英文

Ask & Learn聞問切:To not be?

【明報專訊】問:某韓劇名為 It's Okay to Not Be Okay,但似乎 It is okay not to be okay 才合文法?

答:這涉及 to + infinitive(動詞不定式)否定句的排序,not 到底要放何處?To 前還是 to 後?大家或會想起莎劇《王子復仇記》(Hamlet)中的名句 To be or not to be? That is the question。可見,莎士比亞是把 not 放在 to 前,not to be,而非 to not be。修辭學有個說法,to 和動詞間不應插入任何修飾語。換個說法,即 to 和動詞不可分離,否則就變為 split infinitive,是造句大忌。然而,很多人都習以為常,故有 It is okay to not be okay 這種句子出現。

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譚景輝(english@mingpao.com)

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