Q:在省略 if 的條件句中,若為否定形式,好像不能將 “had not” 縮寫後移到句首 (如不能將 Had it not been… 寫成 Hadn’t it been…),這是否屬實?

A:沒錯! 英文的條件句有三種情況可以省略 if:當條件句的動詞部分含有 were (與現在事實相反)、had (與過去事實相反) 或 should (與未來事實相反 — 即假設的情況不太可能發生) 時,我們可將它們移到句首並省略 if,使句子變成倒裝句。例如:

  • If I were you, I wouldn’t do that.
    = Were I you, I wouldn’t do that. (如果我是你,就不會那麼做了)
  • If he had taken my advice, he might not have made such a bad mistake.
    = Had he taken my advice, he might not have made such a bad mistake. (要是他聽我的勸告,就不會犯這樣嚴重的錯誤了)
  • If I should have a chance to try it, I would do it in another way.
    = Should I have a chance to try it, I would do it in another way. (要是我有機會試一試,我會用另一種方法去做) — Should 係表示有機會一試的可能性微乎其微。
  • If we were to have children, we’d need to move to a bigger house.
    = Were we to have children, we’d need to move to a bigger house. (如果/要是將來有小孩,我們必須換一間較大的房子) –「were to + 原形動詞」是另一種與未來事實相反的條件句型。

如果條件句為否定形式,那麼在寫成倒裝句時,NOT 必須置於主詞的後面,不能將它與 were、had 或 should 縮寫後移到句首。例如:

  • Were she not my daughter, I’d have no hesitation in phoning the police. (如果她不是我女兒,我會毫不猶豫地打電話報警) (正)
  • Weren’t she my daughter, I’d have no hesitation in phoning the police. (誤)
  • Had it not rained last Saturday, we would’ve celebrated Tom’s birthday with a barbecue in the garden. (上週六要是沒下雨,我們會在花園烤肉慶祝湯姆的生日) (正)
  • Hadn’t it rained last Saturday, we would’ve celebrated Tom’s birthday with a barbecue in the garden. (誤)
  • Should you not wish to sign the contract, you must let them know before the end of June. (要是你不想簽約,你必須在六月底之前讓他們知道) (正)
  • Shouldn’t you wish to sign the contract, you must let them know before the end of June. (誤)

但如果將倒裝句改回正常的詞序,那麼 were、had 或 should 就可與 not 縮寫在一起。請看下面的例句 (其它條件句亦同):

  • If she weren’t my daughter, I’d have no hesitation in phoning the police and telling them about the crime that has been committed. (如果她不是我女兒,我會毫不猶豫地打電話報警,告訴警方她所犯的罪)
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