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中国人使用英语常见错误分析

Can we remember….“firmly”
常有人把我将牢牢记住他的言行写成
I shall remember firmly what he said and done.
汉语可以说牢牢记住,但firmly却不能跟remember搭配。常和remember搭配的副clearly, perfectly, thoroughly, vividly等等。譬如:We remember vividly your visit to our college. Firmly的基本意思是steadfastly, resolutely, solidly(坚定、坚决、牢固地),如果用在下面句子里就没问题了
: We firmly support your struggle for justice.

Never too old to learnIt is never too old to learn哪个对?
《新概念英语》第二册第85课的题目是Never too Old to Learn.这就是大家所熟悉的活到老学到老学无止境。我曾要我的学生把这个短语添上两个字成为一个句子,也可以改动一下,但意思定要保持不变,结果出现了如下三个答案:
It is never too old to learn.
One is never too old to learn.
It is never too late to learn.
第一句显然不对,因为它非驴非马;如果it表示时间,总不能说时间吧!如果it是先行it,to learn is never too old也讲不通吧!因为old是人的属性,无法和to learn连系起来。活到老学到老有意思;不管人多老都有东西可学;什么时候学习都不晚。所以后两句是对的。

Last最近过去的
Last
后面跟着季、月、日的时候,不总是去年的某季、某月或上周的星期几

Last
最近过去的。假定今天是520日星期四,所说”last Monday”是指517日那天的星期一,而不是指510日那个星期一。同样,如果现在是5月,所说last March,是指今年的3月,而不是去年的3月。当然,如果现在是5月,要说last November,就是指去年的11月了。顺便说一下,很多学生喜欢在last Monday(Tuesday…)前面加介词on,这是错误的,但却可以说on Monday(Tuesday….) last; 如果是月份,不能说in last April, in 应去掉,但可以说in April last; “去年的某月“in….last year”, in April last year
请勿过多用Introduce
Native speakers
认为中国人过多地用introduce。譬如I’d like to tell you something about our school就是我愿向你介绍一下我们学校的的情况。介绍书刊报纸时也不该用introduce,要用recommend;这里的介绍不仅要使对方知道,有推荐的意思。Introduce介绍不相识的人认识。用recommend有时也需要介词to,如:

Professor Li strongly recommended Essential English Dictionary to us.

切忌用中指指人或物
大家知道,手势语不仅仅是聋哑人的语言。不同异议的反映在手势语上。譬如:我们手指着鼻子,意思是,很多西方国家的人就不懂。难怪一个美国留学生第一次见到中国学生用手指着鼻子,还以为他要谈那鼻子,因为西方人往往是指着胸口来表示。又譬如:用手指表示数字一至五,西方人可以理解,但我们手势中的六、七、八等,他们就不懂。中国喝酒划挙(finger game)已经引起西方人的好奇,那表示数字的手势就更令他们困惑不解了。在日常生活中他们通常不用手势来表示五以上的数。又譬如:大姆指朝上,表示,但大姆指朝下则表示糟透了。还有用大姆指指尖相接,伸直其余三个指头,表示OK,正常顺利没问题,这可能有部分学习英语的人不懂。而我们有时用大姆指放在小指尖上,表示不怎样一点点等贬意,西方人看了也莫明其妙。再譬如:伸出食指和中指,成V形,表示 victory,这大家可以理解;但有时西方人两只手食指和中指都伸出,并且弯动,这就不是表示胜利,更不是双喜,而是引用别人话的引号,这中国手势语中是没有的。英语中有cross one’s fingers keep one’s fingers crossed的短语;就是把中指与食指交叉,以期待好运。我们可以这样用这个短语:
Jimmy kept his fingers crossed when he was telling his mother a lie.
Jimmy跟他妈妈撒谎时交叉中指和食指暗祝谎言不露馅。)
They’re leaving for an international contest tomorrow. Let’s cross our fingers for them.
(他们明天动身去参加国际比赛,让我们祝愿他们比赛成功。)
另一个有的手势语是招和示意别人过来。我们是举手,掌心朝下,上下挥动手指;English-speaking people是伸出手,掌心朝上,捏拢四指,前后弯动食指。而在我们许多人看来这种示意别人过来的形体语言不礼貌,是用来呼唤佣人或地位低下的人的。
有一个动作我们不少人不理解是什么意思。有时native speakers说着说着突然用手摸一下木制家具,或者别人听着听着说句Touch wood来提醒说话人赶紧碰一下木制品。这又是为什么呢?原来古代英国的住房是用木头建造的,当时人们认为用力敲击墙壁,发出的响声能把邪魔和恶运驱赶走,就 像中国人放鞭炮一样。而在现代生活中,木墙已不多见,只有抚摸木制家具了,这样也能达到避邪的目的。譬如:刚说完I haven’t had a cold ever since last winter就赶紧摸一下木头,不然说不定没几天就可能感冒病倒。又譬如:说完My wife and I have bee hitting it off so well that we’ve never quarreled(我和我爱人和睦相处从没吵过架)也得touch wood,否则说不定明后天夫妻俩就会沙个难分难解。
在手势语中,最忌讳的就是用中指指向人或指着东西。我们注意到有些老师无意识地用中指指黑板上的字或画。在英语国家,中指代表男子的生殖器官,伸中指是个下流动作。
由此可见,我们使用手势语时要考虑对方是否能接受;同样还要懂得英语国家常用的手势语,它也是文化的组成部分。

