英文寫作的正式文體

英文寫作經常採用正式文體。英文有多種不同的正式文體,所以文法和字彙的選擇至關重要。正式文體通常少用人稱代名詞,但多用名詞片語和被動態。文體越正式,越不帶感情、越去人稱化!

少用人稱代名詞

人稱代名詞被 it 或 there 的非人稱結構所取代。例如:

  • 一般文體:I suggest that you apologize to your teacher for coming to school late. (我建議你應該為上學遲到向老師致歉)
    正式文體:It is suggested that you make an apology to your teacher for coming to school late. (建議你應該為上學遲到向老師致歉) - 這句也使用名詞片語。
  • 一般文體:We would like to donate a large number of books to the library. (我們想把大量的書捐贈給圖書館)
    正式文體:There are a large number of books to donate to the library. (有大量的書要捐贈給圖書館)

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如何強調句中的元素(一)

英文使用下列結構和句型來強調句中的元素。

間接受詞與介詞片語

若要表示某人接受某物,我們可以使用典型的詞序:間接受詞 (indirect object) + 直接受詞 (direct object)。但若要強調接受者,則可使用介系詞片語來代替間接受詞。例如:

  • I gave my daughter an iPhone 7. (我送我女兒一支 iPhone 7 手機) - 典型的詞序:間接受詞 + 直接受詞。
  • I gave an iPhone 7 to my daughter. (我送一支 iPhone 7 手機給我女兒) - 非典型詞序:直接受詞 + 介詞片語。將介詞片語置於句末可對接受者 (間接受詞) 起強調作用。

在正式的上下文中,我們有時會將介詞片語置於句首以便強調直接受詞。例如:

  • For his wife, he bought a Mercedes Benz. (他買了一部賓士給他太太) - 這句係用來強調直接受詞 Mercedes Benz。

主動態與被動態

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Infect vs. infest

Infect 意為「(疾病、病菌) 傳染 (給人),感染;污染,使 (食物、空氣等) 遭到污染,散佈病毒於;(思想或情緒上) 感染或影響 (他人)」,如 Don’t come near me if you’ve got a cold. I don’t want to be infected. (如果你感冒了,那就不要靠近我。我不想被傳染);He was infected with HIV. (他感染了愛滋病毒);The flu virus infected almost the entire class. (全班幾乎都感染了流感病毒);The food was infected with unspecified viruses. (食物受到不明病毒的污染);An unspecified kind of virus infects word-processing files. (一種不明的病毒感染文書處理檔案);Amy infected the whole class with her optimism. (艾美的樂觀感染了全班)。

Infest 意為「(有害的、危險的、討厭的人、動物、昆蟲等) 大批出沒於,侵擾,騷擾 (某地)」,如 The entire house was infested with mice. / Mice infested the entire house. (整棟房子鼠滿為患);The mountains were infested with robbers. (山裡有大批盜賊出沒);Mosquitoes infested many places. (蚊子侵擾許多地方)。由 infest 衍生而來的 -infested 與名詞連用來構成形容詞,意為「大批出沒的,大量滋生的,侵擾的」,如 shark-infested waters (大批鯊魚出沒的水域);a crime-infested city (犯罪充斥的城市)。

從上面的例句可知,這兩個及物動詞常用被動態且與介系詞 with 連用。它們的名詞分別為 infection 和 infestation,前者意為「感染,傳染;傳染病」,後者意為「大批出沒,侵擾,騷擾」。

Catfish

Catfish 原意為「鯰魚;土虱」,但在 Facebook 等社群媒體以及其他交友網站和聊天室大行其道、甚至在近年來交友應用程式 (dating app) 被廣泛使用之後,這個字現在有了全新的意思,且可當名詞和動詞用。

Catfish 的新義是指在網路上以假名和假身份來騙取異性網友進行網交的人,但這些人的身份被拆穿後,頂多只是讓已經為他們或她們付出感情的網友傷心難過一陣子而已,與對異性網友進行騙財、騙色或兼而有之的「男蟲」或「女蟲」並不完全一樣,不可等量齊觀。Catfish 亦可當動詞用,意為「以假名和假身份來騙取異性網友進行網交」,通常用於被動態。

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Q:在英文報紙上看到 Winter is come! 這樣的句子。我想這個句子應該是對的,不然他們不會這麼寫。不過,我還是不懂,為什麼一個句子中可以把兩個動詞放在一起呢? 不是要寫成 Winter is coming. 嗎?

