行式來表示未來 (不久的將來),如 Mary and Tom are getting divorced. (瑪麗和湯姆要離婚了 — 兩人都打算結束他們的婚姻);Mary is getting divorced (from Tom). (瑪麗要 [跟湯姆] 離婚了 — 瑪麗先採取離婚行動)。由於離婚往往要訴諸於法律行動,因此像 Mary is divorcing Tom. 這樣的句子可能意為「瑪麗正和湯姆打離婚官司」。

當名詞用的 divorce 意為「離婚;離婚案件」,如 There has been a big increase in the number of divorces in recent years. (近年來離婚案件大幅增加)。它所構成的兩個片語頗為常用:一為 to get a divorce (= to divorce),如 She wants to get a divorce. (她想要離婚),而上一段的 Mary is getting divorced (from Tom). 亦可寫成 Mary is getting a divorce (from Tom).;另一為 to end in divorce,如 Both of her marriages ended in divorce. (她的兩次婚姻都以離婚收場)。

Divorcé 和 divorcée 分別用來指「離婚的男子」(a divorced man) 和「離婚的女子」(a divorced woman)。這兩個法文字幾乎一直保留它們的重音符號及男性或女性字尾,俾與當動詞和名詞用的 divorce 有所區別,同時提醒我們它們是3個音節的法式英語發音 di-vor-SAI 或 di-vor-SEE (兩字的發音相同)。