First、firstly 還是 at first 呢?

First 可當形容詞和副詞用,前者意為「第一的;最早的;最初的;最先的」,而後者意為「第一;首先;首次;最先;最初」。例如:

形容詞

  • Your first year at university can be quite frightening and exciting at the same time. (你上大學的頭一年可能恐懼和刺激兼而有之)
  • Why didn’t you seek help from the police in the first place? (你為何不先求助於警方呢?)

副詞

  • You (go) first! (你先請!)
  • When did the idiom first appear? (這個成語首次出現在什麼時候?)
  • He finished first in math, second in English, and third in fine arts. (他獲得數學第一名、英文第二名、美術第三名)

閱讀全文

More or less 的用法

More or less 是個略為非正式的片語,當副詞用,意為「大約;幾乎,差不多;多少有些,大致上」。在句中,它通常位在副詞慣常的中間位置,即主詞和主動詞之間、語氣助動詞或第一個助動詞之後,或當主動詞用的 BE 動詞之後。例如:

  • I’ve more or less finished reading the novel. (我差不多已經看完這本小說了)
  • His youngest son was more or less mentally retarded. (他的么兒有點弱智)
  • The plan was more or less a success. (這項計劃大致成功)

More or less 通常位在數字和測量單位之後。例如:

  • The alligator’s 800 kilos, more or less. (這隻短吻鱷大約有 800 公斤重)
  • She can earn 10 US dollars an hour, more or less, as a waitress. (她當服務生一小時可賺 10 美元左右)
  • A sum of three million dollars, more or less, will be needed to carry out the plan. (執行這項計畫需要大約三百萬元)

More or less 不可用在年齡之前。例如:

  • His mother’s about 40. (他媽媽大約 40 歲) (正)
  • His mother’s more or less 40. (誤)

Cold turkey

Cold turkey 意為「(戒除毒癮、菸癮或酒癮等出現痛苦不適的) 戒斷症狀」,但指的是事先未做好準備或採取逐漸減量的方式就突然戒斷所出現的痛苦與不適。Cold turkey 源於北美,字面意思為「冷火雞肉」,其比喻意思可能與晚餐時端上一盤冷火雞肉的概念有關,因為這表示該頓晚餐事先並未做太多的準備。

Cold turkey 現在主要用來表示突然戒除毒癮、菸癮或酒癮等時所出現的痛苦與不適,甚至可表示嘎然而止、突然完全停止某事的意思。這個名詞起初意為「直言不諱;照實說;有話直說,別拐彎抹角」,當副詞用,如 to talk cold turkey (to somebody) 意為「(對某人) 直言不諱」。然而,to talk cold turkey 現已被 to talk turkey 所取代,後者已成為常用的口語,如 Okay, John, we have business to discuss. Let’s talk turkey. (不錯,約翰,我們有事要討論。我們就有話直說,別拐彎抹角了)。至於「突然戒除毒癮、菸癮或酒癮等;突然完全停止某事」的意思,則用 quit cold turkey 或 go cold turkey on something 來表示。

例句:

  • Two years ago Kevin went cold turkey on a three-pack-a-day smoking habit. (兩年前,凱文突然戒掉一天抽三包菸的習慣)
  • More and more people want to quit smoking cold turkey. (越來越多人想斷然戒菸)
  • Britain went cold turkey on free trade with EU. (英國突然完全停止與歐盟的自由貿易)

After 和 behind 的用法差異

After 主要當介系詞、副詞和連接詞用,而 behind 則主要當介系詞和副詞用。這兩個字的用法可謂「小同大異」,除了有個地方可以互換之外,其他用法皆大異其趣、截然不同。

After 用作介系詞時意為「在 … 之後,在 … 以後;在 … 後面;隨 … 之後」,是指時間的先後順序。例如:

  • After graduation Allen is going to study abroad. (艾倫畢業後要出國留學)
  • We’re planning to meet at half after ten. (我們打算十點半見面)
  • After you, please. (您先請)
  • After you with the computer, please. (請您用完電腦後給我用)
  • Mary came in after John. (瑪麗在約翰之後進來)
  • Paul slammed the door after him. (保羅砰的一聲隨手關上了門)

After 用作副詞時意為「之後,以後」,也是指時間的先後順序。在此用法中,after 通常與其他字構成副詞片語。例如:

閱讀全文

Nowadays、these days 和 today 的用法

Nowadays (注意這個字的拼法,不是 nowdays)、these days 和 today 都可用作副詞來表示相較於過去的「現今,當今,如今」。例如:

  • Most people think kids nowadays are lazy. (大多數人都認為現在的小孩很懶)
  • People nowadays live far more comfortable lives. (現今人們過著比過去舒適很多的生活)

These days 比較不正式一些。例如:

  • Young people these days don’t respect their teachers any more. (時下的年輕人不再尊敬他們的老師)
  • These days you seldom see a young person give up their seat for an older person on the bus. (現今在公車上你很少會見到年輕人讓位給年長者)

Today 略微正式一點。例如:

  • People today are much more concerned about their health than they were in the past. (現在人們比以前更關心自己的健康)
  • Computers today are so advanced. (現在的電腦很先進)
    = The computers of today are so advanced.

