Monday, April 26, 2010

Was given to jeans?

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL上的一篇文章:One Doctor's Lonely Quest To Heal Brain Injury
裏頭我有興趣的是這句:
During his time at Clark, Dr. Stein was given to jeans, long hair and shooting his mouth off in faculty meetings or challenging guest speakers, even eminent ones. "Eyebrows would go up whenever Don's hand would go up," recalls...
畫底線之後的部分我讀了好多遍,雖然後頭的意思比較好抓,但是到底什麼是"...was given to jeans, long hair"?本來按照之前的內容他在學校不大如意,那麼我就猜也許這是在說學校把他派給穿牛仔褲留長髮的學生,但是意思不是很合理。又讀了幾遍之後,覺得應該是在說他的"習性"--他當時是穿牛仔褲和留長髮的,只是我不記得"give"有這用法,所以上了Longman ONLINE查give,卻找不到這字義和這用法。後來繼續查其他的字義-->given (adj),天殺的,居然在這裡!
Longman ONLINE
given (adjective)
......
3 be given to (doing) something formal to tend to do something, especially something that you should not do:
- He was a quiet man, not usually given to complaining.

Friday, April 16, 2010

There is/are(?) a man and a woman in the room.

我在AUE上讀到的一串討論文。這類問題經常有人問,而我特別引出這串是因為有人寫了段「考試時如何回答」,而這正符合很多學生的胃口。有興趣的可 以點下面這個link來看:
is or are

"Sincerely" and "faithfully"

ncerely' used for people you've met?

Another one

整體上來說和我手頭書上的內容差不多:
"Practical English Usage" by M. Swan, 3rd edition

Monday, April 12, 2010

作文寫得好的撇步

http://news.chinatimes.com/domestic/0,5248,11050611x112010041300234,00.html(原新聞文章撤掉了)
....兩人異口同聲說,作文寫得好的撇步,還是多閱讀...
這講的雖然是中文作文,但是英文作文(以及英文口說)其實也是一樣的情況。以現在網誌流行的程度來看,我相信大家都已經有過「中文寫作」的經驗,然後你再注意「分析」看看你寫過的句子,你會發現你所使用的表達法其實都是別人/大家用過/都有在用的表達方式,你並沒有自己發明新的寫法。

英文寫作也是這樣子。當你想要用英文表達一件事情或是一個觀念,但是你在這之前根本沒有讀過類似的英文表達法,這時候你「硬擠出來」的英文往往是慘不忍睹。

所以,現在在練習英文寫作的人,在練習之餘也不要忘了多閱讀英文文章/書籍。我這裡提到的「文章」倒也不是非得是非常文謅謅,必須是得過獎或是流傳千古的文章才行。其實你只要想想你寫網誌時使用的中文文體/寫法你就知道你根本不需要寫成像是「出師表」那樣的文章才可以張貼出來,換句話說你不需要整天讀四書五經才有辦法寫出好文章。

想想你小學時候寫的作文是怎樣的情況,你可以從這類文章開始。(我只是說「開始」,我可沒說你不能看其它類的文章或是永遠都在停留在這階段。學會自己拿捏/調整學習情況就不用整天聽別人的)


後記:
當然在學習初期因為程度不足,你「靠中文(翻成英文)」這無可厚非,只是想要真正的能力提昇最好還是改掉「靠中文」的習慣。

能力培養起來之後呢?說真的,若你的英文程度夠了,你自然不需要看我這篇blog。你自己決定該如何做即可。不過我還是要稍微提一下。我曾看過一篇(英文)文章或是某本書,它內容提到作家最夢寐以求的是寫出一段從未有人寫過的敘述。換句話說這時候就真的是「憑空」寫出(某種程度上也算是種「捏造」)之前沒人說過的說法/寫法/表達法(*1)。但是這情況算是雙面刃,因為是自行「生」出的說法,所以最終還是要看其他人(特別是其他的作家以及讀者)是否能接受。廣受好評的話,那麼這當然不用另外多說,這作家達到他的目的了。一個典型例子是莎士比亞。另一情況當然就是不被接受、被批評,比如這個例子

(*1) 當然這憑藉的是他對自己語言的熟悉度

Saturday, April 10, 2010

自然發音法

我在(台灣的)中學時候學的是KK音標,所以我對於這十幾年在台灣媒體上「突然冒出來」的自然發音法這一術語名稱一開始不是很熟悉。這教法當然在更早之前就有,只是台灣在上世紀末「兒童美語」廣為盛行之前知道的人還不是很普遍(我是「不知道」的其中之一)。在好奇心之下前些年我在逛(美國這邊的)書局時有稍微到兒童區翻一下"Phonics"的教學書,偶而也在網上查查看這到底是什麼「碗糕」
(等我有空再繼續寫)


點下方"顯示....."


