有個廣為流傳的笑話:老師在白板上寫了一句話"A woman without her man is nothing",要同學們填入標點符號。結果答案竟成了兩派:

男生都填:A woman,without her man,is nothing.(女人,只要沒了男人,就毫無用處。)

女生都填:A woman:without her, man is nothing.(女人:沒有她,男人毫無用處。)

由此可見,標點符號雖然看似渺小,但卻能夠主宰整個句子的語義。以下兩句只差了一個逗號,就把原本的好意變成了想要與對方決裂的句子:

I'm sorry I love you.(我很抱歉愛上你。)→沒有誠意的道歉,像是分手宣言

I'm sorry, I love you.(我很抱歉,我愛你。)→讓對方知道:我很抱歉,但我是愛你的

容易被忽略的「逗號」

標點符號是語言的一部分,且各司其職。然而,這些立大功的小兵,卻容易被人忽略、錯用;加上資訊爆炸時代的來臨,導致語言習慣演變為方便導向,讓人更容易忽略標點符號的重要性:尤其是與我們關係最緊密的「逗號」。

想像你剛開完馬拉松式的會議,想在陌生的城市晃晃,隨手在臉書牆上打:

I have few hours to kill someone give me some ideas.

(你想說)I have few hours to kill, someone gives me some ideas.(我有幾個小時的空檔,給我些建議吧。)

(別人看成)I have few hours to kill someone, give me some ideas.(我有幾個小時可以殺人,給我些想法吧。)

不但忘了逗號,也忘了someone後面動詞要用單數,結果把朋友們嚇了一大跳,還以為要發生命案;或者,你與新認識的朋友在Line聊天,結果弄巧成拙。

I often find inspiration in cooking my family and my dog.

(你想說)I often find inspiration in cooking, my family and my dog.(我常從烹飪、我的家人與狗獲得靈感。)

(別人看成)我常從煮我的家人與狗獲得靈感。

這裡整理出3種,常見的逗號錯誤:

1.複數跟所有格分不清

(X)The girl's will go to the office tomorrow.

(O)The girls will go to the office tomorrow.

2.沒有對等連接詞

如果沒有連接詞,那就直接打句號再重新開始一個句子,或是用and、but、or、so、yet這些對等連接詞,把句子接起來。

(X)The ticket costs $1, I'm going to buy it.

(O)The ticket costs $1. I'm going to buy it.

(O)The ticket costs $1, and I'm going to buy it.

3. 從屬子句開頭的句子,沒有逗號

(X)Before going to sleep John played video games.

(O)Before going to sleep, John played video games.

常見的從屬連接詞為:although、because、before、however、unless、even though。

三個月英文脫胎換骨的一對一:http://goo.gl/5eIOmf