A:無論是 Winter is come. 還是 Winter is coming.,都是正確的句子,但意思不同。首先來看 Winter is coming.,其意為「冬天即將來臨」,這是用現在進行式來表示不久即將發生的事情。至於 Winter is come.,句中的 come 是過去分詞,當主詞補語,而不是現在式 (come 的動詞三態是:come, came, come),所以這句的意思是「冬天已來臨」或「冬天來了」。

有一個文法觀念必須建立,那就是:不管及物或是不及物動詞,它們的過去分詞都可以作形容詞用,當主詞補語。由於不及物動詞不能有被動態,所以就不及物動詞而言,「BE + P.P.」就相當於「have + P.P.」的主動完成式結構,意為「已經…」;至於及物動詞,由於「BE + P.P.」就是被動態,所以它相當於「have + been + P.P.」的被動完成式結構,意為「已經被…」。請看下面的例句:

  • Winter is come. (冬天來了)
    = Winter has come.
  • You can watch TV when your homework is completed. (作業做完後,你可以看電視)
    = You can watch TV when your homework has been completed.

Q:The criminal possessed three guns. 為何不能改成被動態的 Three guns were possessed by the criminal. 呢?

A:大家都知道,英文的被動語態是由 BE + 及物動詞的過去分詞所構成,換言之,不及物動詞是沒有被動態的。因此,有人便以為所有及物動詞都可用於被動態。其實不然,有些及物動詞並沒有相應的被動態。問題中的 possess 就是這樣一個沒有相應被動態的及物動詞。茲將一些比較常見的沒有被動態的及物動詞臚列如下,供大家參考。

1. 意為「擁有」、「容納」、「缺少」、「由… 組成,構成」的及物動詞,如 possess, hold, lack, comprise 等,不能用於被動態。例如:

  • Bill Gates possesses great wealth. (比爾蓋茲擁有大量財富)
    Great wealth is possessed by Bill Gates. (誤 — 因為 possess 不能用於被動態。以下錯誤的句子亦適用這項說明)
  • The cinema holds about 500. (這家電影院能容納約 500 人)
    About 500 are held by the cinema. (誤)
  • Mr. Wang usually lacks confidence. (王先生經常缺乏信心)
    Confidence is usually lacked by Mr. Wang. (誤)
  • The country comprises 26 provinces. (這國家有 26 個省/這國家由 26 個省所組成)
    Twenty-six provinces are comprised by the country. (誤)

2. 意為「適合」的及物動詞,如 become, fit, suit 等,不能用於被動態。例如:

  • This sort of behavior hardly becomes a person in your position. (這種行為與一個有你這樣地位的人簡直不相稱)
    A person in your position is hardly become by this sort of behavior. (誤)
  • That color really suits her. (那種顏色跟她真的很相配)
    She is really suited by that color. (誤)
  • This dress fits me very well. (這件衣服非常合我的身)
    I am fitted very well by this dress. (誤)

3. 意為「意味,意思是;相似,相像」的及物動詞,如 mean, resemble 等,不能用於被動態。例如:

  • The red light means “Stop”. (紅燈意味「停」)
    “Stop” is meant by the red light. (誤)
  • She resembles her sister in appearance but not in character. (她的外表像她姊姊,但個性不像)
    Her sister is resembled by her in appearance but not in character. (誤)

4. 意為「明白,理解,領會」的及物動詞,如 catch, get, take 等,不能用於被動態。例如:

