Wednesday, 2 May 2012

為什麼 "he need not work" 中的 "need" 不用加 "s"?


上星期某學生問我,為什麼 "he need not work" 中的 "need" 不用加 "s"?在 "he" 後的 "need" 不是應該用上第三身單數形式的 "needs" 嗎?

首先,"he need not work" 相當於 "he does not need to work"。

"Need" 這個字有一個特色,就是它除了可以作普通動詞外,也可以作一個助動詞 (auxiliary verb),如 "can","must","should" 等等。

"Need" 作普通動詞時,我們要在它後面用 "to" 去帶出另一個動詞:

He does not need to work.
He needs to work. 

"Need" 作 auxiliary verb 時,我們不用 "to",直接帶出另一個動詞。但我們必須留意,這用法只限於否定句 (negative statement) 或疑問句 (interrogative statement)

He need not work. (否定句;相當於 He doesn't need to work.) 
Need he work? (疑問句;相當於 Does he need to work?)

因此,我們不能把「他需要幹活」寫成 "he need work",我們只能寫 "he needs to work"。

現在你知道 "He need not work" 中的 "need" 是扮演著一個 auxiliary verb 的角色;正如 "he should not work" 不能寫成 "he shoulds not work","he must not work" 不能寫成 "he musts not work","he need not work" 也不能寫成 "he needs not work"。只有當 "need" 作為一個普通動詞時,我們才會在第三身單數時替 "need" 加上 "s"。

假如我們想說「她不用懷疑他的才能」,我們可以把它翻譯為: 

She doesn't need to question his ability. ("need" 作為普通動詞) 
She need not question his ability. ("need" 作為助動詞)

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