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冠詞用法的「邏輯」
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: March 2, 2009 – 2:56 pm

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1. 一般區別 (以下範例出自於顏斯華先生的文法書)

不定冠詞 + 單數普通名詞 → 舉例說明代表全體的「個例」。
定冠詞 + 單數普通名詞 → 泛指名詞代表的「觀念」(常用於定義)
複數普通名詞 (無冠詞) →泛指名詞的「一般情況」(未必可代表全體)

Graham Bell invented the telephone.
(貝爾發明電話) ─ 意指「電話」這項通訊工具。

Telephones are available at department stores.
(百貨公司可買到電話)  ─ 泛指一般的電話機。

A telephone linked to a computer can be a powerful marketing tool.
(如果連接到電腦,電話可以成為有力的行銷工具) ─  指「任何一具」電話。

There have been three great inventions since the beginning of time: fire, the wheel, and central banking.
創世之後有三項重要的發明:火、車輪與中央銀行制度。
(說明)
Fire → 代表「火」這項觀念 (不可數名詞)
The wheel → 代表「車輪」這項觀念 (定冠詞  + 單數普通名詞)
Central banking → 代表「中央銀行制度」這項觀念 (動名詞)

translation

(定義句型) → 下面三句話的意思類似,由於採用不同的冠詞用法而有些微差異。
a. The cobra is dangerous. 眼鏡蛇這種動物很危險。
b. Cobras are dangerous. 眼鏡蛇很危險。
c. A cobra is a dangerous snake.  眼鏡蛇是種危險的蛇類。(A + 名詞 is a +名詞)

(以下是維基百科對電話的定義說明)
The telephone is a telecommunications device that is used to transmit and receive sound (most commonly speech), usually two people conversing but occasionally three or more.

A Lineman’s handset is a telephone designed for testing the telephone network, and may be attached directly to aerial lines and other infrastructure components.
網址: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone

以下兩段範例說明英文冠詞的使用方式:

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2. 範例 1  (以下範例出自於顏斯華先生的文法書)

The notion of the calculator (觀念) is not a modern invention. Long before the earliest prototype of the modern electronic calculator (觀念) came into being, the Chinese had been using an instrument called abacus to help them do arithmetic calculations for thousands of years. The principle that underlies the use of this instrument resembles the logic underlying the design of the modern electronic calculator (觀念). Some people even go so far as to claim that the abacus (觀念) is the precursor of the modern electronic calculator (觀念).

(翻譯)
計算機的概念不是現代才發明的。早在最早的電子計算機原型問世之前,中國人就已經使用一種叫做算盤的工具協助他們計算,其歷史達數千年之久。算盤運算的原理跟現代計算機的邏輯相當類似,有人甚至宣稱算盤乃是現代計算機的前身。

Today, despite the fact that the cost of a calculator (舉例) is much lower than that of an abacus (舉例), abacuses (泛指) are still in wide use among Chinese merchants (泛指). Whether in the corner of a gloomy bazaar (舉例) in Taipei, or in the bright lobby of a Hong Kong bank (舉例), you can see storekeepers (泛指) and tellers (泛指) alike bending over their abacuses (泛指) doing calculations at speeds no one working with a modern electronic calculator (舉例) can expect to match.

(翻譯)
今天儘管計算機的售價遠低於算盤,中國商人仍然廣泛使用算盤,無論是在台北迪化街陰暗的商場角落,或者香港銀行明亮的大廳中,你都可以看見店家老闆與銀行行員低頭使用著算盤,其運算速度之快,任何使用計算機的人都別想跟得上。

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3. 範例 2  (以下範例出自於顏斯華先生的文法書)


The questionnaire
(觀念) is by far the most commonly used instrument in collecting primary data. Broadly speaking, a questionnaire (舉例) consists of a set of questions presented to a respondent for his or her answers. The questionnaire (觀念) is very flexible in that there are many ways to ask questions. Questionnaires (泛指) need to be carefully tested, developed, and debugged before they can be administered on a large scale. We can usually spot several errors in a casually prepared questionnaire (舉例). In preparing a questionnaire (舉例), marketing researchers need to carefully choose the questions to be asked…

(翻譯)
問卷(調查)是最常用來收集初級資料的工具。一般而言,一份問卷通常包含一組供讀者回答的問題。問卷很有彈性,因為可以採用許多方式來詢問問題。問卷一般都需要經過仔細測試、發展和修正後才能大規模地使用。我們通常可以在(一份)草率製作的問卷中發現不少錯誤。製作問卷時,行銷人員必須仔細選擇要問的問題 …。

可針對冠詞,在意思不變的情況下,將上面文章改寫如下:

Questionnaires (泛指)  are often used in collecting primary data. By definition, a questionnaire is a set of questions (定義句型) prepared and presented to a respondent for his or her answers. Questionnaires (泛指) are very flexible because there are lots of ways to ask a question ( or questions). A good questionnaire (舉例) needs to be carefully tested, developed, and debugged before it can be administered on a large scale. We can usually spot several errors in a casually prepared questionnaire (舉例). In preparing a questionnaire (舉例) / questionnaires (泛指), marketing researchers need to carefully choose the questions to be asked…

(翻譯)
問卷常被人用來收集初級資料。所謂問卷,乃是一組設計好的問題,用來供讀者回答。問卷是很有彈性(的東西),因為可以採用許多方式來詢問問題。(一份) 好的問卷必須經過仔細測試、發展和修正後才能大規模地運用。我們通常可以在(一份)草率製作的問卷中發現不少錯誤。製作一份問卷/問卷時,行銷人員需要仔細挑選要問的問題 …。

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4. 不定冠詞作為補語的含義變化

translation

My job is selling cars. (正確用法)
My job is selling the car. (???)   –  (賣的是實體汽車,用汽車的概念會很奇怪,還是從事的工作只要賣出眼前的這一部車就可以)
My job is selling a car. (???)  –  (只賣一部車就可以退休了嗎? 天下哪有這麼好康的事!)

translation

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. (指醫生這一行)  – 標準諺語
An apple a day keeps doctors away. (泛指醫生)  – 這句話可接受
An apple a day keeps a doctor away. (???)  – (腦筋不清楚才會這樣用不定冠詞!)

translation

A doctor must like people. (=any doctor) (指醫生這一行的人) – classifying 分類
//A spider has eight legs.
Doctors usually have the potential to earn a lot of money. (一般情形)
Doctors usually work long hours.  (一般情形)

translation

It is difficult to find a parking lot in Taipei during the rush hour. (標準用法)
It is difficult to find parking lots in Taipei during the rush hour. (標準用法)
It is difficult to find the parking lot in Taipei during the rush hour. (???)

– (既然已知停車場在哪,怎麼會難找呢? 這句是我多年前補習時聽到的句子,天哪!Somebody kill me!)

translation

(參考下面的冠詞用法)
Just find a parking lot and stop the car. The cop will follow us, and come over to your window to talk to you.
(找個位子把車停下,條子會跟上來,走到你的窗口問話。) – 請細細會老美在這句話是如何使用冠詞。
(比較)
Find the parking lot and stop a car. – 找到這個停車位,然後隨便停一輛車。(路霸的行為?)

translation

Given the information, technicians will be able to to identify the features of an Inspron 500.
= Given the informaiton, technicians will be able to identify the features of the Inspron 500.
(技術人員只要習得這項資訊,便能夠指出 Inspron 500 的功能特徵。)
* an Inspron 500 = 一台 Inspron 500 的電腦
* the Inspron 500 = Inspron 500 這種款式的電腦

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冠詞的一般用法





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