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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122. Reported thought (Part 2)

122. Reported thought (Part 2)

Sometimes there are verbs, or verb expressions, which are also used to report thought, but which are not so clearly verbs of reporting thought. For example, "know" (as in the previous Column) is clearly a verb which can be used to report thought. However, it is perhaps less clear that "have no idea", or "cannot imagine", or "dream" are verbs, or verb expressions, which can be used to report thought.

In the example sentences in this Column, I have limited myself to verbs (or verb expressions) which are related to DOUBTING/NOT DECIDING. Also, as you can see, I have given examples of the probable original sentence (i.e., the sentence in direct thought) in quotation marks. You should think of these sentences in quotation marks as being the original thought in someone's head. The thought is then reported, so it becomes reported thought.

Here are the examples:

DOUBTING/NOT DECIDING
1) "We do not think he will succeed in this new job."
We all thought that he would not succeed in his new job/doubted whether he would succeed in this new job. >> 疑う
2) "I did not know where he lived."
I had no idea where he lived/that he lived there. >> 見当がつかない
3) "I do not think he will pass the exam."
I did not think that he would pass the exam/I could not imagine that he would pass the exam. >> 想像ができない 
4) "I cannot decide how to do it."
I was undecided how to do it/how it could be done. >> 決定されていない
5) "We do not know the best way to climb this mountain."
We could not make up our minds how to climb the mountain/what the best way to climb the mountain was. >> 決められない
6) "I find it very difficult to decide who to marry."
She agonized over who to marry/whether to marry John or Peter/whether she should marry John or Peter. >> 悩む

An important point to note is that with these verbs of DOUBTING/NOT DECIDING we can often use wh- words (who, what, when, where, why, how, whether).


◆NOTES◆

clearly:明らかに
limit oneself to ~:自らを~に限定する
probable:十分ありそうな、考えられうる
think of A as B:AをBと考える、みなす
a point to note:注意すべき点

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121. Reported thought (Part 1)

121. Reported thought (Part 1)

In Columns 102, 103, and 104 I wrote about the grammar of reported speech. But I did not really discuss that the grammar of reported thought is the same as the grammar of reported speech. Learners often forget to apply the rules of reported speech to reported thought.

In some cases it is quite easy to see the connection between reported speech and reported thought.

1) I said that he was Japanese. [reported speech]
2) I knew that he was Japanese. [reported thought]
3) I asked where he lived. [reported speech]
4) I did not know where he lived. [reported thought]

In (2) and (4) it is clear that "know" is reporting a thought (namely "that he was Japanese", and "where he lived").

Here are some example sentences with verbs which are used to report thoughts:

5) I realised that he was wrong.
6) I regretted that I had asked him to help me.
7) I remembered that I had seen her before.
8) I understood that it was not so easy to solve the problem.
9) She did not believe what I said.
10) I asked myself which the best choice was.

Perhaps this is not so difficult. If you are on your toes, you will notice that verbs like "know", "realise", "regret", etc. can be used to report thought.

In the next two Columns I will continue to look at reported thought.


◆NOTES◆
reported speech 間接話法
apply A to B:AをBに適用する
be on one's toes:(いつも応じられるように)準備を整える、油断しないでいる


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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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118. Why can we say 「秋にもかかわらず...」but not "In spite of autumn..."? (3)

118. Why can we say 「秋にもかかわらず...」but not "In spite of autumn..."? (3)

In the last Column, I wrote that the following were acceptable:

1) In spite of the fact that it is a pen, it does not write.
2) In spite of it being Tokyo, we could find nowhere to eat late at night.

However, the following are not correct English:

3) X In spite of a pen, ...
4) X In spite of Tokyo, ...

I think that the easiest way to check whether we can use the short version is to substitute "Because (of)" for "In spite of". When we do this, it becomes much clearer that a simple label before the comma looks strange:

5) X Because of autumn / a holiday / a pen / Tokyo, ...

All the possibilities in (5) are not grammatical. As in the case of "In spite of", with "Because (of)" we need some kind of hint that tells us how the sentence is going to logically develop:

6) Because it is autumn, the trees are red and orange.
7) Because of the rainy autumn, I have stayed indoors a lot.
8) Because it is a holiday, ...
9) Because of the unexpected holiday, ...

So, to summarize these three Columns, we can say the following:

a) "In spite of" has a short version, and two long versions.
b) In the case of "In spite of" sentences, the information before the comma must allow us to make a guess as to what comes after the comma.
c) Because of (b), a simple label usually cannot be before the comma.
d) If we have a simple label in a Japanese sentence, we must expand it to a clause if we want to translate the Japanese to English.
d) We can use "Because (of)" as a grammar check.


◆NOTES◆
acceptable:容認可能な
substitute A for B:Bの代わりにAを使う
develop:展開する
unexpected:意外な


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