第1232章 机会_英文疑难详解_宠文网
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第1232章 机会

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在Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English的665页上,有“A number of books(= some books)is missing from the library.”一例,为什么要接单数动词呢?括弧内说主语等于some books,这分明是复数,自应接复数动词才对。请就a number of的用法,加以说明。

【解答】依照Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language上的解释是:a number of = several or many,意为“许多”,所以它后面必须接复数名词或代名词;既然是指的数,而且是指的多数,不是指的量,动词自然也应该用复数动词才合理,但老派的英国人因受a的牵引,也有用单数动词的,如问题中所提出的例子。不过多数的文法家,都认为用单数动词不算正当,因为逻辑上说不通。如能自圆其说,也就勉强可被接受了。例如:

(a)An increasing number of students have made use of the library.

(b)An increasing number of students has made it necessary to keep more copies of the same books.

第一句的(a)例着重在“更多的学生”,第二句的(b)例着重“学生数的增加”。

在The New Century Dictionary上举有a number of complaints were made一例。又在Concise Dictionary of American Grammar and Usage(by Whitford & Foster,1955)及Writer’s Guide and Index to English(by P. G. Perrin, 1965)上都说a number of应接复数动词,the number of后面才要接单数动词,并举有例句如下:

A number of members are absent.(会员多数未到。)

The number of members is alarming.(会员人数可惊。)

这用法是比较合理而又正确的。若有人问我“What is the number of your house?”,我便将回答说:“The number of my house is 28.”。所指的是一个数目,当然应接单数动词,再举其他的例:

The number of jobless people grows.(失业人数增多。)

The number of deaths was very high.(死亡数很高。)

The number of collectors is growing apace.(搜集者的人数激增。)

Fortunately the number of the killed was fewer than imagined.(侥幸死亡人数没有想象的多。)

现在我们再举几个a number of的例:

There are a great number of parks in the city.(在那个市中有许多的公园。)

A large number of foreigners visit Singapore every year.(每年有许多外国人到新加坡来游览。)

A number of people were traveling in a horse carriage.(有不少的人曾用马车旅行。)

A number of students were absent yesterday.(昨天曾有许多学生缺席。)

这个a number of的表现法,又可改为numbers of,后面还是接复数动词,例如:

Numbers of people come to see the exhibition every day.(每天有许多人来看展览会。)

但a number of如不用在主语上,便不会发生接用单复数动词的问题,如:

We have received a number of letters complaining about our services.(我们接到了许多抱怨我们服务不周的信件。)

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