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名詞的可數與不可數
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: February 24, 2009 – 2:56 am

決定該使用冠詞或不定冠詞之前要先確定名詞是否可數。限於篇幅,版主無法在此詳述某個名詞是否可數,建議有心學習的讀者去買本《牛津高階英漢雙解詞典》,這本字典詳細標明每個單字在各種情況下的使用情況,包括可數與不可數。

1. 應用原則
單數的普通名詞加 a/an
複數名詞不加 a/an
不可數名詞不加 a/an,但可使用量詞或單位(counters)

2. a 與 an 的使用場合
依照名詞第一個音節的發音而定:
a machine; a blackboard; a universal joint; a unique solution; a one-step method; an algorithm; an iteration; an SRAM chip; an X-ray machine; an RNA molecule; a simple algorithm; a new element; an unusual machine; an interesting subject

3. 不可數名詞的種類
a. 抽象名詞: anger, happiness, information, force, strength, powera.
b. 物質名詞: water, oil, rice, sand, flour, air, oxygen
c. 處理的方式或過程: integration, fabrication, pollution, purification
d. 學術領域名稱:physics, chemistry, economics, mathematics, engineering
e. 語言: Chinese; English
f. 體育運動名稱: badminton; basketball

(例句)
She’s taking economics and math. (她選修經濟學與數學)
Her major is Religious Studies. (她主修宗教研究)
She plays badminton and basketball. (她會打羽毛球與籃球)

** 以下是常見的不可數名詞,我從事翻譯工作多年,從未看過老美將這些名詞當成複數使用。
Research – Much research has been published in this field.
Information – Not too much information is available on this phenomenon.
Equipment – The new equipment has already been installed.
Software – Flextronics is developing advanced software to complement its new line of servers.
Hardware – Our company cannot rely solely on advanced hardware.

**然而,有些名詞卻可同時當成複數名詞或不可數名詞,”data” 是最明顯的例子:
The data that is received is stored in the FIFO buffer. // The data that are received are stored in the FIFO buffer. (接收到的資料儲存在 FIFO 暫存器之中)
Very little data is available. (現在的資料十分不足)
The data is/are still being analyzed. (資料仍在分析中)
Before removing the battery, always ensure all data is backed up properly.
(移除電池之前,請確定所有資料都備份好。)

**多數時不可數的常用名詞
Literature (所有文獻) – In the literature, little attention has been devoted to this problem.
Work (整體工作) – Recent work has overcome these drawbacks.
Notation (整組不同符號) – The notation used in this paper is summarized below.
Terminology (整組不同術語) – In this paper, we employ standard terminology.

**某些不可數名詞在特殊狀況下是可數的
We need a secretary with a knowledge of English. (我們需要一位懂英文的秘書)
You’ve been a great help. (= You’ve been very helpful.) (你幫了很大的忙)
I need a good sleep. (我需要好好睡一覺)
(比較) She speaks very good English. (她說得一口流利的英文)

4. 兩用名詞
有些名詞本身不可數,但是專指某項特定的事物時便可轉換成可數名詞。

Language is what sets humans from animals. (人與動物的差異就在語言的使用)
// Language = system of sounds, words, and patterns
Professor Wu is fluent in four languages. (吳教授精通四種語言)
//Language = form of language used by a particular group or nation

The door is made of metal. (門以金屬打造)
Gold, silver, and bronze are three different metals.(金、銀與銅是三種不同的金屬)

Pressure varies proportionately with temperature. (壓力隨者溫度變化而改變)
In the second experiment, the reaction was carried out at a greater pressure than in the first. (在第二項實驗中,反應是在比第一項實驗的還高的壓力下所產生)

According to this law, force is the product of mass and acceleration. An object with a mass of 10 kilograms and an acceleration of one meter per second will have a force of 10 newtons.
(根據這項定律,力等於質量乘以加速度。物體的質量若為 10 公斤,加速度為每秒 1 公尺,它的力便是 10 牛頓)





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