Sunday, 31 July 2011

Try doing something 和 Try to do something 有分別嗎?



兩者的意思並不相同。

Try doing something 的意思是:嘗試做一件事,看看會有什麼結果。 

譬如說: 

Try adding salt to the solution and see what happens. (試把鹽加入溶液中,看看會有什麼結果。) 

Try swallowing this worm! (把這條虫吞下試試看!)


Peter's not here.  Try phoning his mobile number. (Peter 不在這裡。打他的手提電話號碼試試看吧。) 

Try eating more fruit. (試試多吃水果-看看會否改善身體。)

Try to do something 的意思是: 建議去做一件事。(i.e. make an effort to do something) 

Examples: 

Try to eat more fruit. (盡量多吃水果。) 
Try to sleep earlier. (盡量早點睡覺。)


如果你想勸人家努力一點,你應該說 try to work harder,而不是說 try working harder 。

Monday, 25 July 2011

Peter and Ann's cats 和 Peter's and Ann's cats 有分別嗎?


在香港教了一年多英文,發現了很多中小學生們經常犯錯誤的地方。我希望用未來的幾年時間,把這些普遍犯的錯誤在這裡跟大家分享。

究竟 Peter and Ann's cats 和 Peter's and Ann's cats 有分別嗎?

答案是有分別的。

如果那些貓是 Peter 和 Ann 共同擁有的,我們應該說 Peter and Ann's cats。留意 apostrophe 在 Peter and Ann 之後。(e.g. These are Peter and Ann's cats.)

如果 Peter 和 Ann 各自擁有自己的貓,我們會說 Peter's and Ann's cats。(e.g. These are Peter's and Ann's cats.)


參考以下例子:

Tom, Dick, and Harry's toys are all kept in this box. (玩具屬於 Tom, Dick, Harry 三人共同擁有。) 

Tom's, Dick's, and Harry's toys are all kept in this box. (Tom, Dick, 和 Harry 各自擁有自己的玩具。) 

John and Mary's son is a university student. (句子中的 "son" 是 John 和 Mary 的兒子。) 

John's and Mary's sons are university students. ("John's and Mary's sons" 表達出 John 和 Mary 不是夫妻。)

Sunday, 24 July 2011

如何用 It is time ?


我的補習學生常常對 It is time 的用法不太清楚。讓我在這裡簡單的解釋一下。

我們用 It is time 來表達: 現在是時候做某事了。 

先講句子結構。

1) It is time + infinitive:
It's time to start the race. (現在是時候開始比賽了。)
It is time to take a break. (現在是時候休息一會兒了。)

2) It is time + for + object + infinitive:
It's time for us to start the journey. (現在是時候讓我們開始旅程了。)
It's time for you to go. (你現在是時候去了。)

3) It is time + for + noun:
It's time for breakfast. (現在是時候吃早餐了。)
It's time for a break. (現在是時候休息一會兒了。)

4) It is time + subject + past subjunctive:
It's time we went home. 
It is time he came here.
It is time the police took action.
It's time you made up your mind.

請留意,以上4種表達方法意思上不盡相同。

1-3表達的是做某事的時間到了。

而4不單表達做某事的時候到了,更暗示現在才做某事已經有點晚了 (It implies that it's a little late)。要更強調這個意思,可以說 It is high time (現在是非常適當的時候): 

It's high time the government did something to address the issue of wealth inequality in Hong Kong. 

It is high time you stopped being foolish!

除了 it is time 和 it is high time,我們還可以說 it is about time(現在是差不多的時候):

It's about time you started doing this on your own.
It's about time to leave.
It's about time we went home.
It's about time for you to get going.
It's about time the rich did something to help the poor.

留意以上第4類 (past subjunctive),我們用過去式動詞 (simple past) 來說現在應該做卻還沒有做的事情,那過去式動詞不是真正的過去式(雖然寫法一樣),乃是帶有假設意思的過去式,叫做 unreal past 或是 past subjunctive