顯示我以前寫的舊文 <== click Here

Today is unsettled

      "'Today is unsettled.' Have you ever heard that?" Mr. K stood in the kitchen, looking out of the window at the sky, and asked me that while I was reading an article on my computer. He startled me a little and I couldn't quite take his words in, so I said "What?"
      Earlier he did say he had a lot of work to day today, so mentally I was deciphering his words as "I'm going to be very busy today," but I wasn't very sure. I sat in the family room, looking at him, and I guess I looked puzzled, so he then said, "It means 'It's cloudy.'" Now I was intrigued, so I asked him, "Where did you hear that from?"
      "My mom. She used to say that quite often when it's a weather like this," he said.
      "How about your father? Did he say that too?"
      "No."
      "So it's your mom then."
      I wanted to know if its his mom's idiolect or a set phrase, and before I asked it, he continued on, "Yeah. I don't know where she heard that from." I found this topic quite interesting, so I asked him further about this usage. "The weather is unsettled" is another way of saying it. Some further investigation:
http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/unsettled
http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/unsettled
I also looked out at the sky. Hum.... Windy, cloudy, still bright, some small patches of blue.... (like this:)
(More patches of blue just a few moments ago)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

formulaic subjunctive; "simple past" vs "present perfect"

"A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language" by Quirk et al
P.157
3.60 The formulaic subjunctive
Be it noted that .....
Be that as it may, we ....

-------------------------------------
Using Simple Past or Present Perfect in a question
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.usage.english/browse_thread/thread/2326763564ecba38#



Present perfect (its use in UK, younger people) (English Grammar in use, Cambridge University, Murphy)
http://www.englishforums.com/English/PresentPerfectTense/bcdqqc/post.htm

Friday, April 2, 2010

“that" 的省略(2) -- 及物動詞之後的名詞子句

<<我的一篇舊文>>
當附屬名詞子句的主詞緊接在主要子句的「及物動詞」之後時,如果這個主詞容易被誤認為是之前的及物動詞的直接受詞,這時不要省略that。

Example:
When a researcher discovers a new strain of the flu could threaten a large segment of the population, the ethics panel determines whether the public should be notified immediately.
這句在讀的時候,因為”... discovers ...” 是及物動詞,於是很自然的會把緊接在後面的名詞當成是這個動詞的受詞: “....discovers a new strain of the flu...”--- "....一個研究員發現了新品種的病毒...",但是當繼續讀到"could”時才會發現不對勁(接下來的內容也不需要拆解了,因為文法上不正確),然後(對英語人士來說)才會知道之前的名詞應該是"could threaten”的主詞,也就是( a new strain of the flu could threaten a large segment of the population)這整個名詞子句才是”... discovers ...”的受詞,然後意思上是"一個研究員發現了一件事”,什麼事呢?"一種新品種病毒可能會威脅到......”。這兩者的差別在於,一個是在講這研究員是發現這個新品種病毒的人,一個則是講這研究員發現此種病毒可能有很大的殺傷力,但是這新品種病毒是誰發現的就沒有清楚交代同時也不是重點。所以這時候讓意思清楚的改進方法就是不要省略that:

When a researcher discovers that a new strain of the flu could threaten a large segment of the population, the ethics panel determines whether the public should be notified immediately.

以下則是另外幾個例子。不應該省略的that特別標出來放在方括弧裡。
Mr. Green noticed [that] the kids he continued to bring to practice with him improved greatly.

But on board his flight to Los Angeles, he found [that] the promised seat-back TVs were missing, and the bottled water ran out halfway there.

