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2013年09月18日
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否則的話 - 古德明

問:Failing which應用來接連一句的上下文,還是用來起句?讀文件,兩種用法都見過。
答:Which可以用來指「句子前文所述事情」,例如:He felt tired, which was not surprising(他感到疲倦,這並不奇怪)。有時,which還可以指「上一句所述事情」,例如:He felt tired. Which was not surprising:一般而言;代名詞which不用來起句,Which was not surprising會寫作That was not surprising。不過,用which起句也不算錯。朗文英文用法指南Longman Guide to English Usage which條講得很清楚:Some writers use "which" to refer even to a preceding sentence.... This device seems legitimate, but it should not be allowed to become a mannerism(有些作者甚至用which來指上一句所述的事。這用法似無不當,但不應常用)。Longman Guide還局部徵引了Nation Review(Melbourne)的文字作例子:... can be overcome by basing these programs on need not race. Which is fine。
Failing which即「不是這樣的話」或「否則」,那which就是指「上文或上一句所述的事」,所以,以下兩個寫法都正確:I will try to get a capable assistant, failing which I will have to go it alone / I will try to get a capable assistant. Failing which I will have to go it alone。第二個寫法較為少見,但不能算是錯誤。Which用來起句,多是因為前一句頗長,為方便閱讀,所以另起一句。

古德明

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