終極災難

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25/10/2015

終極災難 毛孟靜

平日用上disaster 災難這字,不等於真的「死人樓」,像給人問到諸事不順的一天,How’s your day? 就可以答:”A disaster!” 又或說,The author’s new book was a disaster,說的不過是那本新書沒銷路,屬a flop 之類。真正的災難,固然是disaster,但若幅度奇大傷亡枕藉, 是大災難, 就可叫之做catastrophe, 要更終極形容, 是apocalypse。

天津大爆炸,連衛星圖片都拍到,事後地面出現一個大洞,有給形容做black hole,亦有比之做美國911 後的ground zero。眾所周知,這與天災natural disaster 無關,純粹人禍man-made horror, 讓人慨嘆worse than a war zone,比戰地更差。

所以見有英語報道淨叫事件為Tianjinblast,天津爆炸,頗有點不以為然,這場災難肯定已屬catastrophe, 也許未到apocalypse 的地步罷了。Apocalypse 這字,通常確有世界末日的聯想,但不一定,看牛津字典一樣有解說為an event involving destruction on a catastrophic scale。

要用英文討論這場空前的人為災難,可以考慮以下幾點。

1. 那個城市原該知道危險… The people there had _____ their time. They had just sat around doing nothing. 填充揀:

A. buyed B. bid C. bided ?

答案是C, to bide time, 過去式bidedtime。要注意buy time 跟bide time 的分別。

Buy time,買時間,比較正面。像一個人把話說得「吟吟沉沉」,不過是想buy time,有多些時間考慮怎麼把話說下去。換言之,是trying to increase the time available to do something。

而bide time,就負面得多,是故意拖延,不做什麼,就是waiting around。

2. 有人讀到大災難新聞後的反應… He gripped the newspaper as if he could wring the throats of those responsible for the catastrophe by ______.

A. proxy B. proximity C. approximation

答案係A。記得vote by proxy,以授權方式投票,一樣可以此比喻其他動作,以扭報紙來表達心意,要扭斷那些造成大災難的人的脖子。

3. 死亡人數不住上升… It remains unclear exactly how many people are still missing or _______.

A. counted for B. uncounted for

C. unaccounted for

正確說法是C。要小心count 與account 的分別,前者淨數數目,後者包含搞清楚下落。

4. 奇蹟救人… Rescuers managed to locate a survivor. It was a miracle _____.

A. find B. finding C. found

這一題,許多人都會錯。應該係A。這裏的find 是名詞。另例:

● That restaurant was absolutely exquisite. It was an excellent FIND.

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