用引號來表示「所謂的」概念

引號 (quotation marks) 可用來表示「所謂的」、「聲稱的」或「據稱的」(so-called, alleged, supposed) 概念。在英式英語中,引號叫做 inverted commas (倒置或顛倒的逗號),包括雙引號和單引號。例如:

  • Miranda’s “boyfriend” got married to another girl a few days ago. (正) (米蘭達所謂的男友幾天前和另一名女子結婚了) - “boyfriend” = so-called boyfriend。
  • Much to Mary’s surprise, they offered her the “job.” (正) (令瑪麗甚為驚訝的是,他們竟然給了她那份所謂的工作) - 在本例中,引號扮演兩個角色,一是對說話者的直接引述 (direct speech) 或引述原話 (quoted speech);另一是表示「所謂的工作」(so-called job) 的概念。
  • His “friends” all disappeared when he was in trouble.
    = His friends, in quotation marks, all disappeared when he was in trouble.
    = His friends, in inverted commas, all disappeared when he was in trouble. (正) (當他陷入困境時,他那些所謂的朋友全都不見了)

「所謂的」是在表示用來描述某人或某物的字詞只是其通常的名稱,並非一般所認為的意思,因此,引號亦可用來表示該字詞並非字面上的意思。這經常用於擬人化的情況。例如:

  • Tony’s girlfriend wants him to dress as a superhero and “rescue” her. (正) (東尼的女友要他穿得像超級英雄一樣來「拯救」她) - rescue 並非真正的拯救。
  • The breeze “kissed” my face when I was lying on the grass. (當我躺在草地時,微風「親吻」我的臉) - 顯然地,微風不會親吻。引號用來傳達「非字面意思」的概念。

由於引號可用來表示「所謂的,聲稱的」(so-called, alleged) 概念,所以若使用引號來表示此一概念,那麼就無需再使用這些字,否則疊床架屋,將造成贅述 (tautology),應予避免。例如:

  • Miranda’s so-called “boyfriend” got married to another girl a few days ago. (誤) - 在本例中,so-called 和引號連用是一種贅述;它們僅能擇一使用。
  • Miranda’s so-called boyfriend got married to another girl a few days ago. (正)
  • Miranda’s “boyfriend” got married to another girl a few days ago. (正)

切勿使用引號來做強調。例如:

  • I enjoy “fresh” fish. (誤) (我喜歡吃所謂新鮮的魚)
  • This is a “very clean” Italian restaurant. (誤) (這是一家所謂非常乾淨的義大利餐廳)
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