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表示“二十”的score惯用法小议
作者:倪肖丁    文章来源:本站原创    点击数:    更新时间:2016/8/25    
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表示二十score惯用法小议

 

西安  倪肖丁

 

表示二十score在现代英语中已不常见。但国内出版的一些辞书和大量的教辅却常常介绍其用法。遗憾的是,这些书刊多采用人云亦云的态度而疏于自己独立严谨的探究,其结论往往经不起推敲。比如:

1.《高一英语教材全解全析(下)》(天津人民出版社2003)认为:hundred, thousand, million等词前有确定的数字时,后面不能接of短语。而表示score则可以和of连用。如three score of eggs(六十个鸡蛋)

2.《初高中英语考点难点详解词典》(黑龙江人民出版社2002)认为:Three score of people were sent there to help fight against the flood一句中的three score of people可以接受。

3《薄冰高中英语语法》(山西教育出版社,2007)有一选择题如下:

How many boys are there in your class?

There are _________ boys.

 A. two scores    B. two scores of    C. two scores of the    D. two score of

原书提供的标准答案为D. two score of

甚至国内出版的一些重要的大型工具书也有类似表述。例如:

4. two score of men, three score of eggs 《英语惯用法大词典》(吕志士,袁锡兴,中国科学技术出版社,1994

5. three score of people  60个人 《英汉大词典》(陆谷孙,上海译文出版社,1998

6. two score of eggs 《新世纪英语用法大词典》(王文昌,上海外语教育出版社,1999

那么,类似three score of eggstwo score of boys这样的短语真的符合英语的习惯用法吗?教学和阅读的实践使笔者对此心存疑虑,并在英文原文书刊中寻找这一问题的答案。

因为表示二十score在现代英语中已经很少用到,故笔者在英文书刊中查到的例证为数不多。有些来自英文辞书,例如:

(01) We ordered three score (=60) boxes. (CIDE)

(02) According to the Bible we can expect to live for three score (threescore) years and ten. (=70 years) (DCE)

(03) The company already has around four score titles commissioned and planned for publication.(CCED)

(04) And the days of our lives shall be three score years and ten. (The Oxford Thesaurus-An A-Z Dictionary of Synonyms)

(05) He had lived for three score years and ten. (MED)

有些源自英文书刊。例如:

(06) Much as John F. Kennedy did more than two score years ago, Kerry called on Americans to follow his lead and serve their country, if not in uniform, then in service to the needy and the young. (Washington Post, July 24, 2004; Page A04)

(07) At the time of his death, J. P. Miller, the name he used in print, had about two score books for young children in circulation, including "Follow Me" (1998) and a version of "The Little Red Hen," which he first illustrated half a century ago.New York Times, November 29, 2004

(08) Four score security guards and policemen dotted the boundary at intervals, protecting the field from those dangerous, marauding spectators. (Guardian.com, Friday 5 January 2007)

(09) Having suspected the scoundrels meant to raid my herd, I'd buried two score men in the nearby heather. (Border Wedding, 2008)

当然,最著名的当属林肯在《葛底斯堡演讲》中的一段话:

(10) Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” ...

从上述例证可以看出,没有一例在数词+score”后使用介词of,因此不能证明上述短语的正确性,反而鼓励了我们对其的质疑。

尽管英语语法或惯用法专著中很难找到对这一问题的专门论述,但著名的英语惯用法专家和辞书编撰者A.S. Hornby的确对此有过论及。根据《巧解君之疑—A.S.荷恩毕现代英语问答》(西安交通大学出版社,1988)的介绍,英国English Language Teaching杂志的读者曾经向Hornby提问:英国人说two score eggs还是two score of eggs? Hornby回答说:这两种形式英国人都不说。因为在英国用于计量鸡蛋的单位词是dozen,而不是score 但是如果要用score表示twenty,应该说There were not above two score people present(出席者没超过40人),score后面不用of。只有在那些习惯上专门用score来计数的物品前,才会用介词of,比如有人说five score of herring (100条鲱鱼)。另外,在代词前总是要用of,如several score of them

美国著名语法专家Bergen Evans Cornelia Evans在其A Dictionary Of Contemporary American Usage 一书中也认为:前面有数字时,score相当于形容词,后面不用of,除非后接特指的群体中的一部分。(原文摘录如下:When preceded by a numeral, score is treated as a cardinal number. That is, it is treated as an adjective and used without of, as in threescore years and ten and six score thousand persons, except when referring to part of a specified group, as in two score of them. The plural form scores is never used with a numeral.

    鉴于上述例句、论述以及我们自己的阅读和学习实践,对于表score用法,大体上可以明确以下几点:

1. 除了圣经和林肯演讲等特殊语境之外,现代英语中表示score用的很少,修饰egg更属生搬硬套,不符合英语习惯用法。

2. dozen, hundred, thousand等词一样,前面有数字时score不能用复数形式,后面也不能加of;但在修饰代词或被限定的名词时,score后面要用of,如two score of them

3. 固定短语a score of 修饰名词或代词都符合惯用法,既可表示,也可表示概数很多。例如:

She has written more than a score of books. [=more than 20 books]WALD

Our coach was escorted by a score of policemen.CCED

There were a score of them at a table apart. (The Oxford Guide to English Usage)

4. dozen, hundred, thousand的复数形式一样,scores of 符合习惯用法。例如:

Scores of people tried desperately to gatecrash the party.CCED

以上是笔者对表示二十score一词用法的一点心得。不当之处,恳请指正。

 

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