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英文專題討論:When, While, As 三者有何差別?(實戰篇:When)
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: April 18, 2009 – 2:53 pm

常見的英文單字 “When, While, As” 三者有何差別?要解釋清楚這點,得花費一番口舌。本篇 (實戰篇:When) 是版主根據顏斯華先生的文法書整理出來的重點,網友如有疑問,請不吝賜教。

以下舉例說明 “When” 所引導的「時間觀念」:

◎ “When” 的用法
when (at or during the time that…) = 大多指時間的某ㄧ個點,這種時間點可以是「真實的時間點」,也可以是說話者「心理認知上的時間點 (即便進行的動作或狀態會持續一段時間)」。

 

a. 說明情況、狀態或習慣
It was raining when we arrived.
(我們當時抵達時,天空正下著雨) – 說明抵達當下的情況

When he saw her run into the field, he secretly followed
(當他看到她跑進田裡,便立即秘密尾隨。) – 說明看到當下立即的反應

**提到年齡或生命中的ㄧ段歷程時,通常會用 “when” 來開頭**
His parents died when he was twelve.
(他十二歲時父母便雙亡。)
When I was a student I used to complain a lot. Actually, I spent most of my time complaining and anticipating my graduation.
(我還是個學生的時候,經常怪東怪西。老實說,我大多數的時候都在抱怨,一直巴望著趕快畢業。)

We went to Disneyland a couple of times when my father worked in Los Angeles.
(我父親在洛杉磯工作時 (狀態),我們去過幾次迪士尼樂園 (重複事件)。)
(比較) We went to Disneyland when my father worked in Los Angeles. – 這句話不妥,因為事件與背景不對稱,背景太長但事件太短。

When visiting Taipei I like to travel by bus.
(我遊覽台北時喜歡搭公車) – 目前習慣 ( “When” is in the sense of whenever)
這句話意思類似於下面兩句:
Every time I visit Taipei, I like to travel by bus.
(我每次遊覽台北時都喜歡搭公車) 
I travel by bus every time I visit Taipei.
(每次遊覽台北時我都搭公車) – 單純描述事實

When it rains, I take a taxi to work.
(下雨時我會搭計程車上班。) – 目前習慣
(比較)
I usually took a taxi to work when it rained.
(下雨時我通常會搭計程車上班。) – 過去習慣
(版主解說) 這句話若寫成 “I took a taxi to work when it rained”,就只能表示單一事件。此外,句子如果是獨立的,建議加入過去的時間點。

The telephone always rings when you are having a bath.
(每次在泡澡時總會聽到電話鈴響。) – 目前狀態 ( “When” is in the sense of whenever)

 

b. 兩個緊接的「過去簡單式」動作
如果兩個「非持續性動詞」的「過去簡單式」利用 “when” 連接,表示這是「緊接發生的兩個(短暫)動作」。

When I opened the door this morning, I found a guy lying on the street in front of my house.
(我今早開門的時候,發現有個人躺在我家前面的街道上。)
//「開門」在先,「發現」緊接在後。

When he passed by the main entrance, he saw a policeman standing in front of it.
(他經過大門時,看到有個警察站在門前。)
//「經過」在先,「看見」緊接在後。

When I asked her how she was feeling today, she gave me a faint smile.
(當我問她今天覺得如何時,她只是對我淡淡的一笑。)
//「詢問」在先,「微笑」緊接在後。

(不妥的例句)
When I sat down at my desk to do my homework, my brother rushed in with a model plane in his hand. 
(我坐下來做功課時,弟弟手持著模型飛機衝進來。)
(版主說明) 上述的兩個「非持續性動詞」並無任何「因果」關係,當作兩個連續的動作並不恰當。
(修正1)
I was about to sit down at my desk to do my homework when my brother rushed in with a model plane in his hand.
When I was about to sit down at my desk to do my homework, my brother rushed in with a model plane in his hand.
(我正要在書桌前坐下以便做功課時,弟弟手持著模型飛機衝進來了。)
// be about to – 補足「緊接」的語氣或訊息。