“Aiya”不是英语的拟声词,“My mother”!也不是英语的惊叹词
拟声是语言的组成部分,各国文化习惯各异,不少拟声词只属一国所持有。在使用表达情绪的拟声词和惊叹必须从英美读者的角度来考虑他们是否能理解。譬如下面这句话里的“Aiya”就值得商榷,“Aiya, I was really taken in…”(引自《鲁迅选集》第一卷英译本,Selected Works of Lu Hsun, Vol.1).除了我们所熟悉的Oh! My God!外,英语中常见的exclamations 如下:
英语拟声词和惊叹词 表达的感情或感觉或当时的情景
Ah!
羡慕,满意
Aha!
满意,愉快,胜利
Ahem!
唤起注意
Alas!
遗憾,悲痛,不幸
Bah!
轻蔑,厌恶
Brrr!
寒冷
Darn!(Darn it!)
愤怒,失望
Eeeek!
害怕
For goodness sake!
惊奇,害怕
Gad!
惊奇,不赞同
Gee!
惊奇,赞美
God!(Good god! Great God!
惊奇,恐惧
My God! Oh, God!)

Good gracious! 惊奇,恼怒
Goodness!
惊奇,害怕,恼怒
Gosh!
惊奇
Heaven forbid!
惊奇,害怕
Heaven help me!
惊奇,害怕
(Good) Heavens!
惊奇,害怕
Help!
求助
Hey!
惊奇,喜悦,疑问,或唤起注意
Hmmm!
思考
Ho(a)!
惊奇,满足,喜悦或唤起注意
I’ll be darned!
惊奇
Jesus(Christ)!
不满意,失望,痛苦,惊恐
Look out!
警告
Mmmm!
品尝满意
Mercy!
惊奇
Mercy me!
惊奇
My!
惊奇,羡慕
My,my!
惊奇
My goodness!
惊奇,害怕
My word!
惊奇
Oh!
惊奇,诧异,害怕,疼痛
Oh, boy!
激动,惊奇,惊喜(男女都可说)
Oh, dear!
惊奇
Oh,my!
惊奇,羡慕
Oh, no!
害怕,惊奇,失望
Oho!
惊奇
Oh-oh!
遇到不顺心的事
Ouch
疼痛
Ow!
疼痛
Oh, well!
无可奈何
Psst!
唤起注意
Say!
唤起注意,或想起什么
<b>shoot</b>!
愤怒,厌恶,沮丧
Thank God!
宽慰,感谢
Thank goodness!
感谢
Tsk-tsk!
不赞同
Tut-tut!
不满,不耐烦
Ugh!
厌恶
Unbelievable!
惊讶
Watch it!
警告
Watch out!
警告
Well!
惊奇,宽慰
Well, I never!
惊奇,愤怒
Well,well!
惊奇
Whew!
如释重负
Whoopee!
高兴
Whoop!
欣喜,兴奋,或因手脚笨拙而感到尴尬
Wow!
诧异,惊讶,羡慕,快乐
Yuck
厌恶
多用些将来进行时
《高校英语专业综合测试解》中有这样一道要求做出最佳选择的题。
A: Could you give this book to Mr. Chen?
B:Certainly,_________him about something else in any case, so it won’t be any bother.
(当然可以,一点儿也不麻烦,我反正得跟他谈别的事。)
供选择的答案是:1. I’ll see, 2. I see, 3. I can see, 4.I’ll be seeing
肯定不会有人去选择23;问题是14似乎都对,但如果要求是做出最佳选择,究竟是1还是4呢?这涉及到将来进行时的问题。就将来进行时而言,中国英语学习者远不如native speakers用得频繁。我可以毫不夸张地说,很多人英语学了多年,除了练习时要求用将来进行时以外,自己从未自觉地,凭语感用过这个时态。

将来进行时除了可以用来表示将来某一个时刻正在进行的活动,如:
I will be bathing in the sun on the beach today next week.
(下星期的今天我将在沙滩晒太阳。)
Most probaly we whall be traveling in Europe next summer.
(很有可能明年夏天我们在欧洲旅游。)
将来有一个颇为重要的用法,一般语法书强调不够。实际上,在口语中这个时态经常用来表明说话人主观上有强烈的愿望要某事在将来的某个时间内发生,或主观上认为肯定会发生,这时句子里并个时刻的时间状语。譬如,朋友在你家小住,临别时你可以问:
When will you come again?
or
When will you be coming again?
我们可能觉得差别不大,但native speakers会认为第一句近乎你以后还来不来?而第二句,几乎在问几月几号再来?很显然,第一句表现出主人的礼貌,而第二句则表现了主人的热情,客人听了当然会高兴,因为主人用了这个时态就表明了他有这种愿望要客人再来这一事实实现。在这种情况下,native speakers会很自然地选择将来进行时,这就是我们常说的语感,也正是我们应该学习模仿的地方。难怪我们经常听到native speakers说:I’ll be seeing you. I’ll be calling you again. I’ll be waiting for you. Where shall we be waiting?同样的意思,如果用一般将来时,并不会得罪对方,但可能效果差些。
现在再回到那个小对话。我相信读者现在一定有把握地选择答案4了吧!