閱讀全文

Yet 不可用於進行式

  • John is still living in Taipei. He’s not moving to Kaohsiung till next month. (約翰還住在台北。他下個月才要搬到高雄) (正)
  • John is yet living in Taipei. He’s not moving to Kaohsiung till next month. (誤)
  • John is living yet in Taipei. He’s not moving to Kaohsiung till next month. (誤)

解說:Still 和 yet 當副詞用時都有「還,仍然」的意思,但 yet 不可用於進行式。

Nearby 的用法

Nearby 可當形容詞和副詞用,前者意為「附近的」,後者意為「在附近」。例如:

  • My father lives in a nearby village. (我父親住在附近的村莊) (nearby 為形容詞)
  • The gymnasium nearby can seat 50, 000 people. (附近那座體育館可容納五萬人) (nearby 為形容詞)
  • My father lives nearby. (我父親住在附近) (nearby 為副詞)

從上面的例句可知,當形容詞用的 nearby 可放在其所修飾的名詞之前或之後,但放在名詞之後的情況比較少見。

Nearby 不能用作介系詞,在需要用到介系詞的場合,我們必須使用 near。例如:

  • John has been working in a restaurant near the park. (約翰一直在公園附近的一家餐廳工作) (正)
  • John has been working in a restaurant nearby the park. (誤)

使用 largely 時常見的錯誤

Largely 是個副詞,意為「主要地;大多;大部分地」。例如:

  • Mr. Chen runs a largely female company. (陳先生經營一家員工大多為女性的公司)
  • The company’s success is largely due to our efforts. (這家公司能成功主要是靠我們的努力)

Largely 並無 enormously、greatly 或 significantly 等字「極其,非常,大大地,巨大地」的意思。例如:

  • The noise was greatly reduced. (噪音大大地降低了) (正)
    The noise was largely reduced. (誤)
  • Mary admired her professor enormously. (瑪麗對她的教授極為欽佩) (正)
    Mary admired her professor largely. (誤)

閱讀全文

-ish, -y

在非正式的上下文中或講話時,我們可以在一些字的後面加上 -ish 和 -y 這兩個字尾來故意「含糊其辭」,表示「大約,大概」的意思。-ish 通常加在數字、時間或數量的後面,例如:

  • A: How old do you think our manager is? (A:你認為我們經理幾歲?)
    B: Fortyish. Possibly younger. (B:四十歲左右。可能更年輕)
  • I’ll call you at sevenish and then we can discuss that matter. (我會在大概七點左右打電話給你,到時候我們可以討論那件事)

-ish 可以加到形容詞、副詞和介系詞後面。例如:

  • A: Is he tall, Amy’s new boyfriend? (A:他,艾美的新男友,個子高不高?)
    B: Well, tallish. (B:嗯,還算高)
  • A: Is it far from the shopping mall? (A:它離購物商場遠不遠?)
    B: No, but it’s near the MRT station, well, nearish to the MRT station. (B:不遠,但靠近捷運站,嗯,蠻靠近捷運站的)

必須注意的是,-ish 和 -y 通常不能互換。-ish 比 -y 來得常用,-y 大多跟顏色連用,但 black 和 white 除外,亦即不可將 -y 加到 black 或 white 的後面。例如:

  • What color tie do you think goes with this shirt? The blue one? Or should it be the greeny one? (你認為什麼顏色的領帶跟這件襯衫搭配呢?藍色的這條嗎?還是應該是略帶綠色的這一條呢?)

使用 abroad 時常見的錯誤

Abroad 與 go, live, study 等動詞連用時一定用作副詞,此時它意為「在國外;到國外」。例如:

  • We intend to go abroad at least once a year from now on. (我們打算從現在起一年至少出國一次) (正)
    We intend to go to abroad at least once a year from now on. (誤)
  • My brother is still living abroad. (我哥哥仍住在國外) (正)
    My brother is still living in abroad. (誤)
  • Blanche would like to study abroad. (布蘭琪想要出國留學) (正)
    Blanche would like to study in abroad. (誤)
  • We’re planning our first trip abroad/overseas. (我們正在規劃我們的首次出國旅遊) (正)
    We’re planning our first trip to abroad/overseas. (誤)

閱讀全文