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这个英语句子应该如何理解呢(英语句子怎么理解)

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有读者问到了这样一个问题:

Than引导的比较状语从句我们都接触过,但than的用法却并不简单,有时候一些句子容易造成理解上的困难,比如上面截图中的两句:

(1) There ought to be less anxiety over the risk of mountain climbing than exists in the public mind.

(2) The swimming pool seems to be a great deal more luxurious than is necessary.

在两个句子中than都是作为连词引导比较状语从句,不过句子中出现了省略现象,因此可能会对语法分析造成困难,句子补充完整后是:

(1) There ought to be less anxiety over the risk of mountain climbing than (the anxiety that) exists in the public mind.

(2) The swimming pool seems to be a great deal more luxurious than (what) is necessary.

省略现象在than引导的比较状语从句中很常见,这里分析一下常见的几种省略类型。

(1)than从句中省略主语

than从句中有时候主语可以省略,在理解时我们要根据句子语境对主语进行补充,比如新概念英语3里面有这样一个句子:

To compensate for his unpleasant experiences in hospital, the man drank a little more than was good for him.

(为了补偿住院这一段不愉快的经历,那人喝得稍微多了一点。)

不少同学无法理解…the man drank a little more than was good for him这一用法,这里其实是省略了主语what,补充完整是:…the man drank a little more than (what) was good for him.

一些语法学家认为,than后面带what结构是累赘的表达,因此在比较正式的表达中,than后面的主语what经常省略。

文章开头出现的句子:There ought to be less anxiety over the risk of mountain climbing than (the anxiety that) exists in the public mind. 也是省略主语的情况。

在比较状语从句中还会出现than usual/than necessary这样的固定搭配,它们其实也是一种省略用法,比如:

They went to the office earlier than usual.

句子补充完整后相当于:

They went to the office earlier than (it was) usual (for them to go to the office).

(2)than从句中省略谓语

当主句和从句中的谓语动词和时态一致,而主语不同时,经常会出现谓语部分省略的情况,比如:

He can run more quickly than his father (can).

Both recipes use more salt than mine (does).

(3)than从句中省略主语和谓语

在一些比较状语从句中主语和谓语也都可以省略,比如这个句子:

Wild animals spend less energy to live in winter than in summer.

这里than从句省略了主语和谓语,还原后相当于:

Wild animals spend less energy to live in winter than (they spend) in summer.

又比如《经济学人》文章里面有这样一个句子:

However, managerial incentives can make workers suspicious. End results were much better when managers were allowed to contribute than when they were not.

第二句补充完整后相当于:

End results were much better when managers were allowed to contribute than (end results were) when they were not (allowed to contribute).

需要注意的一点是,在than比较从句中有时候主语和谓语大部分都可以省略,但是介词短语、动词不定式、分词、动名词以及时间状语从句等结构都不省略,它们一般与than前面的部分形成平行结构,比如:

He has a higher opinion of Mary than of Jane.

这里的介词of不能省略,不然就破坏了than两边结构的平行。

又比如:

It is easier to understand a language than to speak it.

句子中to同样也不能省略。

同时,如果than从句比较的是两个性质不同的事物,此时一般不使用省略,例如:

He speaks more quickly than his secretary can take dictation. (他说得很快,以至于秘书记不过来)

此时句子比较的两个对象是he speaks/ his secretary can take dictation,它们属于不同性质的事物,不能省略为:He speaks more quickly than his secretary.

除此之外,than从句中的省略有时候会造成歧义,我们在使用的时候要特别留意,比如:

Mr. Smith loves music more than his wife.

这句话也可以有两种理解:

(1) Mr. Smith loves music more than (he loves) his wife. (史密斯先生爱音乐胜过爱自己的妻子)

(2) Mr. Smith loves music more than his wife (does). (史密斯比他的妻子更喜欢音乐)

我们可以根据实际想表达的含义采取1句或2句的写法来消除歧义。

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