Solution to 和 solution for

某個問題的解決方法或方程式的解答,英文叫做 the solution to the problem 或 the solution to the equation,亦即 solution 後面慣用的介系詞是 to。然而,若是要求出方程式中某個未知數的值,那麼 solution 後面的介系詞必須用 for。例如:

The solution for y in the equation (a) is 5. (求出方程式(a) 中 y 的值是5)

這項用法亦適用於 solution 的動詞 solve。例如:

Everyone must solve for y in the equation (a). (每個人都要求出方程式(a)中 y 的值)

此外,solve 與多個名詞形成的固定搭配都相當常見,值得我們加以熟記:

To solve a problem/crisis/dispute/conflict:解決問題/危機/爭論/衝突
To solve a mystery/puzzle/riddle (of):揭開…之謎
To solve a case/crime/murder:偵破案件/犯罪/殺人案

Search 和 search for 之不同

Search 可當名詞和動詞用,意思都是「搜查;搜索:搜尋」,雖然其後加上介系詞 for 之後,意思也是「搜索:搜尋」,但兩者的意涵卻有頗大的出入。以 search the house 為例,這好像檢察官到扁家進行搜索、尋找阿扁貪污和洗錢的證據 — 檢察官就在阿扁的豪華住宅內東翻西找。此時,我們不能說 search for the house,因為這句的意思是「尋找這棟房子」– 不是我們想要買屋或租屋的找房子,而是這棟房子遺失了,就像遺失鑰匙一樣,我們要把它找回來。顯然地,這是不通的。

由上述可知,search for 的意思就是「搜尋,尋找」;所以,我們可以說 search for my car key,但卻不能說 search for my house — 除非房子長腳,會自己走失。因此,當我們要尋找線索、解答等等時,我們必須說 search for the clue, search for the solution,而不能說 search the clue, search the solution。下面的例句應足以讓網友確實區分 search 和 search for 之間的不同:

The police searched the suspect but found no weapon on him. (警察搜查了嫌犯,但在他身上找不到武器)
Scientists are still searching for a cure to the common cold. (科學家仍在尋找治療感冒的方法)
The authorities carried out several air searches for survivors of the crash. (當局進行了數次空中搜索,尋找空難的生還者)

最後,當名詞用的 search 還有一個頗為常見的片語,那就是 in search of (注意不能寫成 in search for);這片語與 search for 相當,意思都是「尋找某物」( looking for something 或 trying to find something)。例如:Many people had left their homes to go in search of food. (許多人已出門去覓食)。

Included, including 和 inclusive (of)

Included 是形容詞,意為「包括在內的;被包括的」,用在名詞和代名詞之後。例如:All of us, me included, are teachers. (包括我在內,我們都是老師)。

Including 是介系詞,意為「(其中) 包括」,用在名詞和代名詞之前。例如:All of us are teachers, including me. (包括我在內,我們都是老師/我們都是老師,其中包括我在內);I’m ordering some extra office equipment, including a new printer. (我即將訂購一些額外的辦公室設備,包括一台新的印表機)。

Inclusive 是形容詞,意為「包括在內的」,用在名詞和代名詞之後。例如:The rent is NTD 6,000 inclusive. (包括水電等一切費用在內,房租為台幣6000元)。Inclusive 後面常接 of,此時其用法與 including 等量齊觀。例如:All of us are teachers, including me. = All of us are teachers, inclusive of me.

值得注意的是,在英式英語中,inclusive 經常被用來表示「所有數目或首末兩日包括在內的」意思,如 Monday to Friday inclusive (從星期一到星期五,首尾兩天 — 即星期一和星期五 — 包括在內),但美式英語則使用 through 來表達 inclusive 的意思,如 Monday through Friday (從星期一到星期五,首尾兩天 — 即星期一和星期五 — 包括在內)。

Included, including 和 inclusive (of) 的相反詞分別為 excluded, excluding 和 exclusive (of),用法相同,只是意思變成相反的「除…之外;不包括」。再舉數例來說明它們的用法 (請注意它們在句中的位置):

All on the plane were lost, including the crew. (包括機組人員在內,機上所有人都失蹤了)
= All on the plane were lost, the crew included.
= All on the plane were lost, inclusive of the crew.
= Including the crew, all on the plane were lost.

