Archive for 3月 2nd, 2009

3月 02 2009

In the firing line, again

Published by under 咬文嚼字

在同一期的读者反馈上,《泰晤士报》的Sally Baker说自从上周有读者指出 in the firing line 是指“开火”而不是“被打”之后,又有读者来信说,in the firing line 也可以用来形容“被打”,证据是在《牛津简明英语辞典》上:

The Concise OED definition of ‘in the firing line‘ is: ‘1. The front line of troops in a battle; 2. A position where one is subject to criticism or blame.’

但是显然Sally Baker的字典(Collins English Dictionary)上没有这种说法。《卫报》的“文字规范”(Style guide)显然支持她的观点。原因很简单:他们用的同一本字典。

firing line
the people who do the firing; if they are aiming at you, you are in the line of fire not in the firing line.

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3月 02 2009

None of these

Published by under 咬文嚼字

我其实一直有这个疑惑,在适用 None of these 这样的词组时,后面跟的动词照理应该是单数形式,但是 None of them has this skill 这样的句子看上去不是太顺眼。这个星期六《泰晤士报》的读者反馈上 Sally Baker 对此进行了一番调查发现:

It is a mistake to suppose that the pronoun is singular only and must at all costs be followed by singular verbs or pronouns.


Use a singular verb where possible but if the notion of plurality is present a plural verb has been optional since the OE period and in some circumstances is desirable. The type ‘none of them have finished their essays’ is better than the clumsy ‘…has finished his or her essay’.

原来 None of these, None of them 这样的词组之后的动词,可以适用单数形式,也可以适用复数形式,取决于上下文。

我又查了《卫报》的“文字规范”(Style guide),同样写道:

It is a (very persistent) myth that “none” has to take a singular verb: plural is acceptable and often sounds more natural, eg “none of the current squad are good enough to play in the Premiership”, “none of the issues have been resolved”

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