  • I didn’t quite catch your last point. (我不太明白你說的最後一點)
    Your last point wasn’t quite caught by me. (誤)
  • She took me wrong. (她誤解了我的意思)
    I was taken wrong by her. (錯誤)

5. 意為「有、吃、接受、度過、經歷」等的及物動詞 have,不能用於被動態。例如:

  • I have three sons and two daughters. (我有三兒二女)
    Three sons and two daughters are had by me. (誤)
  • I have already had dinner. (我已吃過晚餐)
    Dinner has already been had by me. (誤)
  • We will have a good Spring Festival. (我們將會過一個愉快的春節)
    A good Spring Festival will be had by us. (誤)

6. 意為「維持,夠用」的及物動詞 last,不能用於被動態。例如:

  • This food will only last them three days. (這些食物只夠他們吃三天)
    They will only be lasted three days by this food. (誤)
  • This dress has lasted me three years. (這件衣服我已穿了三年)
    I have been lasted three years by this dress. (誤)

7. 意為「價值,花費」的及物動詞 cost,不能用於被動態。例如:

  • The house cost me a lot of money. (這棟房子花了我很多錢)
    I was cost a lot of money by the house. (誤)

8. 意為「(不幸事件) 發生於,降臨在」的及物動詞 befall,不能用於被動態。例如:

  • Some misfortune must have befallen them. (某種災禍必定已降臨在他們頭上)
    They must have been befallen by some misfortune. (誤)

Replace, substitute (vv.)

Replace 意為「取代,代替;更換,替換」,而 substitute 意為「取代;代替」,但這兩者並非同義詞,因為它們的用法並不相同。replace 僅當及物動詞用,而 substitute 則可當及物和不及物動詞,如 He’ll have to replace those tires; they’re badly worn. (他必須更換那些輪胎;它們磨損得太厲害了);George has replaced John as captain of the team. (喬治接替約翰當了隊長);Susan is ill and Laura is to substitute her. (蘇珊病了,羅拉將代替她);George has substituted as captain of the team. (喬治代任隊長)。

這兩個動詞最大的差異在於其後所接的介系詞,replace 後面可接 with 或 by (尤其是在被動態中),而 substitute 都是接 for,如 We’ve replaced old calculators with/by computers. (我們已用電腦取代了舊式的計算機);Her photograph was replaced by his painting. (她的照片被他的畫取代了);Home-made parts are being substituted for imported ones. (國產零件取代進口零件)。

必須注意的是,許多人搞不清楚這兩個字在上下文中的替代關係:to replace A with/by B 意為「用 B 來替換 A」,亦即 A 被 B 所取代,而 to substitute A for B (or A be substituted for B) 意為「用 A 來替換 B」,亦即 B 被 A 所取代。例如:

I replaced her photograph with/by his painting. (我用他的畫代替她的照片)。
= I substituted his painting for her photograph.
= Her photograph was replaced by his painting.
= His painting replaced her photograph.
= His painting was substituted for her photograph.

儘管目前 substitute 被用來代替 replace 的情況有越來越多的趨勢,但謹慎的人士仍堅守並維持它們之間的不同。

Q:我想要知道 be to 的用法,如 I’m to sleep on the sofa tonight. (今晚我將睡沙發)。

A:be to 是一種未來式。這種句型相當、相當常用,但它們所表示的意義不盡相同,因此有必要加以徹底瞭解,俾掌握其應用的精髓。「be to + 不定詞」在實際的應用上有下列幾項主要意思,而每項意思都很常見:

1. 表示正式的計畫或安排。

  • The Prime Minister is to make a state visit to Haiti next week. (總理下週將到海地進行國是訪問)
  • We are to receive a pay raise in line with inflation in September. (我們將在9月加薪以因應通貨膨脹)

2. 表示不久的將來幾乎肯定會發生的事件 — 通常用在報紙、電視和電台的新聞報導中。

  • A man is to appear in court later this morning charged with the murder of his father, mother, and wife. (一名被控殺害自己父母親和老婆的男子今天上午稍後將出庭應訊)
  • Work is to begin this week on the new bridge across the Nile. (尼羅河的新跨河大橋將在本週動工興建)

