日本人英文法の意外な穴

帝京大学教授で、ルミナス英和辞典(研究社)をはじめとする英語辞書編纂にも多く関わってこられたクリストファ・バーナード先生が月3~4回、語法、語彙を含めた広い意味での英文法の様々なトピックを解説します。

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125. "approve of" vs. "approve"

125. "approve of" vs. "approve"

These are two verbs which are often confused.

"Approve of" means "think someone / something is good (and therefore give permission for someone to do something)". Here are some examples:

1) My father approves of my new boyfriend.
2) My parents approve of our marriage.

The verb "disapprove" has the opposite meaning to "approve":

3) I disapprove of young people staying out late at night.
4) I disapprove of that kind of language.

The verb "approve" is far less common than "approve of", and is also rather a formal word:

5) Parliament approved the budget.
 国会が予算を承認した。
6) The committee approved the new project.
 委員会は新しい事業計画を承認した。

As sentences (5) and (6) show, the meaning is "officially or formally give permission for something / officially or formally recognize something".


◆NOTES◆
give permission for someone to do something:人が何かをする許可を与える
recognize:~を認める


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124. "care for" vs. " care about"

124. "care for" vs. " care about"

These two expressions can be a little bit confusing. First, let us remember that "care for" means "look after" or "take care of", as in:

1) She cares for her sick father.

This meaning of "care for" I will not discuss in this Column.

"Care for" is almost always used with a negative ("do not care for"), and in such cases means "do not like". Here are some example sentencs:

1) He is a man I do not care for.
2) I do not care for hot weather.
3) I did not care for my job, so I left my company.

"Care about" is usually used with a negative, and in such cases means "do not have any interest in", or "be not worried about".

4) I do not care about politics.
5) I am not listening to you because I do not care about your opinion.
6) There is nothing he cares about more than himself.

However, "care about" can also be used in an affirmative sentence.

7) I do not love you, but I care about you.
8) We should start to care about global warming.
9) You should start to care about your health.

Among sentences (4) to (9), sentences (8) and (9) seem to have a stronger meaning of "be worried about".

To contrast these two expessions, we can put them in similar sentences:

10) I did not care for my job, so I left my company.
= I did not like my job. / I hated my job.
11) I did not care about my job, so I left my company.
= I was not interested in my job. / I had no interest in doing my job properly.


◆NOTES◆
an affirmative sentence:肯定文
global warming:地球温暖化
contrast:~を対比する

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120. Is "There is a lot of nature in Nagano" normal English?

120. Is "There is a lot of nature in Nagano" normal English?

The English word "nature" means something like: the natural world, the natural environment, the force of nature. Here are some definitions of the word "nature" which I have taken from Kenkyusha's Luminous English-Japanese dictionary:

自然、自然現象、自然の力、自然界、自然の状態

Here are some natural English sentences using the word "nature":

1) We can see the beauty of nature in a single grain of sand.
2) We do not understand all the the laws of nature.
3) Some people believe in God, and some people believe in Nature.
4) There are many lessons we can learn from nature.
5) We should spend more money on nature conservation.

Therefore many Japanese sentences using the word "自然" often do not sound very natural when translated into English using the word "nature" (like "There is a lot of nature in Nagano.").

There are a variety of expressions which can be used to translate "自然". Here are some examples:

5) In some parts of Tokyo the natural environment remains.
6) Although this is a large city, much of the wildlife remains [many of the wild animals and the original plants remain].
7) This park is full of greenery.
8) This zoo is returning many animals to the wild.
9) The hotel is located in a natural setting.
10) Much of the natural landscape of Nagano remains.
11) There are many parts of Nagano which retain their natural beauty.
12) The countryside in Nagano is unspoilt.

So, as a general rule, if you want to talk about trees, and animals, and the beautiful countryside, try to avoid the word "nature"; and instead try to use some of the suggestions above.


◆NOTES◆
environment:環境
definition:定義
a grain of sand:1粒の塩
nature conservation:自然保護
believe in ~:~の存在を信じる
spend money on ~:~にお金を使う
a variety of ~:さまざまな
wildlife:野生生物
greenery:(緑の)樹木、木立
the wild:自然のままの環境、野生の状態
a natural setting:自然な環境
a landscape:景色、風景
retain:~を保持する、保つ
the countryside:田舎、田園地帯
unspoilt:(開発などによって)損なわれていない、(場所が)自然のまま

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119. "Fun" is not an adjective -- usually

119. "Fun" is not an adjective -- usually

Learners of English often make sentences like this:

1) X I went to Disneyland and it was very fun.

Sentence (1) is incorrect. But we can say this:

2) I went to Disneyland and it was very enjoyable.

The point is that "fun" is an uncountable noun, as can be seen in these sentences:

3) I went to Disneyland and had a lot of fun.
4) I did not have much/any fun at Disneyland.

Naturally, this sentence is also correct English:

5) I went to Disneyland and it was great fun.

Sentence (5) is grammatically similar to the following sentences:

6) I felt great happiness/joy.
7) I felt deep love/pain.

However, in informal English "fun" can be used as an adjective. But only as an adjective which comes before a noun, as in the following:

a fun thing 楽しいこと/物
a fun time 楽しい時間
a fun day out 楽しい休日のおでかけ
a fun party 楽しいパーティ
a fun person 愉快な人
a fun film 楽しい映画

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117. Why can we say 「秋にもかかわらず...」but not "In spite of autumn..."? (2)

117. Why can we say 「秋にもかかわらず...」but not "In spite of autumn..."? (2)

When we use "In spite of", we must remember the following:

a) The information after the comma is surprising information about what comes before the comma.
b) However, the information before the comma must be enough to give a hint to the reader or listener about what comes after the comma. In other words, there cannot be a complete logical jump between what is before the comma, and what is after the comma.
c) Because of (b), we often cannot use a noun by itself which is just acting as a sort of simple label. In other words, there must be some information concerning the noun which allows this noun to logically connect to the clause which comes after the comma.

Here are examples of nouns used as simple labels:

1) X In spite of autumn, ...
2) X In spite of a pen, ...
3) X In spite of Tokyo, ...

It is easy to see that these nouns do not contain any information, or give us any hint as to how the sentences are going to continue.

We can compare (1) above with this:

4) In spite of the early autumn, ...

In this case it is easy to guess how the sentence may be completed. Therefore using what I called the "short version" (see Column 116) is ungrammatical in (1), (2), and (3), and we therefore have to use the long version.

When the noun is a simple label, a naked noun as it were, it becomes necessary to expand the noun so that it is part of a clause, so that it is then no longer a simple label. We do this in the following ways:

5) In spite of the fact that it is a pen, ... / In spite of it being a pen,...
6) In spite of the fact that it was Tokyo,... / In spite of it being Tokyo, ...

When the simple label ("a pen"; "Tokyo") is expanded in this way, we can then get a hint as to what comes after the comma:
6) In spite of the fact that it is a pen, it does not write.
7) In spite of it being Tokyo, we could find nowhere to eat late at night.

In the next Column, I will discuss how we can test to see whether the short version is possible, or whether we must use a long version.


◆NOTES◆
a logical jump 論理の飛躍
a noun by itself:名詞をそれだけで(使う)
logically connect to something  ...に論理的なつながりを作る
act as ~:~の役割を果たす
as it were:いわば
expand:~を拡大する

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