The hotel charges $5,000 a day, excluding meals. (這家飯店一天索費5000元,其中並不包括三餐)
= The hotel charges $5,000 a day, meals excluded.
= The hotel charges $5,000 a day, exclusive of meals.

All of us, me included, were invited. (包括我在內,我們所有人都受到邀請)
= All of us, including me, were invited.
= They invited all of us, inclusive of me.

The rent is $10,000 inclusive. (包括一切費用在內,房租為10000元)
= The rent is $10,000 inclusive of everything.

Doubt 的用法

Doubt 可當名詞和動詞用,當名詞時意為「疑惑;懷疑」,當動詞時意為「懷疑;不大相信,認為…未必可能」。

Doubt 用法的主要問題在於其後該用那個介系詞或連接詞。doubt 當名詞用時,它絕大部分都是接 about,如 I have my doubts about his plan. (我對他的計畫存有疑慮)。在否定結構中,doubt 無論當名詞或動詞用,其後若接子句,只能接由連接詞 “that” 所引導的名詞子句,如 There is no doubt in my mind that he is telling the truth. 或 I don’t doubt (= I am certain) that he is telling the truth. (我毫不懷疑他在講真話)。而在其他大多數結構中,其後通常接由連接詞 “whether/if” (有些人也使用 that) 所引導的名詞子句,如 I doubt whether/if he is telling the truth. (我不相信他在講真話) — 在口語中,if 比 whether 用得多。

最後要提的是 doubt 在一句大家耳熟能詳的法律用語中的應用:

To give somebody the benefit of the doubt:在沒有證據證明某人有罪之前,應假定他是無罪的。
To give something the benefit of the doubt:在沒有證據證明某事不當之前,應假設它是可行的。

Kangaroo 和 tomato 的複數

我們知道,字尾為字母 o 的名詞,它們的複數是在 o 的後面加上 s 或 es,那麼要如何判斷各該名詞是要加 s 還是 es 呢? 一般而言,若一個名詞的字尾是兩個 o,即母音字母 o 加 o (或其他母音字母加 o),則其複數是在字尾加上 s,如 kangaroo → kangaroos、zoo → zoos、studio → studios;若字尾只有一個 o,即一個子音字母加 o,則其複數是在字尾加上 es,如 tomato → tomatoes、veto → vetoes,但 piano 和 photo 等少數名詞例外,其複數分別為 pianos 和 photos。

Fit, match 和 suit 之不同

這三個字表面上都有「適合」、「與…相稱」的意思,但實質的意義卻有很大的出入。

Fit 是指合身,尺寸相符。例如:These shoes don’t fit me – they are too small. (這雙鞋子不適合我穿 — 它們太小了);This dress doesn’t fit me. (這件衣服我穿起來不合身)。

Match 是指搭配,相配。例如:Her handbag matches her shoes well. (她的包包和她的鞋子很搭配);The color of the shirt does not match that of the tie. (襯衫的顏色跟領帶的顏色不搭配)。

Suit 是指適合某人的外表、個性等。例如:Dark colors suit her best (深顏色最適合他);This dress suits him beautifully. (這件衣服他穿非常合適 — 如適合他的外表或個性等)。

Consider 還是 consider as 呢?