3. 表示別人給我們的正式指示,父母親或其他長輩給小孩的指示,或各種不同的指示、通知和公告。

在這項用法中,經常會出現否定的型態,即 be not to,這種否定型態都是表示「不許,不准,不可」(be not allowed to 或 be not permitted to) 的意思,相當於 mustn’t,但它所表示的「不許,不准,不可」是別人對我們所施加的「不許,不准,不可」。至於在肯定句中,be to 具有 have to (必須) 的意思。

  • You are not to leave the school until your parents arrive to collect you. (在你父母親來接你之前,你不可離開學校)
  • We’re not to smoke in the office. (我們不准在辦公室抽菸)
  • I’m to clean up my room before I’m allowed to go out. (我必須清掃房間後才可外出)
  • We are to look after our neighbors’ dog while they are away. (我們必須在鄰居不在時照顧他們的狗兒)

在給予指示時,我們常常會見到「be to + 被動態不定詞 (be + P.P.)」的用法;藥瓶上的用藥指示以及其他正式公告都是使用這樣的句型:

  • (The medicine is) To be taken three times a day after meals. (每天三餐飯後服用)
  • No food of any kind is to be taken into the examination room. (不准攜帶任何食物進入考場)

4. be to 亦經常用在條件句中來談論某種先決條件 (precondition)。

  • If we are to catch that train, we shall have to leave now. (如果我們要趕上那班火車,我們必須馬上動身)
  • If we are to solve the world’s pollution problems, we must address environmental issues now. (如果我們要解決世界污染問題,我們現在必須解決環保問題)

5. be to 後面亦可使用完成式不定詞 (have + P.P.) 來表示過去計畫好或安排好的事情沒有實現或發生 — 所以這裡的 BE 動詞只能用 was/were。這相當於在口語上用得比較多的 was/were supposed to。

  • I was to have gone on holiday with Miss Lin, but she couldn’t get time off work. (我原本要和林小姐去度假,但她無法請假)
    = I was supposed to go on holiday with Miss Lin, but she couldn’t get time off work.

Born, borne (past participle, adj.)

Bear 是個相當常用的動詞,主要意為「忍受,忍耐,容忍 (通常用於否定或疑問句);帶有,具有,印有,寫有,刻有;運送,攜帶;(對某人) 懷有 (某種感受,如懷恨);生 (孩子)」。bear 的過去式為 bore,過去分詞為 borne,但作「生,生育」(to give birth) 之意時,它的過去分詞則有兩種型態:born 和 borne。

當 bear 意為「生,生育」時,born 都用在沒有 by 的被動態且當分詞形容詞用,如 He was born in Japan. (他在日本出生);The twins were born on February 15, 1969. (這對雙胞胎生於 1969 年 2 月 15 日);The baby was born to a very young woman. (這嬰兒是一位年紀非常輕的女子所生);Amy was born into a large/wealthy family. (艾美出生於一個大家庭/富裕家庭) — 請注意上面四個例句中介系詞 (in, on, to 和 into) 的用法。當形容詞用的 born 除了「出生的,誕生的」意思外,還意為「天生的,生來就有的,有天才的,命中注定的」,如 She was considered a born movie star. (她被視為天生的電影明星);He is a born leader/writer. (他是天生領袖/天才作家);She was born to succeed. (她命中注定會成功的)。注意:當 born 意為「出生的」時,be born to 後接名詞或名詞片語 (to 為介系詞),而當 born 意為「命中注定的」時,be born to 後接原形動詞 (to 為不定詞)。

當 bear 意為「生,生育」時,borne 僅當過去分詞用,主詞都是 mother, woman 或 she,如 The woman has borne three sons. (這位女人已生了三個兒子),She had borne six children. (她生過六個小孩),而且只能用於主動態,換言之,上面的例句 The baby was born to a very young woman. 不可寫成 The baby was borne to a very young woman.。