當這種緊接在及物動詞後面的名詞子句有兩個或是三個以上時,要注意平行架構的使用。

以下的例子都是用同一句,然後比較有無that的差別。
主要子句(基本句型): I realized (‘this’) and (‘that’)
第一個附屬名詞子句(相當於 ‘this’): (I was going to be late for the meeting )
第二個附屬名詞子句(相當於 ‘that’): ( there was nothing I could do )

Faulty: I realized I was going to be late for the meeting and that there was nothing I could do.
(這句只有後頭的名詞子句有that)

Correct: I realized that I was going to be late for the meeting and that there was nothing I could do.
(兩者都有that)

Correct: I realized that I was going to be late for the meeting and there was nothing I could do.
這例子的話,因為前半部的名詞子句前頭有that,所以後頭的that可以省略掉。一個很簡單的理由(也是很普遍的用法)就是and後頭的子句沿用了前頭的that。

(Note)這篇的英文部份以及主要觀念/架構出自:
"The Writer's Digest: GRAMMAR DESK REFERENCE", Gary Lutz & Diane Stevenson.
Publisher: Writers Digest Books; Desk edition (June 15, 2005)
ISBN: 1582973350
中文部份除了翻譯之外,一些進一步的解說主要是用我自己的話寫出。中英文有矛盾的地方以英文原書內容為主。

Thursday, April 1, 2010

“that” 的省略(1)

<<我的一篇舊文>>
這裡專指的是that當連接詞使用時可以略掉的情況,尤其是在非正式的環境裡。
1. 非直接講述情況 (indirect speech):

1-a 在許多日常使用的描述性動詞之後的that在非正式情況下可以省略,比如say, think, suggest:

Jame said (that) he was feeling better.
I think (that) you should take this course.

這部份不難理解,因為是日常用法(所以是非正式),然後又因為常常在用不會搞混,所以不需要特別用that來區分不同的子句。

1-b 在 某些特定動詞之後的that 不能省略,例如reply, telegraph, shout:

James replied that he was feeling better.
(Not ... James replied he was ....)

She shouted that she was busy.
(Not ... She shouted she was ... )

另外一些補充。摘自 Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Usage:
這些動詞後頭較常省略that: believe, hope, say, think
和前者比較,這些較少省略that: assert, calculate, hold, intend

關於這部份,一些較少用到的動詞如果不確定要不要接that,一個較保險的作法是 -- 都加,不然就是靠查字典來確定。

1-c 另一個情況是接在名詞之後的that通常也不省略:

I do not believe his claim that he is ill.
(比.... his claim he is ill 自然)

He disagreed with Copernicus' view that the earth went round the sun.
(Not ... Copernicus' view the earth ...)

一個書上類似例子:
Amazingly Graced: A Prosecutor Journeys Through Faith, Murder and ... - Page 89
books.google.com/books?isbn=1606150294
Wes Lane - 2010 - Preview
I don't recall the date I received a phone call that the Attorney General would be filing charges against Lori.....

關於這部份,因為一串名詞下來很容易搞混,這時用that 就可以清楚隔開不同的子句


其它關於名詞子句的部份請看另一篇: “that”的省略(2)

2. 形容詞之後(after adjectives):
在日常普遍使用的說 法裡頭that可以省略:

I'm glad (that) you're all right.
It's funny (that) he hasn't written.
We were surprised (that) she came.

3. 連接詞(Conjunctions):
非正式的 場合裡,一些兩個字的連接詞裡的that可以省略,比如so that, such...that, now that, providing that, provided that, supposing that, considering that, assuming that.

4. 關係子句(Relative structures):
在關係子句裡,當關係代名詞that是受詞時可以省略,同樣的,也是特別是在非正式的 場合裏頭:

Look! These are the people (that) we met in Brighton.
Do it the way (that) I showed you.

=======
英文部份以及主要觀念/架構出自 Practical English Usage, Oxford, 2nd Edition, 1995, by Michael Swan
中文部份除了翻譯之外,一些進一步的解說主要是用我自己的話寫出。中英文有矛盾的地方以英文原書內容為主。


http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/that?s=t
Usage note

https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=that
Usage Note


下一篇: “that" 的省略(2) -- 及物動詞之後的名詞子句