中文裡有個成語叫「畫蛇添足」,指做了多餘的事,不但無益,反而有害。

說、寫英文時,我們常常想把意思說得更完整,反而加上不必要的字,變成了畫蛇添足。以下就是六個典型的例子,請試著把多餘的「腳」去掉吧!

1、可以再說一次嗎?
(X)Can you repeat again?
(O)Say it again, please.
(O)Can you repeat?
Repeat就有重複的意思,不需再用again了。

2、現在是九點零五分。
(X)It is five past nine o’clock.
(O)It is five past nine.
表示整點的時間才會加o’clock,九點零五分不是整點,o’clock須刪掉。

3、示威者的人數正在增加中。
(X)Demonstrants are increasing in their numbers.
(O)Demonstrants are increasing in number.
In number是一個固定片語,表示「在數目上」,number前面不加冠詞或所有格,後面也不加s。

4、我不是故意要讓你如此生氣。
(X)I did not mean to make you so angry on purpose.
(O)I did not mean to make you so angry.
mean本身就含「有…意圖」,所以有了mean,就不用加on purpose,本句也可以保留on purpose而刪去mean。

5、天色很暗,我們幾乎看不見交通標誌。
(X)It is very dark. We can’t hardly see the traffic signs.
(O)It is very dark. We can hardly see the traffic signs.
hardly本身已有否定的意思,解釋為「幾乎不」,所以不用再加not。

6、我想,答案是「B」。
(X)The answer is “B”, I suppose it.
(O)The answer is “B”, I suppose.
I suppose、I guess、I think、I believe…在類似的口語用法中,不須再加代名詞。

好英文藏在細節裡,還有太多英文說不出口,請進:http://goo.gl/5eIOmf