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英文「過去進行式」的使用時機
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: July 26, 2009 – 4:19 am

閱讀本篇英文時態解說之前,版主建議先閱讀『英文時態概論』與『英文文法基本概念:動詞的基本型態』,先掌握基本概念,然後再研究細節。

『過去進行式』常見的用法如 下:

 

◎ 一般用法

a. 表示某件事情在過去某個時間點正在進行
“What were you doing at eight o’clock yesterday evening?” “I was watching TV.”
(你昨晚八點在幹什麼?我那時正在看電視。)

When I got up this morning, the sun was shining and the birds were singing.
(我今早起身時,陽光普照,鳥鳴千轉。)

The plane was taxing along the runway.
= The plane taxied along the runway.
(當時飛機在跑道上滑行。) 

b. 表示某件事情在過去某個時間點重複持續動作
The door was banging in the wind.
(門當時被風吹得砰砰作響。)

c. 表事情或狀態在過去某一段時間內 (可長、可短) 持續著
I was painting all day yesterday. (我昨天一直在畫畫。) – 短時間的持續

Michael said while he was doing his homework last night your pic kept popping up ! I’m assuming you were sending me messages.
(麥可告訴我,他昨晚做功課時,你的照片不斷跳出來,我想你當時應該正在傳送訊息給我。)  –  短時間的持續

“Officer, why did you pull me over?”
(警察先生,你為什麼要把我欄下來?)
“(Because) You were speeding.” (因為你超速了。) –英語典型的思維 (把你攔下來之前你正在超速)

I was visiting clients abroad last December, so I missed the homecoming party.
(去年十二月我正在國外拜訪客戶,所以未能參加該次的校友會。) – 長時間的持續

They were quarrelling the whole time they were together.
(他們過去在一起時就不停吵架。) – 長時間的持續

“Susan, Tom is the guy I was telling you about.”
(蘇珊,湯姆就是我經常跟你提起的那個人) – 英語典型的思維
“What a great pleasure it is to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you.”
(很榮幸能見到你,久仰久仰。)
“Really? Was it good or bad?”
(你聽到的,是好話還是壞話?)

 

◎ 與簡單式並用,提供『背景』資料
As I was walking down the street, I saw Bill.
(當我那時沿街往下走時,我看見了比爾。)

The Phone rang while I was having dinner.
(我當時正在吃晚餐,電話突然想起。)

Mozart died while he was composing the Requiem.
(莫扎特還在編寫安魂曲時便病逝。)

The presidential motorcade was moving slowly through the Central Square. The crowds were cheering. Photographers were jostling each other for the best positions. Suddenly a woman screamed…
(總統車隊當時正緩慢通過中央廣場。群眾夾道歡呼,攝影記者相互推擠卡位,要爭取最佳的拍攝角度。突然之間,一名婦女發出尖叫聲…)

Bill was talking on the phone when I came in. But when he saw me, he whispered something to the phone and hanged it up.
(我當時進門時比爾正在講電話。不過,他一看見我便對話筒低聲說了幾句,隨即掛上電話。)

(解說)
上述的三個動態動詞 (dynamic verbs) (saw/whispered/hanged) 是按出現的先後順序來依序完成的。如果是狀態動詞 (static verbs) 則應為並存。

She addressed and posted the letter.(合理)
She posted and addressed the letter.(不合理) 

She disliked and distrusted her advisors.
= She distrusted and disliked her advisors.

The explosion wrecked a car and damaged several shops.
(這場爆炸毀壞了一輛車並使數家商店受損。)(同時受損)

When a hurricane is approaching, you should secure extra lines, set out anchors, add chafe protection, strip the boat above and below decks, to name just a few. 
= When a hurricane is approaching, you should certainly do everything you can to protect your boat: secure extra lines, set out anchors, add chafe protection, strip the boat above and below decks, etc.
(此處說明颶風來臨時,為保護船隻必須進行的防範措施。照常理推斷,毋須依照作者提及的順序來做。)

 

◎ 敘述兩個平行的行動 (while = at the same time)
We were ambling along the Fifth Avenue when the first attack happened. I was walking the dog while my wife was window-shopping when, all of a sudden, we heard a shrieking siren of a police car.
(第一次攻擊時,我們正在第五大道漫步。我在溜狗,我太太則在瀏覽商店的櫥窗,突然之間,我們聽到警車警示器的尖叫聲。)
//”walking the dog” 與 “window-shopping” 同時發生。
 
A cop was standing in the shoulder of the road. He was talking to a guy while signaling me to pull over.
(路肩上站著一位警察。他正在跟一個人講話,同時揮手示意我靠邊停車。)
//”talking to a guy” 與 “signaling me to pull over” 同時發生。

 

◎ 過去的經常性行為
a. 偶而用來說明過去經常性的行為,但只用於說明『背景』來便陪襯主題。
b. 與頻率副詞 (always) 共用,表示責難、不滿與意外。

At the time when I began to practice veterinary medicine, I wasn’t seeing too many pets hit by cars, but I was seeing a lot of allergies, auto-immune diseases, and cancer.
(當我開始當獸醫時,我並未常常救治被車撞傷的寵物,但我卻經常看到寵物發生過敏現象、罹患自我免疫系統疾病與癌症。) – 說明『背景』以便陪襯主題。

Patrick’s best friend, besides me, was Eddie. He was short and flabby and an obnoxious jerk, as far as I was concerned. He was always telling dirty jokes, which I ignored and Gwen rebutted with sharp remarks and rolling eyeballs.
(Soul Catcher – by Katia Spiegelman)
(除了我以外,派崔克還有一個最好的朋友,名叫艾迪,個頭矮小肥胖。對我而言,艾迪簡直是個不折不扣的王八蛋,老愛講些黃色笑話。我根本不想理會那些笑話,不過葛文會不屑地轉動眼珠,用犀利的話反嗆回去。) – 與頻率副詞共用,表示不滿。

