英文

名人教英文:Caught on the hop 措手不及

【明報專訊】Kelly: What a day! I'm glad that's over.

凱利:這一天真要命!幸好終於過去了。

Rahul: Yes, I can see. You look worn out. Something happened at the hotel?

拉胡爾:這個我看得出,你樣子十分疲憊。旅館發生了什麼事嗎?

Kelly: I'll say. We were expecting Sheikh Abdullah and his family to come at the end of next week for three days. He's one of the world's richest men and expects everything to be perfect. They've got a lot of special requirements, so that takes a lot of preparation.

凱利:你說得對。我們本來以為謝赫·阿卜杜拉下個周末會和家人來住三天。他是全世界頂級的富翁,一切都要最好的,也提出了很多特別要求,所以準備工夫不少。

Rahul: So?

拉胡爾:那又怎樣?

Kelly: We got a message yesterday saying they were coming at the end of this week.

凱利:昨天,我們收到通知,說他們這個周末就會到來。

Rahul: Oh no! Almost a week early. What a horrible surprise!

拉胡爾:哎呀,早了將近一個星期,這樣意外的事可不有趣。

Kelly: Yes, it really caught us on the hop. Everyone was in a panic.

凱利:是啊,我們給殺個措手不及,大家都手忙腳亂。

Rahul: But you fixed things in time?

拉胡爾:但你們及時把一切安排妥當?

Kelly: Only just. We had to hire a lot of temporary staff to make sure everything was done in time. I don't want to go through that again.

凱利:只是勉强趕得及。我們得聘請不少臨時工人,務求及時把一切安排好。這樣的事希望不會再來一次。

Rahul: I bet you don't.

拉胡爾:那還用說。

Hop 是忽布花,常用於釀製啤酒,使酒味略帶苦澀。第二次世界大戰之後,倫敦不少人喜歡到郊外採忽布花,有些甚至向僱主稱病,其實卻是採花去,「不幸」被僱主發覺在郊外採花者,就是 caught on the hop(在忽布花前給撞見)。所以,caught on the hop 即「出其不意」或「措手不及」,例如:Her unexpected proposal of marriage caught John on the hop(她出其不意提議結婚,令約翰不知所措)。

作者簡介:專研中英文,著有時事評論、英語學習、散文等書籍。

作者︰古德明

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