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在學術論文中,哪些單字常被誤用?

2016 / 2 / 11

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在編修論文時,我們發現許多常被誤用的單字。以下列出幾個常見的例子,並說明該單字的正確用法:

Anticipate vs Expect (預期 vs 期望)

Anticipate的意思是預見某事即將發生,並在事前做好充分準備。在此情況下,anticipate(預期)的意思與estimate(估計)、expect(期望)、presume(推測)或predict(預言)不同。例如,「expecting business to pick up」和「anticipating business will pick up」的意思不同。原因是,使用anticipate意味著,店家為了解決問題已有所因應,像是準備了更多存貨,或者雇用更多員工;若使用expect則表示店家期盼生意好轉,但是沒有做任何因應的動作。

範例:

We anticipate a cold winter so we are buying extra coats.

We expect he will arrive at 4:00 p.m.

Dilemma vs Problem (困境 vs 問題)

Dilemma的字首「di-」和diphthong(雙元音)和diarchy(雙頭政治)的字首意思相同,都表示「二的、雙的」。因此,dilemma不僅是指存在已久的問題或難題,而是面臨兩個選擇時,進退兩難的處境。

範例:

Choosing between the conventional approach and Chen’s approach presented us with a dilemma. (Two options)

The problem with the conventional approach is…. (We are not told how many options we have.)

 

Plethora vs Abundance (過多 vs 豐富)

Plethora是指某物過多的狀況,而非只是豐富、充足。這個字源自希臘文full(充滿),因此只能用來描述某物的數量超過所需或可處理範圍的情形。

範例:

He was overwhelmed by the plethora of forms he had to fill out. (Too much – often negative)

The famer had an abundant harvest of carrots. (More than expected – positive)

Refute vs Reject (駁斥 vs 駁回)

Refute的意思是駁斥、反駁,這個字並不是單純的否定或駁回,而是進一步的以證據證明某事無效或錯誤。

範例:

The reviewer provided evidence that refuted the author’s claims. (Proved it wrong)

The editor rejected the paper. (Said no)

Stalemate vs Deadlock (和局 vs 僵局)

對弈發生stalemate(和局)時,棋局便會結束。因此,若要使用stalemate來比喻某件事,只能用來描述會使某事結束的情況,例如:「It ended in a stalemate」(這件事以和局收場)。這個字跟impasse(死路)、bottleneck(瓶頸)或deadlock(僵局)不同,因為這些字都是指暫時且可解決的阻礙,並非永久結束的狀態。

範例:

The discussion of the proposal ended in a stalemate and the participants went home without a resolution. (The discussion of the proposal was stopped forever.)

The discussion of the proposal reached a deadlock before a compromise was found. (The discussion of the proposal stalled and then got started again and agreement was finally reached.)

Travesty vs Tragedy (扭曲 vs 悲劇)

Travesty容易和tragedy搞混,因此常被誤用來形容不好的事物。原先travesty意指裝扮或偽裝某人,使之成為受嘲笑的對象或者用以嘲諷他人。因此,travesty延伸的意思是以古怪荒誕的方式扭曲某事物。例如,「travesty of justice」就是指真實的正義受到扭曲而變得荒謬顛倒,並非只是不好的結果。

範例:

The judge’s decision is a travesty. (Ridiculous and terrible)

The car accident was a tragedy. (Terrible and causing grief)

Invariably vs Often (不變地 vs 時常)

Invariably形容某事「總是」發生,而非只是「經常」發生。因此,形容某人「invariably good at their job」,意思就是他們在工作的每一刻都表現良好。

範例:

The sun invariably rises each morning. (Without exceptions)

He often takes a walk before breakfast. (Usually, but not always)

Collude vs Collaborate (共謀 vs 合作)

Collude只能用在整體上具負面含意的情況,它的意思是plot(密謀)或conspire(同謀),而非只是collaborate(合作)。

範例:

The government officials colluded with the company president to reduce the company’s taxes. (They plotted – negative and often illegal)

The scholars collaborated on their research. (They shared ideas – usually positive)

Ultimately vs Consequently (最終 vs 因此)

Ultimately和consequently並非同義字。重點要記住,ultimate是形容順序上的最後一項。因此,如果某事「ultimately happens」,意思就是這件事在過了很長一段時間或時機成熟時發生了。若某事「consequently happens」,它是指涉因另一件事所造成的結果。

範例:

Ultimately , his proposal was accepted. (In the end)

He was fired from his job. Consequently, he posted his resume online. (As a result)

 

Peruse vs Glance (細讀 vs 掃視)

Peruse真正的意思是仔細閱讀,與study(研讀)和pore(熟讀)同義,而非指skim(瀏覽)或glance over(略讀)。舉例來說,「peruse the magazines when you’re in a doctor’s waiting room」(某人在候診室閱讀雜誌),這種情境句我們會建議使用glance over或skim來取代peruse。

範例:

He perused the research article carefully.

He glanced at the clock.

Disinterested vs Uninterested (公正無私 vs 漠不關心)

若用disinterested來形容某人,表示他對於某事並沒有利害關係且沒有涉及某事,因此可以保持完全客觀公正的態度。如果用uninterested來形容某人,那麼他只是對那件事不怎麼感興趣,而表現出漠不關心的樣子。

範例:

The judge was unbiased and disinterested in the outcome of the case.

The students were uninterested in finishing their homework.

Enormity vs Enormous (窮兇惡極 vs 巨大的)

Enormity容易與enormous(巨大的)混淆,因此常常被當作sizableness(龐大)或immensity(廣大)的同義字,但是這個用法並不正確。Enormity指壞事的可怕,只能用在負面的情況。因此,我們可以說「the enormity of a person’s crime」(某人罪大惡極),但不可以說「the enormity of the crowd at a music festival」(音樂節的人潮眾多)。

範例:

He realized enormity of the situation. (He realized how terrible the situation was)

He farmer grew an enormous pumpkin. (It was very big)

Effectively vs Basically (有效 vs 基本上)

Effectively意思是「to good effect」(達到良效),而不是「in effect」(實際上),因此使用上不應與basically(基本上)同義。所以,當有人說「Jaws 2 effectively repeated the first film」,他的意思是〈大白鯊2〉製作成功、效果良好,暗示這是一部好電影。

範例:

He effectively managed his department. (He managed well)

Basically , I agree with you. (I agree with the majority of what you say except for a few details)

Venerable vs Old 令人敬佩的 vs 年老的)

Venerable不只是用來形容old(年老、老舊的)或ancient(古老的),而是指值得尊敬或尊重的。

範例:

The venerable old building stood at the end of the street. (Old, respected and with a rich history)

The old man crossed the street. (He’s just old)

Fortuitous vs Fortunate (偶然的 vs 幸運的)

Fortuitous和fortunate並不是同義字,前者是指「偶然的發生」,而後者是指「幸運的發生」。所以,「bumping into someone fortuitously」(偶然地遇到某人)可能是好事,也可能是壞事;但是「bumping into them fortunately」(幸運地遇到某人)指的一定是好事。

範例:

A fortuitous event brought them together. (By chance)

Fortunately , they brought enough water for the trip. (Lucky)

Nonplussed vs Unperturbed (不知所措 vs 鎮定自若)

Nonplussed意思是困惑的,或者過於驚嚇而不知該如何反應。由於nonplussed字首是non-,因此常被誤用為unperturbed(鎮定自若)或unimpressed(不為所動)的同義字,但實際上nonplussed與這兩個字的意思完全相反。

範例:

The surprising event left him nonplussed. (Shocked and not knowing what to do)

The surprising event left him unperturbed. (Undisturbed and unsurprised)

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