Must have done不属于虚拟语气的范畴
学过虚拟语气的人都知道,表示与过去事实相反的虚拟语气主句中的谓语根据情况从以下五个复合谓语中选择:
should/would/might/could/ought to have done
Must have done
虽然与上述结构相似,但它不用在虚拟语气的句子里。以下是常见的错句:
Wrong:If you had come earlier,you must have met her.
Wrong:If I had listened to you,I must have succeeded.
Must have done
是个常用的表达形式,表示说话人的揣测,认为某事肯定发生过,它相当于汉语中的想必是想必曾谅必是谅必曾。譬如:
Did it really take you three hours to finish the test paper? The test must have been very difficult.
(你真的花了三个钟头才交卷吗?那测验想必很难。)
Where’s my dictionary? Let me see···. I must’ve left it in the reading room.
(我的字典的呢,让我想想。。。必是忘在阅览室了。)
Must have done
之所以不能用于虚拟语气,就因为它表示的内容说话人认为是个已经发生的事实。而虚拟语气表示的却是没有发生的事情。下面两句话都是正确的:
If you had come earlier, you would/might/could have met her. If I had listened to you, I should/would/might/could have succeeded.
用来表示虚拟语气的五个复合谓语之间还是有区别的,这一点初学者不易注意。Should have done, would have done, might have done意思很接近,表示本来可以”;would have done用在第一人称已为现代英语所常见;could have done则表示本来有能力可以should have done还可以理解为本来应该,它与ought to have done的不同,像should doought to do的区别一样,前者表示道义上的应该,后者表示责任上的应该。例如有人对孩子的父母说:You ought to have sent him to school.(你们本该送他上学。)或者老师对学生说:You ought to have handed in your composition three days ago.(你们三天前就该把作文交上来。)这里用ought to have doneshould have done要好,因为侧重的是家长和老师责任上的应该
有时初学者把不该用虚拟语气的部分也用了虚拟语气,请看这句表示与现在事实相反的句子:
Wrong: If I knew where she were now,I would tell you.
(我要是知道她此刻在哪儿,我会告诉你的。)
要用虚拟语气的只是谓语动词knowtell,而从句where she is now该用什么时态就用什么时态。
最难掌握的现在完成时
请大家看这段话:
The doctor asked me what the trouble was and I explained that day and the previous one I had had a violent headache.
(大夫问我有什么不舒服,我解释说那天和前一天我头疼得厉害。)
如果要求把这段间接引语改成医生和病人之间的对话,相当一部分人会这样改:
Doctor: What’s the trouble?
Patient: I’ve had a violent headache today and yesterday.
