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中進英翻譯系列講座(八)
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: February 6, 2015 – 1:35 pm

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各位網友好,從今天起,「天地無用」網站要分享一系列英文翻譯與寫作的專題文章。有心學習「高階」翻譯與英文寫作的網友必定可以從中學到版主寶貴的實務經驗與技巧,請大家廣為宣傳。

參考文章:中進英翻譯系列講座(七)

參考文章:中進英翻譯系列講座(九)

今天又要進入嶄新的課程。

第三章:與時間共舞

英文有不少描述時序的單字,若能確實掌握它們的使用方法,將可提升英文的寫作能力。

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一、when, while, as 的愛恨情仇
常見的英文單字 when, while, as有何差別?要解釋清楚這點,得花費一番口舌。

translation

as / when / while 本質上的差異:

◎ when表示「時間點」(a point in time) 和「一段相對較長的時間」(a comparatively long period of time)。

while 表示「一段時間」(a period of time),不表示「時間點」 (a point in time)。

as 表示「時間點」(a point in time)和「一段時間」(a comparatively long period of time),但這段時間內經常包含「事態的變化」。

** I was sleeping when my cell phone rang.
(當我手機響起時,我正在睡覺。)
** While I was sleeping, my cell phone rang.
(我還在睡覺的時候,我的手機響起。)
** As she grew older Mary gained in confidence.
(隨著年齡增長,瑪莉愈來愈有信心。)

translation
while 通常指連續的時間片段,乃是說話者提供的「背景敘述」 (a longer background action or situation)。既然用於說明背景, while 常跟「過去進行式」與 「過去式」搭配。

Tom fell asleep while (he was) doing his homework.
(湯姆做功課時睡著了。)

Some police officers came by while you were in the shower.
(你洗澡的時候,來了幾位警察。)

While they waited the taxi’s meter kept ticking away.
(當他們在等候時,計程車不停跳錶。)

translation
while說明兩種動作或狀態同時進行

While my girl friend was reading a novel, I was working.
(當我女朋友讀小說的時候,我在工作。)

While I was weeding the flower beds my wife was cleaning the house.
= While I weeded the flower beds my wife cleaned the house.
(我在除花壇裏的雜草時,我太太正在打掃房子。)
(註解)使用有持續性質的動詞時,可使用「過去進行式」或者「過去簡單式」。

There was a lot to do. While I cleaned the car, my wife was preparing lunch. She then did the ironing after lunch as I cleared away the dishes. – BBC World Service, Grammar, Vocabulary & Pronunciation
(事情多如牛毛。我在洗車時,我老婆在準備午餐。吃完午餐後,她去熨衣服,我去洗碗。)

這句話同時出現 while 與 as,代表它們偶爾可以互換。不過,如果說明的事情沒有變遷的意思,使用 while 會比較恰當。針對這點,BBC 的解說如下:
As a general rule, we tend to use while here rather than as, because as has many different meanings and uses. It could be confusing if as meaning while could be mistaken for as meaning because.

** As I was doing my homework, my mum prepared my supper. (As = because)
(當時因為我正在做功課,我母親便幫我準備晚餐。)

** As I was doing my homework, my mum prepared my supper. (As = while)
(當時我正在做功課,而我母親正幫我準備晚餐。)

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