Might as well

Might as well 是日常生活中常見的一個片語,意為「倒不如;不妨;做…也無妨」,如 We might as well celebrate our wedding anniversary at home. (我們倒不如在家裡慶祝結婚紀念日)。這個片語還意為「還不如」,如 The party was a complete waste of time. I might as well have stayed at time. (這場聚會完全是浪費時間,早知道還不如待在家裡好)。

Might as well 的起源不可考,可能來自英國成語 “someone might as well be hanged/hung for a sheep as a lamb”,最後將這個成語的後半部拿掉而變成現在的樣子。這個成語意為「偷小羊還不如偷大羊,反正一樣要被處絞刑;一不做,二不休」(古時候,英國的偷羊者,不論是偷大羊還是偷小羊,均處以絞刑),且經常不用主詞,如 Oh, might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, I suppose. (哦,我看乾脆一不做,二不休)。

值得一提的是,有人可能認為 “someone might as well be hanged/hung for a sheep as a lamb” 中的 hung 用錯了,因為 hang 這個動詞有兩個主要意思,一為「懸掛;掛,吊」,另一為「絞死;吊死」,它們的過去式和過去分詞分別為截然不同的 hung, hung 和 hanged, hanged。然而,這是針對美式英語而言,在英式英語中,hung 亦不時被用作 hang 意為「絞死;吊死」時的過去式和過去分詞,本成語即是其中一例。不過,考試時,建議還是嚴格遵守美式英語的區別,以免被認為錯誤。

除了 might as well 外,我們亦經常見到和聽到 might just as well 和 may as well 的寫法和說法。事實上,might as well、might just as well 和 may as well 的意思完全一樣,如 For the little extra it’ll cost, we might just as well stay for another night. (只要多花一點錢,我們不妨再住一晚)。若把 as 拿掉,變成 might well 和 may well,兩者均意為「很可能」,如 A small technical error might/may well result in a serious accident. (小小的技術失誤很可能導致嚴重事故)。

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