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英语讲义【70】英语惯用语的活用

2007-07-04 16:38陈清霖

  惯用语是个固定的词组,有一定的语义,是不可分割的统一体,其整体的意思往往不能从组成惯用语的各个词的原有意思中猜测而得。此外,惯用语的各个组成部分不可任意拆开或替换。但是某些惯用语,在特殊情况下,容许做些更动,从而增添活用性。

  现在从下面的四点举例说明:

  ⒈惯用语组成部分的替换,例如:

  ● pull a long face(愁眉苦脸)→pull an unhappy face, 如:

  “The football coach pulled an unhappy face when his team was defeated.”

  ● a stitch in time saves nine(及时补救)→a word in time saves nine, 如:

  “The two were going to quarrel, but their friend cut in to appease them. A word in time saves nine.”

  ⒉惯用语组成部分分开,例如: ● get an upper hand(占上风)→“In a debate competition, a quick-witted debater can get an upper cut, if not the upper hand.” ● cannot see the wood for the trees(见树不见林)→“He sees too many trees, but not the whole wood.”

  ⒊惯用语组成部分的扩充,例如: ● put into practice (实行)→put into widespread practice, 如:

  “David's proposal was well accepted, but no real effort was made to put it into widespread practice.”

  ● keep company (结交朋友)→keep disreputable company, 如:
  “His business son often dines out and keeps disreputable company.”

  ● come of age(成年)→come of college age, 如:
  “Even his youngest son has now come of college age.”

  ⒋惯用语组成部分的缩略,例如:

  ● every cloud has a silver lining(一线希望)→silver lining
  ● make a mountain out of molehills(小题大作)→mountains of molehills

  有些惯用语缩略后引起转化词,如:

  ● call someone names(谩骂某人 )→name-calling:“You won't command respect if you enjoy name-calling.”
  ● Bury one's head in the sand(对面临的危险闭目不见)→ head-in-sand:“Don't be so foolish as to adopt a head-in-sand attitude.”
  ● live and let live (自己活,也让别人活)→a live-and-let-live policy:“All the countries in the world should adopt a live-and-let-live policy.”
  ● A dog in the manger(占着茅坑不拉屎的人)→a dog-in-the-manger attitude: “As it is wrong to have a dog-in-the-manager attitude, you had better give what you don't want to others instead of holding on to it.”

  上述例子说明了严谨的惯用语,在特殊情况下,也可以稍微改变,或替换字眼,或拆开组成部分,或扩充词语,或缩略成分,达到灵活运用的目的。

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