「二」話要說

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毛孟靜
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名人教英文

常言道, 「一加一咁淺」,英文卻很少講one plus one。一個日常用語, 是to puttwo and two together,二加二,但意思亦非純粹說顯淺、淺白, 而是to make acorrect guess,就手頭的資料,作即使不全中亦不遠矣的猜測,to figure out somethingfrom the information that you have。

● We were able to put two and two together and discovered who had sent the abusive email message. 我們有得一估一算,即知是誰發那封傷人的電郵。

英文的two and three,有好些set phrase(固定詞組)。Two 的話又比three 多。像忽然聽到人家說,That makes two of us,若不懂,會霎時嚇一跳,以為對方怎地無故語帶親暱。

That makes two of us,不過等於「我都係」, me too、the same thing is true forme,是就你之前的話,對方表示同意得很。例:

●甲:I find him most annoying. 我覺得他好「乞人憎」。

乙:That makes two of us. 我都係。另例:

●甲:I don't want to go to that meeting.乙:That makes two of us.中文的二字詞語,像不二心、二話不說、不二法門等等,都帶個「不」字,讀起來,「二」好像是壞事。這款字面感覺,英文一樣有。

In two minds,下不了決心,can't decidewhat to do, or which option is best。譬如說,星座預測會這樣講:

● This week can find you in two mindsabout your situation, your life, yourdirection. 這個星期你或就自己的處境、前途、方向困擾,拿不定主意。

另例:

● I'm still in two minds about going to thatuniversity. 我決定不了去不去讀那間大學。

Two wrongs don't make a right,直譯是「兩個錯不等於一個對」,用比較順口的中文來說,係負負不等於正。這句話的主旨,是勸人不要事事以牙還牙,不要有tit for tat,你做初一,我做十五之心——that it is neverright to wrong someone, even if he haswronged you first、that a second mistake ormisdeed does not cancel the first。例:

● He was rude to you, so you were rude tohim too. But remember, two wrongsdon't make a right.

有沒有正面意思的「二」話?有。Two heads are better than one,即一人計短二人計長!留意亦有人加條尾巴,onthe pillow 在枕頭上。

Two's company, three's a crowd,這是句老話,指兩人相依為伴,三個人就擠了。指第三者、電燈膽, a third person thatspoils the ideal combination of a couple。例:

 

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