合句除了要有連接詞外,還須使用逗點將兩個子句分開

  • It’s a nice shirt, but it creases very easily. (這件襯衫很漂亮,但很容易起皺) (正)
  • It’s a nice shirt but it creases very easily. (誤)

解說:英文的合句 (compound sentences) 是指由至少兩個獨立子句所構成的句子。合句的子句可以用分號 (比較少見) 來分開,或者用對等連接詞來連接,而連接詞的前面須有逗點。最常見的兩個對等連接詞是 and 和 but (其他對等連接詞為 or, for, yet 和 so)。

再舉一例:

  • Andrew had been well trained by scientists in Moscow prior to his expedition, and he was a curious man by nature. (安德魯在探險之前曾在莫斯科接受科學家的良好訓練,他生性好奇) (正)
  • Andrew had been well trained by scientists in Moscow prior to his expedition and he was a curious man by nature. (誤)

Just deserts 和 just desserts 之對與錯

  • I’d say he got his just deserts for not sticking around to help with the kids. (我想說,他沒有留下來幫忙照顧小孩,這是他罪有應得) (正)
  • I’d say he got his just desserts for not sticking around to help with the kids. (誤)

解說:這個片語意為「應得之物」(可指正面或負面之事物),原始的寫法是 just deserts (複數型),因為「應得之物」正是 desert 這個字過時的意思 (現在的意思是「沙漠」)。所以,我們可以說這個片語是 desert 這個字之過時含義的最後棲身之所。它通常與動詞 get 連用來構成 to get one’s just deserts,以表示「獲得應得之物」的意思。
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Contract a disease 和 contact a disease 之對與錯

  • John contracted malaria while he was travelling. (約翰旅行時染上了瘧疾) (正)
  • John contacted malaria while he was travelling. (誤)

解說:Contract (a disease) 意為「患上,感染 (疾病)」,這是 contract 的動詞意思之一,而 contact 並無此意思。當動詞用的 contact 意為「(透過電話或電子郵件等) 聯繫,聯絡」。顯然地,contact a disease 是 contract a disease 的耳誤詞 (聽錯詞) 或口誤詞 (eggcorn)。這也可能是有人認為當名詞用的 contact 有「接觸;觸摸;碰到」的意思,所以其兩個常用的片語 to come into contact with 和 to be in contact with 可接疾病當受詞,這是錯的。

Perhaps 和 maybe 之對與錯

  • John perhaps remembers what her cell phone number is. (約翰也許記得她的手機號碼) (正)
  • John maybe remembers what her cell phone number is. (誤)

解說:Perhaps 和 maybe 這兩個副詞不僅意思相同 (意為「也許,或許,大概,可能」),而且用法也幾無二致,兩者皆可當句子副詞,修飾整個句子或子句,亦可用作一般副詞。所以,在絕大多數的情況中,perhaps 和 maybe 都可互換。
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Been 和 gone 之對與錯

  • I’ve never been to New York, but I hope to visit it next year. (我從未去過紐約,但我希望明年去看看) (正)
  • I’ve never gone to New York, but I hope to visit it next year. (誤)

解說:Been (be 的過去分詞) to 意為「去…參觀過;到過…旅遊」,表示曾經去過或到過某地且已經回來;gone (go 的過去分詞) to 意為「已經去」,表示已經去某地,但還沒回來。
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Very 只能修飾部分最高級

  • John is the very oldest child in my class. (約翰是我班上年齡最大的小孩) (正)
  • Mary is the very most beautiful supermodel in Taiwan. (瑪麗是台灣最漂亮的超模) (誤)

解說:Very 這個副詞加強語可以修飾形容詞和副詞的原級與最高級,但不能修飾比較級,若要修飾比較級,須使用 much 或 very much。另外,very 雖可修飾最高級,但僅能修飾單音節以 -est 做字尾所構成的最高級 (包括 best 和 worst),不能修飾三音節 (含) 以上或以 -ful / -less / -ing / -ed / -ous 為字尾的雙音節使用 most (或 least) 或 by far the most (或 least) 所構成的最高級。例如:

  • It’s very cold today. (今天很冷) (正)
  • Gary always drives very fast. (蓋瑞一向開得很快) (正)
  • Peter runs much faster than Sam does. (彼得跑得比山姆快很多) (正)
    Peter runs very much faster than Sam does. (正)
    Peter runs very faster than Sam does. (誤)
  • This is the very best apple pie I’ve ever tasted. (這是我嚐過最好吃的蘋果派) (正)
  • This is the very lowest price we can offer. (這是我們能提供的最低價格) (正)
  • Paul is the most careful student in my class. (保羅是我班上最細心的學生) (正)
    Paul is the very most careful student in my class. (誤)
  • Professor Morgan is by far the most popular teacher in the university. (摩根教授是這所大學最受歡迎的老師) (正)
    Professor Morgan is by far the very most popular teacher in the university. (誤)

Decent、descent 和 dissent 之對與錯

  • Mary didn’t have a decent meal for three months. (瑪麗三個月來沒有吃過一頓像樣的飯) (正)
  • Mary didn’t have a descent meal for three months. (誤)
  • Mary didn’t have a dissent meal for three months. (誤)

解說:這三個字或其中兩個字無論發音或拼字都非常相近,很容易讓人錯把馮京當馬涼。Decent 意為「像樣的;正派的;得體的;體面的」,是個形容詞。Descent 意為「下降;下坡;血統;墮落」,是個名詞。Dissent 意為「異議;不同意」,可當名詞和動詞用。

下面為 descent 和 dissent 的例句:

  • The military aircraft started its descent from 3,000 meters. (那架軍機開始從三千公尺高空降落)
  • There’s a long, steep descent over there. (那裡有一條長而且陡峭的坡道)
  • Many Malaysians are of Chinese descent. (許多馬來西亞人有華人血統)
  • The bill was approved without dissent. (這項法案無異議獲得通過)
  • Anyone wishing to dissent from the plan should now raise their hand. (不同意這項計畫的人請舉手)

Apart from 和 except for 之對與錯

  • Apart from Sam, we all also passed the math exam. (除山姆外,我們也都通過了數學考試) (正)
  • Except for Sam, we all also passed the math exam. (誤)

解說: Apart from 和 except for 都意為「除…之外」,但 apart from 可以是將其後面的人事物排除在外 (不包括在內),亦可以是將其後面的人事物包含在內 (除…外還有…,即 in addition to)。Except for (或 except) 只能表示將其後面的人事物排除在外。在上面的例句中,通過數學考試的人包括山姆在內。再看下面的例句:

  • Apart from the weekend, I’ll be in Taipei. (除週末外,我都會在台北) - 不包括週末。
  • My son likes all vegetables apart from cauliflowers. (除花椰菜外,我兒子喜歡吃所有蔬菜) - 不包括花椰菜。
    = My son likes all vegetables except for cauliflowers.
    = My son likes all vegetables except cauliflowers.
  • Except for Sam, we all passed the math exam. (除山姆外,我們都通過了數學考試) - 不包括山姆,亦即山姆不及格。

Ask for 和 demand 之對與錯

  • I called John to ask for his help in fixing my computer. (我打電話給約翰請他幫我修電腦) (正)
  • I called John to demand his help in fixing my computer. (誤)

解說:Ask (someone) for something 意為「要求或請求 (某人) 給予某物」;demand 意為「(強烈、堅決或嚴格) 要求」,說話者預期他們的要求不會遭到拒絕或者堅持不讓對方拒絕要求或不會接受否定的回答。例如:

  • Paul asked his parents for more money, but they refused. (保羅向他父母要更多的錢,但他們拒絕了) (正)
  • The police officer demanded her name and address. (警察要求她說出姓名和住址) (正)

至於 ask + 不定詞,也是「要求,請求」的意思。Ask (someone) to do something 意為「要求或請求 (某人) 做某事」。例如:

  • He asked to see the President. (他要求會見總統)
  • I asked John to help me fix my computer. (我請約翰幫我修電腦)

adverse 和 averse 之對與錯

  • The expedition encountered adverse weather conditions. (探險隊遇到惡劣的天氣) (正)
  • The expedition encountered averse weather conditions. (誤)

解說:Adverse 是個形容詞,意為「不利的;有害的;逆向的」;averse 也是形容詞,意為「反對的;嫌惡的;不願意的」,通常用於 “be averse to” 的結構中,其中 to 為介系詞,後接名詞或動名詞。例如:

  • These drugs are thought not to have any adverse effects (= side effects). (這些藥物一直被認為沒有任何副作用)
  • I’m not averse to taking an occasional drink. (我不反對偶爾喝一杯)