One, you, we, they

One, you, we 和 they 都可用作泛指的 (generic) 人稱代名詞,亦即用來指所有人或非特定的任何人,而不是指特定的某個人或某些人。它們的意思相當於總稱的「任何人」、「人們」或「大家」。

One, you 和 we

當 one, you 和 we 用作泛指的人稱代名詞時,它們包括說話者或寫作者本身在內。例如:

  • One cannot learn English well unless one works hard. (下苦功才能學好英文)
    = You cannot learn English well unless you work hard.
    = We cannot learn English well unless we work hard.
  • One must try one’s best. (人人都要盡力而為)
  • One has to trust one’s family. (大家都要相信自己的家人)
  • It does make one think. (這的確發人深省)
  • You can never predict what the president would do next. (誰也無法預料總統接下來會做什麼事)
  • If you exercise every day, you’ll feel much better. (天天運動,你會覺得好多了)
  • Our manager is a person who makes you feel very important. (我們經理是個會使人覺得自己很重要的人)
  • We all make mistakes. (人人都會犯錯)
  • We usually need a raincoat in Keelung. (在基隆,人們經常需要雨衣)
  • Why can we learn our mother tongue very easily? (我們為什麼能輕易學會母語呢?)

必須注意的是,one 比 you 或 we 來得正式許多,因此鮮少用在講話中。例如:

  • One would have thought that PM2.5 could be reduced effectively by adopting some measures. (大家以為採取一些措施就可以有效降低細懸浮微粒濃度)

They

They 用於泛指時,大多與 say, call, think 等動詞連用,亦即以 they say, they call, they think 等型態出現。例如:

  • They say a high-rise office building will be built here. (人們說/據說這裡要興建一棟超高辦公大樓)
  • They used to call her “the Iron Lady”. (大家過去稱她為「鐵娘子」)

They 也可用來泛指一大群人,如政府、當局、組織、機構等。例如:

  • They’ve opened a new French restaurant in the city center. (他們已在市中心開了一家新的法式餐廳)
  • They’ve decided to hold local elections as soon as possible. (政府已決定盡快舉行地方選舉)
  • They’re going to amend the Constitution to allow same-sex marriage. (當局將修憲來允許同性結婚)

我們亦可使用 they 和 them 代替 he/she 和 him/her 來指前文出現的 someone, anyone, everyone 等不定代名詞;由於這些不定代名詞的人數和性別皆未可知,使用 they 和 them 既可總稱亦可包含兩性。此外,我們還可將泛指的 they 和 them 用於附加問句。例如:

  • You cannot walk away just because someone tells you they don’t want to buy. (你不能只因爲有人告訴你他們不想買就走開了)
  • Everyone should have a chance to say what they think. (大家應該要有機會說出自己的想法)
  • If anyone comes with a parcel for me, can you ask them to take it next door. (如果有人帶包裹要給我,你可以叫他們送到隔壁嗎)
  • Someone wanted to borrow John’s bike, didn’t they? (有人想要借約翰的單車,不是嗎?)
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