當年今日

The fact that - 古德明

蘋果日報 2012/10/25 00:00


問:麥美倫出版社的修辭學發凡The Elements of Style說,the fact that一詞絕對不宜使用,但英國作家羅素筆下,常見the fact that這句式。先生對這個詞的用法有什麼意見?答:以「the fact that+子句(clause)」作主詞(subject)或受詞(object),句子一般會頗為累贅,的確是可免則免。請看以下兩句:(1)The fact that he was ill affected his work(他的病,影響了他的工作)。(2)I was informed of the fact that he was ill(我獲悉他病了)。這兩句,改為His illness affected his work以及I was informed of his illness會好得多。而這樣的the fact that句式,十九可以改寫。不過,天下萬事,往往沒有絕對法則可循,例外總是難免,尤其是寫作。韋氏英文用法詞典Webster's Dictionary of English Usage談到the fact that,就指出這個詞常受批評,「但不一定是多餘的,有時可收加強語氣、方便文句轉折等修辭之效」。詞典還收錄了些「改不得」的例句,現錄其一於後:Our newfound fascination with China should not blind us to the fact that American relations with Japan are much more important to US security(我們最近對中國大感興趣,但不應因此而無視一件事實:美日關係,對美國安全來說,重要得多)。這一句見於一九七一年十一月《哈潑斯》月刊(Harper's),四十年後的今天重讀,情況似乎絲毫未變。讀者詢問有關英語問題:mailto:[email protected]或傳真:2742 0542