很显然,病人说的英语中的现在完成时所最忌讳的。不管汉语怎么说,只要出现表示过去的时间状语,就跟现在完成时无缘了。在理论上,中国英语学习者懂得现在完成时和现在有密切联系,强调动作或状态对现在的影响,因此不能有表示过去时间状语,哪怕只是十万分之一秒的过去,但是往往因为本族语的影响作祟而把三个月前我就看了这个电影了脱口而译成错误的I’ve seen this film three months ago.
刚才那句病人说的话可以有不同的改法,譬如:

I’ve had a violent headache for two days.
I’ve had a violent headache since yesterday.
I began to have a violent headache yesterday, and it’s still with me.
第二个常犯错误是把when用在含有现在完成时的问句里,如:
When have you talked with her?
如果疑问句是现在完成时,所有疑问句,除了when都能用;当然各个疑问使用的频率不一样。如果有时间状语,要么表示在一段时间内某个延续动作或状态,要么表示在一段延续的时间内某个动作完成的情况。譬如:
I’ve been here for almost half an hour.
We’ve worked here since January.
We’ve planted three thousand trees in the past week.
when 表示某点时间,没有延续性。因此,刚才三句话只能用how long提问。注意第三句话不该这样提问:During how long have you planted three thousand trees?因为没有during how long这一说法。疑问句可以是:How long has it taken you to plant three thousand tree?
有一点请大家注意:一般情况下 when不和现在完成时连用,可有时也确实碰上When have you read the book?When have you been there?这样的问句,那是一种修辞手法,形式和内容上形成对立。尽管问句的形式是肯定的,实际上强调的否定陈述句。既然是修辞问句的一种表现形式,也就无需回答。所以When have you read the book?相当于你什么时候看过这本书来着?这是一种强烈的反问口气,也就等于说
You’ve never read the book.
第三个常犯错误是在带有延续性的时间状语的句子里用非延续性动词。譬如:

He’s come back for three days表示他已经回来三天了。用I’ve joined the army for two years来表示我已经参军两年了
英语中的非延续性动词,就像出膛的子弹,要么击中目标,要么落在地上,总之要有归宿,不能延续。所以碰到这种情况时不要受汉语的干扰,要用别的形式来表达。刚才那两句话可分别为:
He’s been back for three days.
I’ve been in the army for two years.
另一个错误是时间状语从句用after引出,主句时态却是完成时态。如:
After he made the mistake he has always been very careful.
或者把after换成since;或者主句动词用一般过去时。因为after表示前后关系,某种情况可以在after引出的情况之后任何时间内发生。
单数动词还是复数动词
下面的话题是:主语如果是名词,该用单数动词还是复数动词?你们可能会说:就看名词是单数还是复数呗!不,有时问题不是那么简单;我们可能判断不出哪个是主语,分不清主语的数而出现错误。譬如:
A box of eggs__________ on the table.
该用is还是are?
应该是is,因为主语是a box。但我们却说:

A box of eggs are needed for their breakfast.
又譬如:
A group of boys_______ going to sing.
也该用单数动词。但我们可以说
A group of boys are happily singing there.
这里讲的不是整体。由此可见,只从a box of eggsa group of boys来判断动词的数,有时还不够,还要看句子的其他内容。
下面三句话,虽都有插入万分,但对主语没有影响,因而还应该用单数动词:
John, as well as Edward, is good at basketball.
Mrs. Clark, with her three children, is waiting in the car.
Mr. Andersen, together with some friends and neighbours, is planning a celebration.
这里的as well as, with, together with不同于and;即使短语不以插入成分的形式出现,也不能按汉语的概念来决定动词的数。例如句子错用了were,应该是was;
A woman with a baby in her arms were walking with difficulty in the street.
如果主语被视做行为或状态一致整体,就用单数动词。譬如:

The audience was applauding enthusiastically.
(观众热烈鼓掌。)
The choir sings in church every Sunday.
(唱诗班每星期天都在教堂唱诗。)
如果要表示整体中的各个部分各自进行的活动,就用复数动词,如:
The audience have taken their seats.
The choir have all studied in a college of music.
下面这段话如用单数动词和单数代词就不妥,因为这里表示的是一群歹徒各自的行动:
The mob are throwing stones at the shop windows; the police have been called in to deal with them.(
一伙歹徒用石块砸店铺玻璃窗,召来警察对付他们。)
有必要提一下,虽然the police通常不指具体的警察,而是警方警察力量,总是用复数动词。用单数动词是初学者常犯的错误。正确的英语是:
The police are searching for the bank robbers.
(警察正在搜捕银行抢劫犯。)
The police know almost everything about him.
如果主语是表示物的集合名词,通常用单数动词,因为构成一个集体的各个部分被认为是没有能力进行活动的。譬如:
The whole bunch of flowers has been scattered on the floor.
(整束花散落在地上。)
A suite of rooms has been reserved for the distinguished guests.
(已经为贵宾预订了一个套间。)
由两个或两个以上的人或物用and连接而组成的主语,如果表示的是一个整体或组合的概念,这时要用单数动词。例如:
Soup and salad is too light a lunch.
(午餐光有汤和沙拉太清淡了。)
Playing the piano and singing is difficult.
(边弹琴边唱不容易。)
Ham and eggs is my favorite breakfast.
(我早餐最喜欢吃火腿蛋。)
在下面两种情况中,动词习惯上是根据最邻近的名词或代词来决定本身数的形式,这在语法上称之为主谓一致的邻近吸引原则,例如:
More than one method has been tried.
(试了不止一种方法。)
More than one student has told me about her cheating in the test.
(不止一个学生告诉我她测验做弊的事。)
从逻辑上说,more than a/one肯定是复数概念,但因为动词紧跟着单数名词method,student,它们似乎成为句子的主语了。
除了more than a/one外,many a…当主语时,谓语动词也用单数,因为它必须和紧邻的单数名词相一致。譬如:
Many a village has been flooded.
(许多村庄被大水淹了。)
Many a useful idea was first thought of by chance.
(很多建设性意见起初只是偶然的。)