如上所述,在 bear 的其他意思上,不管動詞是主動還是被動,它的過去分詞恆為 borne,如 He has borne a grudge for many years. (他已懷恨多年);They had borne enough pain. (他們已忍受了過多的痛苦);The prisoner’s story was borne out by his wife. (那囚犯的供述為他的妻子所證實);The following points should be borne in mind. (下列要點要記住)。to bear out 和 bear in mind 都是常用的片語,前者意為「證實,為…作證,支持 (某種說法)」,後者意為「記住;考慮」。事實上,borne 亦可當形容詞用,但僅用在 “be borne in on/upon somebody” 這片語以及與名詞連用所構成的形容詞中,前者意為「為某人所意識到;為某人所瞭解」,後者意為「由…所攜帶的;由…所傳播的」:Slowly it was borne in on the citizens that the enemy had surrounded them. (市民漸漸意識到敵人已經包圍了他們);Some plants have windborne seeds. (有些植物靠風傳播種子);Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease. (瘧疾是由蚊子傳播的疾病);airborne pollution (空氣傳播的污染);airborne supply (空中補給);airborne troops ( 空降部隊)。

拼字錯誤的情況經常發生,尤其是當 bear 意為「生,生育」而用法是被動態或形容詞時,born 往往被誤寫成 borne。

Comprise, compose, consist, constitute, include (vv.)

Comprise 意為「由…組成,由…構成;組成,構成」,compose 意為「組成,構成」,consist of 意為「由…組成,由…構成」,constitute 意為「組成,構成」,而 include 意為「 包含,包括」。從這些動詞的意思來看,若要表示一個整體是由數個個體或項目所組成時,我們可用 comprise 或 consist of;若要表示數個個體或項目組成一個整體時,我們可用 comprise, compose 或 constitute,但 compose 經常用於被動態,而以 be composed of 的型式出現,意思和用法跟 consist of 完全一樣。例如:The United Kingdom consists of/is composed of/comprises England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. (聯合王國是由英格蘭、威爾斯、蘇格蘭和北愛爾蘭所構成);England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland comprise/constitute the United Kingdom. (英格蘭、威爾斯、蘇格蘭和北愛爾蘭組成了聯合王國)。

在這幾個字當中,僅 comprise 兼具其他字的意思,但它也是最麻煩、最讓人困擾的字。英語評論人士強烈反對 comprise 被用作 constitute 的意思以及 comprise 以被動態形式 be comprised of 來表示 consist of 的意思,所以對於 Fifty states comprise the United States. (五十個州組成了美國) 和 The United States is comprised of fifty states. (美國是由五十個州所組成) 這樣的句子結構,他們期期以為不可,而堅持只有 The United States comprises fifty states. 才是唯一正確的用法。但他們反對的這兩種用法其實早已是不折不扣的標準英語,一些新版的字典甚至將 be comprised of 堂而皇之地列為片語,如 The course is comprised of ten core modules. (這門課是由 10 個核心單元組成)。然而,在公說公有理,婆說婆有理,各有堅持的情況下,在此建議:若使用 comprise 會讓你覺得心虛或沒把握,那麼不妨使用它的同義詞,也就是沒有爭議的 constitute, consist of 或 be composed of 來代替之。

另一個要注意的重點是:在使用 include 這個字時不能將其所包含的個體或項目全部列出。譬如說,一支棒球隊是由 9 名球員所組成,所以 It includes a pitcher, a catcher, and four infielders. (它包含一名投手、一名捕手和四名內野手) — 不可將 9 名球員全部列出。當然,我們也可以這樣寫 It is composed of these, plus three outfielders.;The team comprises these nine players;they compose the team.。最後,順便一提的是,除了 consist of, be composed of 及被一些人認為錯誤的 be comprised of 外,我們亦可使用 be made up of 來表達相同的意思,如 The house is made up of three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. (這房子是由三個臥室,一個客廳,一個廚房和一個浴室所構成)。