(修正2)
I had just sat down at my desk trying to do my homework when my brother rushed in with a model plane in his hand.
(我才剛在書桌前坐好並準備做功課時,弟弟就手持模型飛機衝進來了。)
//過去簡單式與過去完成式併用,請參看下面 (c.) 的說明。

(修正3)
I was sitting at my desk doing my homework when my brother rushed in with a model plane in his hand. 
While I was sitting at my desk doing my homework, my brother rushed in with a model plane in his hand.
(我正坐在書桌前做功課時,弟弟手持著模型飛機衝進來了。)
//同時發生的事情 – 背景 (過去進行式) 搭配前景 (過去簡單式)。

 

c.  過去簡單式與過去完成式併用
She went to bed when she had closed all the doors, locked them up, and checked every window was properly latched.
(她關好所有的門並上鎖,並且檢查過每一處窗戶都栓好之後,她才上床睡覺。)
= Shen went to bed after she (had) closed all the doors, locked them up, and checked every window was properly latched.
( “after” 之後的完成式可簡化成簡單式,這是人性使然。)

She had already passed Hsinchu when it suddenly came to her that she had forgotten to give John the key. 
(她已經經過新竹時才突然想起,她忘了把 鑰匙交給約翰。)

When  I had already cleaned up the kitchen he came back with the mop I asked him to buy.
I had already cleaned up the kitchen when he came back with the mop I asked him to buy.
(我已經把廚房清理乾淨之後,他才帶著我要他買的拖把回來。)

 

d. 同時發生的事情-背景與前景
背景 – 過去進行式
前景 – 過去簡單式

I was walking down the 57th street this morning when I heard the shrieking siren of a police car.
= I heard the shrieking siren of a police car while/as I was walking down the 57th street this morning.
= I was walking down the 57th street this morning. Suddenly, I heard the shrieking siren of a police car.
(今早我正走在五十七街上時,(突然) 聽到警車尖銳的叫聲。)

While he was sitting down, some one pulled away the chair behind him.
(他正要坐下時,有人把他下面的椅子拉走。)
(版主說明) “sit down” 相對於 “pull away” 還是持續比較長的動作,所以用過去進行式。如果覺得不妥,可將句子改成:
Just as (As/ Just when/ When) he was about to sit down, some one pulled away the chair behind him.
(他正要坐下時,有人把他下面的椅子拉走。)

**前景與背景「不成比例」的情況**
When we lived in Taipei we went to concert. (??!!)
(修正) We went to concert once during the time when we lived in Taipei.
(我們住在台北的時候,曾經聽過一次音樂會。)
 
While she was working hard in the kitchen, her husband was sitting down in front of the TV set. (??!!)
(修正) While she was working hard in the kitchen, her husband was sitting  comfortably in front of the TV.
(她在廚房忙得不可開交的時候,她老公正舒服地在電視機前(看電視)。)

 

e. 說明兩項短時間的動作或事件同時發生
“just when” = “when” = “just as” = “as”

Just when (Just as) he seized the knife, he heard the shot of a gun.
(他剛抓住刀子,就聽到一聲槍響。)

I knew you were going to tell me the news just when you came in.
(你一進來我就知道你要告訴我這個消息。)

 

f. when 表示「到那時…」來補充資訊
這種用法屬於「關係代名詞的補述用法」,前面要有一個「時間」作為「先行詞」,”when” 的附屬子句利用逗號與主要子句隔開。在這種從屬子句中,可以用現在式代替未來式。

I prefer putting off the decision to next month, when the situation will be (is) clearer.
(我比較贊成等到下個月再做決定,到那時狀況會比較明朗。)

Come visit us next weekend, when I shall be/am back from Kaoshiung.
(下週末來找我們吧,到那時我會已從高雄回來。)

