公眾人士

由於泰國局勢緊張,特區政府把曼谷的外遊警示級別提升至紅色,呼籲港人如非必要應避免前往當地。The government has issued a red travel alert for Bangkok. The public are advised to avoid non-essential travel. 這裏的the public即公眾,社會大眾的整體;public的這個用法必須在前面有冠詞the,且不能加上眾數後綴s,因為對於任何一個社會,「公眾」是獨一無二的,正如the world以至the universe一樣。(眾數式publics是有的,但另有解法,不是指社會大眾。)那麼,跟在the public後面的動詞,是否應取單數式呢?在大多數情下確實是的。例如:「The public is confused about climate change.」、「The government should know what the public is angry about.」、「The public is advised to maintain a balanced diet. 」在這些句子裏,the public指的都是社會公眾的整體,隨後的動詞所表述的,都是公眾整體的行為或狀態。

化眾為單

《中國日報》香港版本月1 日社論說:In recent years, there have been wild speculations… about China’s long-term agenda in world affairs,批評有些人毫無根據地質疑中國參與世界事務的長遠意圖(long-term agenda)。文章指這些質疑一部分是出於the hidden agendas of some countries, 某些國家的「不可告人」的目的。

工作與工程

土瓜灣塌樓慘劇令全港舊樓住客成為驚弓之鳥。大角嘴一幢40多年樓齡的商住大廈,住客近日發現牆身上一條裂痕在擴大,懷疑是隔鄰地盤打樁所致。一家英文報章報道:Residents of an old Mong Kok block worried that (their block) too would topple yesterday after a 30cm gap opened up. They said the gap had begun widening when piling work on a construction site started.同一段新聞又說,屋宇署的測量師認為,The block was safe and there was no evidence the gap had widened recently or that it was related to the piling works.

雙重比較

懂得英文文法的人,都知道He has a more bigger house 或者He can run more faster 這樣的說法是錯誤的。這錯誤叫double comparative, 「雙重比較」:bigger 和faster 已是形容詞big 和副詞fast 的比較級,不應再在前面加上more。

一個不能少

對於形容詞few和little,以及它們的比較式fewer和less的用法,文法書都會指出,few用來形容可數名詞(countable nouns),little則形容不可數名詞(uncountable nouns)。例如:There were fewer rainy days last year than normal,但There was less rain last year than normal,因為days可數,rain不可數。