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名人教英文:擺脫困難 To be out of the woods

【明報專訊】Josie: My god, I've been so worried for my parents. Did you know they live in Merrivale County?

喬西:唉,近來真為父母擔心。你知道嗎?他們住在梅里韋爾郡。

Nish: You mean where they've had those awful floods. Are they affected?

尼什:那是最近洪水為患的地方。影響到你父母嗎?

Josie: Affected! They had to evacuate their house three days ago because of the rising floodwater. And all they could take with them was their pet dog and some valuables.

喬西:怎麼沒影響!由於洪水不斷上漲,他們三天之前不得不攜着愛犬和一些貴重物品,撤離住所,其他東西就沒法帶走了。

Nish: Oh! How awful! How are they coping?

尼什:真慘。他們現在怎樣?

Josie: Well luckily the water stopped just short of their house in the end. But they had to stay two nights at a shelter set up in a local school. Since then the water level has gone down and they've been able to go back.

喬西:幸而洪水最後差一點沒有淹到他們的住所,但他們也得在當地一家充當庇護所的學校過了兩晚。其後洪水退卻,才得回家。

Nish: So is everything all right now?

尼什:現在一切都正常了嗎?

Josie: Oh no. They're not out of the woods yet. Some quite heavy rain is forecast for next week and that may cause water levels to rise again.

喬西:啊,還沒有,他們還未脫離水災威脅。根據天氣預告,下星期會有大雨,可能再次引起洪水。

Nish: So they might have to abandon their house again.

尼什:那麼,他們或須再次離家暫避。

Josie: I'm afraid so. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed that it won't be necessary.

喬西:恐怕是這樣。我們只能祈求不用再來一次。

Nish: This kind of thing seems to be happening more and more.

尼什:這類事情似乎愈來愈常見了。

Out of the woods 也作out of the wood,直譯是「出了樹林」。從前,英國人以in a wood (在樹林裏)比喻「在困難中」,現在則說out of the wood 而配以否定句式,表示「還未脫困」,例如:(1) He has got a job now, but he is still heavily in debt and is not out of the wood yet (他現在找到工作,但仍然負債纍纍,未脫困境)。(2) The plumber stopped the leak temporarily, but we were not out of the woods yet (鉛管工人暫時堵住了滲漏處,但我們還未能安寢)。

■作者︰古德明

專研中英文,著有時事評論、英語學習、散文等書籍。

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