Consider 的主要意思有三:

第一義是「認為,把…視為」(句型為:consider + 受詞 + 名詞/形容詞)。例如:Do you consider her suitable for the job? (你認為她適合做這份工作嗎?)。

第二義是「考慮,細想」。例如:We will not fail to consider your feelings on the matter. (我們不會不考慮你對這件事情的感受)。

第三義是「考慮到;考慮過」。例如:I have considered all aspects of the problem. (我已考慮過這問題的所有層面)。

由於第一義與 regard as 和 view as 同義,所以當 consider意為「認為,把…視為」時,就不可在其後加上 as (但若意為「考慮」,則可加上 as),但可加上 “to be” (可省略):

I consider it (to be) a great honor to be invited to join the club. (我認為被邀請加入此俱樂部是很大的榮幸) (正)
I consider it as a great honor to be invited to join the club. (誤)

最後要提的是,consider 後面若接動詞,須用動名詞而非不定詞:

I’m considering changing my job. (我正考慮換工作) (正)
I’m considering to change my job. (誤)

Equal 和 equal to 你搞混了嗎?

Equal 這個字可當動詞、形容詞和名詞用,是個很常見的字。相信絕大部分人都會這個字,但在表達「等於」的意思時,卻有不少人會用錯。當動詞時,equal 是個及物動詞,亦即其後直接接受詞,不可先接介系詞 to 再接受詞。再者,作「等於」解時,equal 與 “be equal to ” (這個 equal 是形容詞) 同義;換言之,若有受詞,則當及物動詞用的 equal 後面不可接 to,但當形容詞用的 equal 後面一定要有 to。例如:

Two and three equals five. (2加3等於5) (正)
Two and three equals to five. (誤)
Two and three is equal to five. (正)
Two and three is equal five. (誤)

此外,當及物動詞用的 equal 還有一個蠻常用的意思,那就是「平了(…記錄)」:

Thompson today equaled (or equalled) the world record for the 400 meters. (今天湯普森平了400公尺的世界記錄)

Approach, discuss 和 lack 這三個動詞有什麼關係呢?

老實說,這三個動詞一點關係也沒有,但它們有一共通點,那就是它們都是及物動詞,後面直接接受詞,不可以接介系詞再接受詞。英文中有許多這樣的動詞,這裡只是以這三個我們常見但經常用錯的動詞作代表。總之,當 approach, discuss 和 lack 做及物動詞用時,那麼 approach to + 受詞,discuss about + 受詞,lack of + 受詞的寫法都是錯的。例如:

Silently we approached the enemy’s camp. (正)
Silently we approached to the enemy’s camp. (誤)
(我們悄悄地逼近敵人的營地)
He’s approaching 70. (正)
He’s approaching to 70. (誤)
(他快70歲了)

She discussed her study plan with her mother. (正)
She discussed about her study plan with her mother. (誤)
(她和母親討論她的讀書計畫)
Mr. Wang refused to discuss the matter. (正)
Mr. Wang refused to discuss about the matter. (誤)
(王先生拒絕討論這件事)

He’s good at his job but he seems to lack confidence. (正)
He’s good at his job but he seems to lack of confidence. (誤)
(他善於工作,但似乎缺乏信心)
I don’t seem to lack anything. (正)
I don’t seem to lack of anything. (誤)
(我好像什麼都不缺)

然而,這三個動詞的名詞 approach, discussion 和 lack 則都必須先接介系詞再接受詞。例如:

I like her approach to the problem. (我喜歡她解決這問題的方法)

We had a discussion about our future plans last night. (我們昨晚討論了我們未來的計畫)

He cannot buy this watch because of his lack of money. (他因缺錢買不起這個手錶)

Compensate 或 compensate for 呢?

Compensate 可當及物和不及物動詞用。當及物動詞時意為「補償;賠償」,後面接被補償或賠償的人或事物當受詞,然後再接 for + 補償或賠償的原因;當不及物動詞時意為「彌補;抵銷」,後面先接介系詞 for 再接要彌補的事物。請看下面的例句:

We compensate workers for injuries suffered at their work. (我們對工人在工作中受傷給予補償)

Her intelligence more than compensates for her lack of experience. (以她的聰穎來彌補她的經驗不足是綽綽有餘的)