Twenty years ago, when I was just a young man, Chopin’s piano pieces would move me to tears. Now, as I am approaching middle age, it’s Bach’s music that touches me most profoundly.
(二十年前當我還只是個年輕人時,蕭邦的鋼瑟曲會使我感動得流淚。如今我已逐漸步入中年,最使我深心感動的則是巴哈的音樂。)
(版主講解) Chopin’s piano pieces would move to tears. => 使用 “would” 來說明過去的習慣。 

(錯誤解說)
“When” 引導的附屬子句之前必須有一個「時間」以做為其「先行詞」,不過這一「時間」必須有「日期」、「場合」或者「年代」意義的「時間」,而非衡量耗時長短的「時間量」,以下是補教名師所寫的例句,令人不知所云:

I drove along the river for about an hour, when (??!!) I saw a beautiful mountain on the right. 
(修正)
I had driven along the river for about an hour when I saw a beautiful mountain on the right.
(當我看到右邊有一座美麗的山峰時,我已經沿著河岸開了大約一個鐘頭。) – 過去簡單式與過去完成式併用

I drove along the river for about an hour, then I saw a beautiful mountain on the right.
(我沿著河岸開了大約一個鐘頭,然後看到右邊有一座美麗的山峰。)

I was driving along the river when I saw a beautiful mountain on the right.
While I was driving along the river I saw a beautiful mountain on the right.
I was driving along the river and; suddenly, I saw a beautiful mountain on the right.
(我(當時)正沿著河岸開車,突然看到右邊有一座美麗的山峰。)

 

g. when 用來作為「對比」
when 所接的附屬子句與主要子句的「意思」走向「相反」或「不同」,讓聽者感到「意外」。這種陳述通常與時間無關,請多加體會中文譯文。
He was about to leave when the telephone rang.
= He was just leaving when the phone rang.
(他正要出門時,電話鈴響了。)

We had not yet moved one third of the pile when John said he wanted to quit.
(我們都還沒搬完這堆東西的三分之一,約翰就說他不幹了。)

You said you were going out camping when you mother needed your help.
(你媽需要你幫忙的時候,你竟然說要出去露營。)

You said that you wanted to emigrate to Brazil. But how can you survive in that country when you can’t speak even the simplest Portuguese?
(你說你要移民到巴西。可是你連最簡單的葡萄牙文都不會講,你哪能在那裏生存?)

You describe him as contemptible, when in fact he is respected by many of the country’s citizens.
(你說他很可恥,不過這個國家許多公民卻十分敬重他。)

You are rubbing the sore when you should have brought the plaster.
你沒帶藥膏來也就罷,竟然還去撥弄人家的傷口。
(你沒安慰人家,竟然還刺傷人家。)

How can we expect our people to observe the law when our law makers and law enforcers themselves do not respect it?
(連我們的立法者和執法者都不尊重法律時,我們又怎能期望我們的人民會去遵守法律?)

 

h. 說明未來的事情 – 副詞與條件子句中的「未來」要以現在式表達
If you need a temporary place to stay when you arrive in New York, we recommend you visit the websites below for housing information.
(您抵達紐約時如需臨時住所,請點選下列網站來查詢住屋資訊。)

Don’t forget to signal when (you are) turning right.
(右轉時記得打方向燈。)

Why don’t you call on my sister when you’re in Tokyo?
(你到東京之後,何不順道探望一下我姊姊。)

It would be helpful if you would telephone us when you arrive in New York or Philadelphia. We may be reached between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at (302) 831-2115.
(當你抵達紐約或者費城時,如果能來電通知,我們將方便許多。請在早上 8 點到下午 5 點之間連絡我們,電話是 (302) 831-2155。)

(比較)
I’ll see you at Christmas when we’re all at Sally’s place.
(耶誕節時我們都會去 Sally 家聚會,到時候見。) – 確信事情會發生 (We are certain to be at Sally’s place.)

I’ll see you in August if I come to New York.
(我如果有去紐約,八月時會跟你見面。) – 不確信事情會發生 (Perhaps I’ll come to New York, perhaps not.)






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