名人教英文 – Some scumbag「人渣」

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23/05/2011

名人教英文 – Some scumbag「人渣」 毛孟靜

連串虐貓殺貓事故,再令大家關注虐待動物(animal abuse) 及動物權益(animal rights)。留意這個rights,通常以眾數出現,有s,因為是countable noun, 可以數的名詞;因為講到權利、權益,有不同項目款式,像:

Access to clean water is a human right,喝乾淨的水是一項人權。

歷史上呼籲愛護動物的名言,包括解放黑奴的美國林肯總統的一句:I am in favour of animal rights as well as human rights.(我支持動物權益,正如我支持人權)。再讀一句更重頭的: That is the way of a whole human being (兩者並重,方為完人)。

也即是說,對人好,對動物也一樣好。近月其中一宗用氣槍(air gun)襲擊(attack)小貓的案件,警方拉了一個疑犯(suspect),西報的新聞標題是:

Man held over attack on kitten with air gun

短短九個字, 說出故事大綱。讀這類標題文字,是學習簡潔英文的捷徑。這條headline,同時有助熟習怎麼用over、on、with 三個介詞。

Man held over attack — 這個over,解for, 「因」、「為了」。就像Man held for knife attack in street。

over attack on—— 會有人問, attack 後面, 可是跟against 的嗎?一樣得。但編輯為省字、慳篇幅,多用on。

on kitten with air gun — 這with 要聯繫上的,自然是前面的attack 了。

Man held over attack on kitten with air gun,這句「簡體」話,寫回做常規格式,是Police arrested a man over anair-gun attack on a kitten。

在網上,有人叫被捕的疑犯做some scumbag。Scum,渣滓; scumbag, 「一袋渣滓」, 亦即我們口語的「人渣」。這樣罵人,肯定crude ( 粗俗) , 但不算foul ( 粗口)。同時可有注意到,some scumbag, some 之後不是眾數,不是scumbags,不要s。

這款some 的用法,不是解「幾個」, 而是「無以名之」、「唔知阿邊個」之意。類似用法,譬如有個派對或好好玩、或悶得離奇、或有人鬧事等等, 事後就可說: That was some party!用來強調已發生的情況。

最後一提,一個suspect 未經定罪, 仍然清白, 疑犯繼續「疑」, 這是基本的法治精神: A man is innocent until proven guilty。

 

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