Tuesday, 22 May 2012

So what's your occupation?


昨天我為補習社的某幾位學生批改功課時,看見以下的一條問題:

What is William Shakespeare's occupation? (其實問題應該是 "What was William Shakespeare's occupation?",因為莎士比亞已經去世;但無論如何,這並不是重點。)

所有學生都一致的回答: 

William Shakespeare's occupation is a playwright. 

到底問題出在哪裡呢?

問題是只有一個人才能是一位劇作家 (playwright),而職業本身並不能。所以答案應該改為: 

William Shakespeare's occupation was that of a playwright. (that of a playwright = the occupation of a playwright)

我們需要用 "that" 去代表 "occupation" 一字。

當然,最簡單直接的答法是: 

William Shakespeare was a playwright. 
William Shakespeare worked as a playwright. 

同樣地,假若你是一位售貨員,有人問你你的職業是什麼,你應該回答說:

I am a salesperson.
I work as a salesperson.
My occupation is that of a salesperson. 

而不是說:

My occupation is a salesperson.

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