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英語文法學堂:Put the cart before the horse 本末倒置

【明報專訊】此英文成語提醒做事要分輕重及緩急先後。

■Reference

‧John Heywood's A Dialogue Conteinyng the Nomber in Effect of All the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue (=A Dialogue Containing the Number in Effect of All the Proverbs in the English Tongue) (1546):

"To tourne [turn] the cat in the pan, or set the cart before the hors [horse]."

‧《戰國策‧齊策》:「書未發,威后問使者曰:『歲亦無恙耶?民亦無恙耶?王亦無恙耶?……故有問。舍本而問末者耶?』」

(戰國時,齊襄王派使臣訪趙國。趙威后接過齊襄王的書信,還未拆開,便問使者:「貴國的收成好嗎?百姓好嗎?國君好嗎?」使臣很不高興地回答:「威后為何先問候敝國的收成和百姓,最後才是君王,豈非卑賤與尊貴倒置?」趙威后正色道:「你這樣想便錯了!沒有收成便沒有百姓,沒有百姓便沒有君王!所以我才這樣問,難道要本末倒置嗎?!」)

■Examples

‧To increase government subsidies without offering people job opportunities is to put the cart before the horse.

‧Some argued that installing sleep monitors on buses is putting the cart before the horse.

‧Cramming is a daunting learning method that puts the cart before the horse — you easily forget everything and it makes you hate studying.

(例子為編輯所加)

資料提供:《成語學英文》

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■Question

Is there anything that you think puts the cart before the horse these days?

Thanks:The Commercial Press

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