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英文假設語態閒談(一)
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: October 16, 2012 – 3:57 pm

英語有「假設」的動詞形式,用來說明某件事為「虛擬想法」而非「事件或事實」。說明實際事件或動作的動詞形式稱為「陳述式」。假設語氣是中英文之間頗為詭弔的差異,即使句子沒有出現 if 或 without 來表達假設語氣,後面相應的句子也應該視情況使用假設語氣。

版主今天閱讀《聯合報》時看到一個實例,在此分享給各位網友:

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As long as kids get weekends off, so will you. You’ll never take your work home with you. In fact, it would be illegal.

只要孩子週末休假,你也可以跟著放假。你永遠不必把工作帶回家。其實,那是違法的。

(學校徵校車司機的廣告)

translation

版主把最後一句沒有完全說出來的話講完:其實,(你若是把工作帶回家),那是違法的。然而,前面已經說過,you’ll never take your work home with you (你永遠不必把工作帶回家),後面的句子是非事實的假設,因此要寫成 it would be illegal

版主希望有心學好英文的網友不要疏忽這一點,寫出來的英文才會趨近於老美寫的東西喔!

translation

隨手檢閱一篇英語論說文都可以看到假設的句子,如下例:

My point is that language must take into consideration the user, and since there would be no need for Romanization without a foreign community unable to understand Chinese characters, perhaps it would be a good idea to consult the foreign community.

◎ there would be no need:這是假設用法,因為後面用了假設 (without a foreign community)。
◎ it would be a good idea:這是客氣的語氣,屬於 “Distancing” 用法,跟假設毫無關係 。

translation

電視影集也常見假設語氣,下面是 “Sex and the City” 《慾望城市》第四季第十八集的一段節錄:

Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate.

Without them, what would shape our lives?
(如果不犯錯,那改變我們生命的又是什麼?)

Perhaps, if we never veered off course… we wouldn’t fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are.
(也許,如果我們不曾走錯路,我們就不會談戀愛、生小孩,或者變成為眼下的樣子。)

After all, seasons change.

So do cities.

People come into your life and people go.

But it’s comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart…and, if you’re very Lucky…a plane ride away.

translation

商業口號也常見假設語氣用法:

Waffle House

Thanks for great 55 years. We couldn’t have done it without you.

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