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常用英语惯用语辨析

发表时间:2006年12月28日 来源:四六级考试网

一个人学习英语,总在学习词语,或扩大词语量。阅读时,要认识词语;造句或写作时,要运用词语。词语是有生命的,是活动的,不是孤立的。而我们往往因为语言、文化上的不习惯,在日常的英语应用上遇到一些容易弄错的字眼,如果不加辨别,极易出现误译,造成误会甚至闹出笑话。下面就是一些生活中常见的例子。

(1)no standing与free-standing:

no standing意思是不准在此停车(即使司机还在车上也不行),也就是"don't stop"或"no car at all",通常用在大城市交通十分拥挤的地方。至于"no parking",意思也是不准在此停车,但司机还可以坐在车里一段时间,必要时,可随时移动车子,也就是"you may stay in your car for a short period of time"。例如:

In New York City there are many"no standing"signs posted on the streets.
在纽约市,路上有许多"不准停车"的牌子。

"No parking"signs sprang up around the school campus in America.
美国校园里出现一些"不准停车"的路牌。

但是free-standing(adj,in dividual or separate building for a specific purpose),意思是独立式的,多指为特别用途而盖的单独建筑物或指一大建筑物的某种装饰。例如:

There is a new free-standing restaurant near the down town area.
在市中心区附近有座新的独立餐馆。

(2)break the house与 housebreak:

housebreak(to train pets to live proper hygiene at home)是指训练狗、猫等宠物,使其能在指定的地点大、小便,以保持家里的卫生。例如:

Pet owners should housebreak their dogs and cats.
宠物主人应该训练狗猫的卫生习惯。

但是"break the house"的意思是damage the house。例如:
Accidentally, he broke the house by backing up his car.
他倒车时,意外碰坏了房子。

(3)kick off 与 tip off:

kick off(officially start or beg in something)(有时也指球赛)意思是指任何事情的正式开始。例如:

Our school has recently kicked off a mass fundraising campaign .
我们学校最近发起一次大规模的筹款运动。

但是,tip off(the beginning of official basketball game)虽然也指开始,不过多半是指篮球开赛前,裁判开球让两边球员争球。例如:

The players tipped off the basketball game at 2:00 yesterday afternoon .
篮球赛于昨天下午两点开始。

to tip somebody off(to inform somebody)意思是通知某人。

(4)in line与on the line:

in line有许多意义,但最常见的意思是服从,不越轨,或按次序(obey,con trol or in the order)。例如:

The government is trying to keep the price of gas in line.
政府正设法控制汽油的价格。反之,out of line就是出格,不妥或举止不当。例如:

His opinions are out of line with reality.
他的意见是不合实际的。然而,(something)on the line意思又是"以某种事物为赌注或冒险"。例如:

Many police have put their lives on the line.
许多警察都冒着生命的危险。

If you continue to be hostile toward me,our friendship will be on the line.
假如你继续与我敌对,我们的友谊就有危险。

on-line指自动化,电脑化。例如:

All the libraries in the U.S.are on- line.美国所有图书馆都是电脑化。

(5)gifted child与exceptional child:

gifted child一般是指IQ很高的孩子;美国中、小学也有gifted and talented program(简称G and T program),现在也叫 magnet program。但是exceptional child是指特殊儿童,可能是指IQ很高,
也可能指 low IQ,除非在句子里特别说明,否则一般老外倒认为是智商较低或retarded child。例如:

There are many gifted children in her class.
她班上有很多智商很高的孩子。

注:美国政府对低能孩子的教育,反而十分重视,因为政府希望低能学生也能成为社会有用的份子。
They can be more productive members of society.

(6)block out与black out:

to block out(to plan something ahead)意思是草拟大纲或订出某种计划。例如:

Her boss prefers her to block out her annual vacation time.
老板要她订出每年度假的时间。

但是black out的意思,多半是指停电(no electricity)。例如:

This block was blacked out for hours last night.
这个街区昨晚停电几个小时。

California has experienced many black-outs this year.
今年加州多次停电。

(7)off course与of course:

off course(out of line or in a wrong direction ;not in the designated area)意思是偏离方向或越出指定的范围。例如:

The ship was 200 international nautical miles off course.
那船偏离航向200国际海里。

反之,"on course"(right direction)就是正确方向。例如:

Presiden t Bush is trying to put American economy on course.
布什总统设法使美国经济走上正轨。

但是"of course"意思是当然或自然(as a matter of fact)。例如:

Of course ,we will have turkey for Thanksgiving.
感恩节我们当然要吃火鸡。

They,of course,are excellent students in my class.
他们当然是我班上最好的学生。

(8)wanted poster与 want ad:
wanted poster通常是指通缉公告。例如:

I saw several FBI wanted posters in the city.
我在城里看到几张联邦调查局的通缉布告。

但是want ad多半是指报纸杂志刊登的人找事或事找人的广告。例如:

If you need a job,check the want ads in the newspaper.

He got a job through a newspaper want ad.
他从报纸的广告里找到一份工作。

至于,"help wanted"是指"需要帮手"(need a helper),而"job wanted"是指"需要工作"
(need a job)。例如:

I will put a help wanted ad in our local newspaper.
我要在地方报纸上刊登广告找帮手。

(9)to tidy up与to tie up:

to tidy up意思是整理或清理(to clean up)。例如:

He is tidying up his garage.(desk, car,etc.)
他正在清理车库。

至于"to tie up loose ends"(to finish up something)又是一个十分常用的短语,意思是收拾零碎东西或完成某事。例如:

I have to tie up loose ends be fore immigrating to Canada.
我移民到加拿大前,必须办完零碎事情。(诸如打行李包等)

Prior to her retirement,she has to tie up loose ends.
她在退休前必须办完一些零碎的事情。

(10)Surgeon General与chief surgeon:
Surgeon General是美国公共卫生部部长,也就是掌握美国三军、联邦、州政府大众健康的最高官员(chief medical officer for the U.S.public health services)(也许因为与美国军队有关,故用
"general")。例如:
The Surgeon General was appointed by the President of the U.S..
美国公共卫生部部长是由总统任命。

但是,chief surgeon是指一般医院的手术室主任。

Normally,the chief surgeon will perform the most delicate operations.
通常手术室主任施行最复杂的手术。