There+be结构
用引导词there开头,以动词be为谓语的结构是英语的常用结构。初学者很早就学过,但为什么有人一到表示桌上有个苹果往往先想到An apple is on the table,而不是There is an apple on the table呢?原因是不了解这两种表达法各自所侧重的意思。An apple is on the table侧重表示一个苹果在桌上而不是在树上在地上等等;而There is an apple on the table则是侧重表示桌子上存在着一个苹果,也就是桌子上有个苹果,而不是别的什么东西。
使用there be这个结构时一个最常见的错误是句子除了be外,出现了另一个不能用等立连词连接的谓语动词。譬如:
There are only two people in our company know English.
应该改为:
There are only two people in our company who know English.
又譬如:
There is a tall monument stands at the centre of the square.
应改为:
There is a tall monument which stands at the centre of the square.
Or
There is a tall monument standing at the center of the square.

有时却能听到人说There’s a gentleman wants to see you.由于表示这个意思的话经常说,就把who省略了。初学者最好不要模仿,以免养成习惯。
There+be+no+
动名词的结构比较常用,有人错误地把no理解为没有,而正确的意思是不可能,例如:
There is no denying the fact that their team is much better than ours.
(他们队比我们实力强得多,这一事实无可否认。)
knowing, telling, saying后面经常跟疑问句词开头的句子。如:
There is no knowing what may happen.
(无法知道会发生什么。)
There is no knowing what may happen.
(无法预料她会去哪儿。)
There is no saying how long the bad weather is going to last.
(这糟糕天气还要持续多久是个未知数。)
习惯用法There + be +no+动名词和There +be +no doubt/good/question等的结构不同。后一种句型里的no表示没有。例如:
There was no doubt that there was something wrong between them.
There is no point in arguing with her.(
跟她争论没有意义。)
There is no question about it.
(那没问题。)

用这种句式最常见的错误是用it替代there。下面的句子都不正确:
Wrong: It is no doubt that they will succeed.
Wrong: It is no question that you can get a ticker for the concert.
句子里的it都要换成there, 但是如果是no good/no use, there it 都可以。譬如:
It is no good telling her about it.
There is no good telling her about it.
It is no use complaining.
(埋怨于事无补。)
There is no use complaining.

She’s always losing her key算是什么英语语法
有的学生看到书上的句子She’s always losing her key不怎么回事。总不能说她此刻总是在丢钥匙吧!
我们说这是地地道道的英语。在讲解之前,请大家多看些例句:
1. He is always arguing with his classmates.
2. John is always asking silly questions.
3. Robert was constantly misunderstanding other.
4. I don’t know why you are forever finding fault with me.
5. Mary is continually forgetting things.
6. He was perpetually day-dreaming.
7. What’s he asking for this time?
我们会发现,除了第七句,都有表示频率的副词,如always, constantly(经常不断地), forever, continually, perpetually(永远)。
这些句子表示了某种思想、情绪、行为的反复发生,同时流露了说话人的情绪,如不满、厌烦、讥讽等。这时进行时已经没有正在进行的意思。因此,上面的例句应分别理解为:
1.
他老爱跟同学争辩。
2. John
老提一些不该问的问题。
3. Robert
总是误解别人
4.
我不明白你干嘛老是找我的碴儿。
5. Mary
总是丢三落四。
6.
他总是没完没了地做白日梦。
7.
他这次又要什么?(言外之意;他屡有所求。)
英国教材First Certificate in English Course(《第一证书英语教程》)3课有这样一句与上述句型相似的英语:The evening party was to have started at ten o’clock but by nine o’clock many of the guests were already arriving.有的学生(已习惯把already用在完成时的句子里)认为不对,提出already怎能和进行时连用呢?原来,这种习惯表达法表示:一个行为已经发生,以后另一个行为发生时,头一个行为仍在进行。使用这一句型时,通常要表示出另一行为的时间。譬如:
When I went downstairs, they were already eating breakfast.
他们吃早餐的行为在我下楼前发生的,而我下楼时,他们仍在用餐。
It was still five days before the carnival; however, tourists were already coming in large numbers.
(离狂欢节还有5天,可大批旅游者已经来了。)
At seven o’clock the students we4re already getting up.