Speaking of movies, I also had a French teacher in high school who used to show us raunchy French movies in class. There was even one French movie he showed that was centered around a young priest (I don’t remember the title of the movie), and there was a part in the movie where a woman drops down in front of the priest and starts giving him a blow job. Since he used to show movies like that all the time, along with the fact that he was always telling dirty jokes, we all started thinking that he might just be a pervert. This, of course, only made his class all the more interesting.
(說到電影,我以前的高中法文老師經常在課堂上播放淫穢的法文電影。他曾經放過一部描述年輕牧師的法國片,片名我忘了,有一幕可以看到一位婦女在牧師面前蹲下幫他口交。由於老師經常放那種電影,而且還經常講黃色笑話,我們都開始認為他可能真是個變態,不過這只會他的課更為有趣。) – 與頻率副詞共用,表示不滿。
(說明)
由上文判斷,used to 與 be always Ving (過去進行式加頻率副詞) 都可用來表示過去的習慣。

Tommy is two years older than me, and he’s a typical big brother I guess.  By that I mean he was always bossing me around, and we fought a lot.  Tommy thought he was cool because he was a pitcher on the baseball team at high school. He was a real show-off. He had a very quick temper. I had to be careful around him when he was in a bad mood, but sometimes we had fun together, too.
(湯米大我兩歲,就像一般人常說的老大哥,我這樣說是因為他老是對我大呼小叫,因此我們倆經常吵架。湯米以前是高中棒球隊的投手,跩的不得了,老是喜歡賣弄。他脾氣很壞,只要他心情不好,我都得謹言慎行。不過,我倆偶爾也會玩得很開心。) – 與頻率副詞共用,表示不滿。

Aunt Lucy was always turning up without warning and bringing us presents.
(露西姑媽過去常常悶不吭聲地就出現,並且還帶禮物給我們。) – 與頻率副詞共用,表示意外。

 

◎ 客氣的詢問
此種用法比『過去簡單式』更為客氣、輕鬆或親切。

I was wondering if you would go out with me?
(你是否願意跟我出去?)

I was hoping to buy you a cup of coffee.
(我想請你喝杯咖啡)

I was hoping you could lend me some money.
(不知您是否可借我一些錢。)
 
John Williams is in town, and is playing your favorite Chopin tonight. Since we’ve got an extra ticket, I was wondering if you’d like to come with us.
(約翰威廉斯就在本市,今晚就要演奏你最喜歡的蕭邦曲目。我們手頭正好多一張票,不知你是否願意與我們共同聆聽演奏會。)

 

◎ 過去進行式與過去簡單式其他的不同點
過去簡單式常描述『結果』,過去進行式常描述『過程/背景』,因此使用過去進行式可以「淡化描述事情的重要性」。此外,進行式主要指短暫的持續行為或動作,看起來時間很長且永遠的狀態,則仍然應該用過去簡單式來描述。

It happened while I was living in Boston last year.
(它發生在我去年住在波士頓時。)
I lived in London for ten years when I was a child.
(我小時後曾經在倫敦住過十年。) – 現在已經不住了

Father was fixing the family car last night.
(老爸昨晚在修我們的家用車。)
Father fixed the family car last night.
(老爸昨晚修好的我們的家用車。)

“I just got my car out of the garage.” (我剛把送去修的車開回來了。)
“Really?” (是嗎?怎麼回事?)
“My car was acting up again and I went to the same garage as you.”
(我的車有點問題,所以我把它送到你去過的那家維修站了。)
//garage = service station

He was closing the door when he saw me.
(他看到我的時候正在關門。)
He closed the door when he saw me.
(他看到我之後把門關上。)

What were you talking about? (Your interview took almost three hours!)
What was she saying to you? (I saw her showing you a picture of Jet Li)
(上面兩句都表示問話者還有話要問)

What were you doing in America before you came to Taiwan?
(你來台灣前在台美國都做些什麼?) – 較為間接,比較客氣
What did you do in America before you came to Taiwan?
(你來台灣前在台美國都做些什麼?) – 較為直接,比較不客氣

Were you telling the truth about your being harassed by Professor Wu?
(你說吳教授騷擾你是真的嗎?) – 較為間接,不帶質詢意味
Did you tell the truth about your being harassed by Professor Wu?
(你說吳教授騷擾你是真的嗎?) – 較為直接,按情況甚至有質疑或強烈懷疑的意味

As I fished in my pocket for the key, Jenny found it was in the keyhole. The key had been left there since we had left home two weeks before (earlier).
(我伸手進口袋掏鑰匙的時候,珍妮發現鑰匙就插在鎖孔上。打從我們兩週前出門之後,鑰匙就一直掛在那裡。)
As I was fishing in my pocket for the key, Jenny found it was in the keyhole. The key had been left there since we had left home two weeks before (earlier).
(當我正在口袋中掏鑰匙的時候,珍妮發現鑰匙就插在鎖孔上。打從我們兩週前出門之後,鑰匙就一直掛在那裡。) – 強調『過程長度』

I talked to John a couple of days ago. He said your project is OK.
(前幾天我跟約翰談過,他說你的計畫沒問題) -我主動找約翰討論你的計畫
I was talking to John a couple of days ago. He said your project is OK.
(前幾天我跟約翰談話時,他說你的計畫沒問題) – 我只是跟約翰聊天時,聽他討論到你的計畫 (淡化聊天這件事情,說話者不過是隨口提及他跟約翰聊天過)。





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