Man, mankind, people (nn.)

傳統上,我們都是使用 man 來指「人類 (男性和女性)」,俾與其他動物有所區別。但許多人認為這是性別歧視,所以最好改用其他同義的字詞,如 human beings 或 humankind。Mankind 也可以指「人類 (男性和女性)」。雖然一般認為這個字的性別歧視成分比 man 來得低,但最好還是改用其他同義的字詞。People 亦可指「人類;人們」,這個字沒有性別歧視成分。

在這些字詞當中,man、mankind 和 humankind 為不可數名詞,後接單數動詞,而 human beings 和 people 為複數名詞,後接複數動詞。例如:

  • Human beings are rapidly destroying the earth. (人類正在快速毀滅地球)
  • Humankind is rapidly destroying the earth.
  • People are rapidly destroying the earth.

閱讀全文

A group of + 複數名詞可接單數或複數動詞

  • There was a group of girls playing Pokeman GO in the park. (有一群女孩在公園玩《精靈寶可夢GO》) (正)
  • A group of students were waiting for their teacher to unlock the classroom door. (一群學生在等候老師打開教室的門鎖) (正)

解說:除 group 外,由 crowd, gang, team 等集合名詞所構成的「集合名詞 + of + 複數名詞」句型同樣可接單數或複數動詞。例如:

  • There was a crowd of people staging a sit-in in front of the presidential palace. (總統府前有一群人在進行靜坐抗議)
  • A gang of workmen were repairing the road. (一群工人在修路)

No + 兩個用 and 連接的單數名詞,動詞要用單數

  • No man and woman wants to look like a drowned rat. (沒有一個男人和女人想在大雨中被淋得像隻落湯雞) (正)
  • No man and woman want to look like a drowned rat. (誤)

解說:兩個單數名詞用 and 連接當主詞時,若其前用 no 修飾,則動詞要用單數形式。若將這句貼到 Word,它會顯示 wants 是錯的,要你改成 want,別理它,Word 的文法能力本來就不強。

Many a + 名詞要接單數動詞

  • Many a good climber has met his/her death on this mountain. (許多優秀登山者都在這座山身亡了) (正)
  • Many a good climber have met his/her death on this mountain. (誤)

解說:Many a 與 many 同義,但前者後面接單數可數名詞,後者接複數可數名詞,故 many a + 名詞後面的動詞要用單數形式。這句亦可寫成 (請注意句中主詞、動詞和所有格的數的變化):”Many good climbers have met their death on this mountain.”。

Looks like rain.

  • Looks like rain. (看起來好像要下雨) (正)
  • Look like rain. (誤)

解說:這句是 It looks like rain 的省略,由於主詞是 it (表天氣),省略後動詞仍然要用第三人稱單數 looks。一般而言,在不會引起誤解的情況下或在非正式場合中,句子的主詞可以省略。Look like 意為「看起來好像」。

Nobody but my sisters wants to stay in now.

  • Nobody but my sisters wants to stay in now. (現在只有我的姊妹想待在家裡) (正)
  • Nobody but my sisters want to stay in now. (誤)
  • Nobody but my sisters wanted to stay in now. (誤)

解說: nobody but 意為「只有…」,其中 but 為介系詞,意為「除…之外」,後接名詞 (人),因此主詞是 nobody,動詞要用單數;又因後面有時間副詞 now,所以要用現在簡單式。Nothing but 同樣意為「只有…」,但 but 後面要接事物的名詞。

Neither of ≠ Both (of) + not

Neither 可當連接詞、副詞、限定詞和代名詞用,這裡要談的是 neither 當限定詞和代名詞的用法,表示兩者中沒有任何一個,即「兩者都不」。例如:

  • Neither answer is correct. (兩個答案都不對) - neither 在此當限定詞用,後接單數可數名詞。
  • Neither of the answers is/are correct. (兩個答案都不對) - neither 在此當代名詞用。用作代名詞的 neither 後接複數名詞時,在正式書面文件中,動詞通常用單數形式,但在口語或非正式文件中,動詞通常用複數形式。Either 的代名詞用法亦同。

閱讀全文

A bag of potatoes was discovered in his car.

  • A bag of potatoes was discovered in his car. (他的車上被發現一袋馬鈴薯) (正)
  • A bag of potatoes were discovered in his car. (誤)

解說:「A bag of + 複數可數名詞」若當句子的主詞,其真正的主詞為 bag,後面須接單數動詞,亦即句子的主動詞須與 bag 一致,而不是跟複數可數名詞一致。介系詞片語「of + 複數可數名詞」係當形容詞用,修飾 bag,對動詞沒有影響。除 a bag of 外,a box of, a pack of 等片語的用法亦同。

主詞中含有 or 或 nor 的單複數問題

當主詞是由 or 或 nor 所連接的兩個元素所構成,若這兩個元素都是單數,則主動詞為單數。若其中有個元素為複數,則主動詞變成複數。例如:

  • Taylor or his wife is going to pick up his parents at the airport. (泰勒或者他太太將到機場接他的父母親)
  • The twin brothers or their sister are going to pick up their parents at the airport. (這對雙胞胎兄弟或是他們的姊姊將到機場接他們的父母親)

閱讀全文