英文

Ask & Learn聞問切:目的和手段

【明報專訊】問:在某網站看到:She broke the ice by making a funny joke,可否寫成 She made a funny joke to break the ice?兩者有何分別?

答:先說第二句:She made a funny joke to break the ice。此句有一不定形動詞(verb infinitive)to break the ice。不定形動詞有不同用法,其一是表示前面動詞形容動作(made a funny joke)之目的,語法上為 infinitive of purpose。Made a funny joke 的目的乃 break the ice,前者是手段,後者是目的。同樣意思可以第一句表達:She broke the ice by making a funny joke。By 多譯為「透過……」,故 broke the ice 是目的,making a funny joke 是方法。總結,兩句意思非常接近,但若別人問:Why did she make a funny joke?,我們大概會答:She made a funny joke to break the ice。若問:How did she break the ice?,答案應是 She broke the ice by making a funny joke。

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