刀仔鋸大樹

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22/01/2013

刀仔鋸大樹 毛孟靜

用刀仔來鋸倒大樹, 除了有恆心和決心,鍥而不捨地慢慢來,更重頭的意思,是成功以小博大、以弱贏強。英文的第一個聯想,是聖經中大衛打倒巨人哥利亞的故事,the David and Goliath story。

大衛是個少年, 向巨人說︰ “I come against you in the name of Lord Almighty (我以上帝之名來對抗你).” 之後出手一擊即中。弱勢竟然可打倒強權,都因為站在精神道德高地。

今日用在真實生活,像有人用小資本創業,a small startup,竟然就打倒了業內的傳統名牌,這一幕刀仔鋸大樹可叫做︰The small startup beats the big names in the industry.

刀仔鋸大樹,直譯是use a small knife to cut down a big tree,這句英文驟聽像是話人徒勞無功、「搵嚟搞」。也即是說,除非上文下理講得清楚明白,不然容易令人誤會。為了更清楚表示正面的「成功、得咗」的意思,可加入manage to ︰They managed to use a small knife to cut down a big tree.

They managed to cut down a big tree with a small knife.

掉轉頭, 叫人不要小題大做、大材小用, 亦即勸人「殺雞焉用牛刀」, why bother using a butcher’s cleaver to kill a chicken。

開頭的why, 等於「怎地」、「做乜要」。這句話是叫人不要花不必要的、不成比例的氣力(unnecessary,disproportionate effort)去做一件相對來說不重要的事。

英文中最相似的一句俚語,跟雞與牛刀無關,而是大錘相對一粒硬殼果︰

Don’t use a sledgehammer to crack a nut. 開一粒堅果焉用大錘。

Why use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.怎地要用大錘來扑一粒硬殼果。

若要用最簡單的英文表達類似信息,可說:

Why bother. 別煩了。

Never mind. 不要緊。

Leave it. 算了吧。

另一句類同的話, 不就是「獅子搏兔」!

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