in, at, on 傻傻分不清楚?

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in, at傻傻分不清?

一、語法大哉問

地點有大小之分嗎?應該說in Taipei還是at Taipei?二者有何不同?

有些老師說:in是較大的範圍,at是較小的範圍,這個說法有誤導之嫌,因為in和at可以用在同一個地點:

Where did you meet?

→ We met in Taipei.

→ We met at Taipei.

二、介系詞的道理

In, at與on都可以接續地點名詞,但他們卻呈現不同的「空間圖像」:

  1. in表達「範圍之內」,強調「包覆其中」。
  2. at表達「在定點」,強調「居其位」。
  3. on表達「在平面上」,強調「接觸點」。

 

三、延伸用法

介系詞的核心語意大都屬於空間概念,表達固定而明確的空間關係,經過認知轉換,這個空間概念可轉換成時間概念或其他的抽象概念:

  1. in
    空間概念:指「範圍之內」(in a boundary),蘊含「容器」的圖像,例如in a container/ in a box/ in a room。時間概念:表示「在時間範圍內」,如in 5 minutes是指五分鐘「之內」。抽象領域:代表「涵蓋於內」的意思,in love是指沈浸在love「之內」。
  2. at
    空間概念:代表「位於某定點」,如同衛星導航裡「明確的地標」,例如at a bus stop/at a store/at the entrance.時間概念:表示「時間定點」,例如at 1 pm/at 5:30/at noon。抽象概念:意指能力的「定位」,例如He is good at math; 或是某種「標的」,例如The ad targets at teenagers.
  3. on
    空間概念:有「表面的接觸」的意思,象徵「平面」的圖像,例如on a surface/ on a table/ on a street。時間概念:表示「時間的接觸面」,有「在某日上」的涵意,提供一個可以置放事件的接觸面,例如on Monday, on Monday morning, on May 17th。抽象概念:意指某個「層面」,例如研究主題The paper is on history.;花費方面Spending money on books.

 

四、例句解說

將in, at, on三個介係詞放在一個小故事裡來作對照,會更加清楚:
老公「在一間精品店」買了只鑽戒,小心翼翼地把鑽戒放「在小盒子裡面」,然後見到老婆時,溫柔地交「在她的手上」:

The husband bought the ring at a fancy store. → at a spot
He carefully put the ring in a small box. → in a boundary
Seeing his wife, he tenderly placed the ring on her hand. → on a surface

五、實戰演練

根據以上的解說,你覺得空格裡該填什麼介系詞?

Uluru is a large sandstone rock formation ___ central Australia. Uluru is situated 863 meters above sea level, and it is notable for appearing to change colour ___ different times of the day and year, most notably glowing red ___ dawn and sunset. Temperature extremes in the area have been recorded ___ 46 °C ___ the summertime and −5 °C during winter nights.

The area was open to public visitation ___ 8 October 2009. When people arrive ___ Uluru, they wish to climb it because of the amazing views. However, the local aboriginal people do not like people climbing ___ the rock as it is seen as a holy place.

 

本題翻譯/答案

Uluru is a large sandstone rock formation in central Australia. The nearest town to this famous landmark is called Alice Springs and is about 450km away by road.
Uluru is situated 863 meters above sea level, and it is notable for appearing to change colour at different times of the day and year, most notably glowing red at dawn and sunset. Temperature extremes in the area have been recorded at 46 °C (115 °F) in the summertime and −5 °C (23 °F) during winter nights.The area was open to public visitation on 8 October 2009. When people arrive at Uluru, they wish to climb it because of the amazing views. However, the local aboriginal people do not like people climbing on the rock as it is seen as a holy place.  If you choose not to climb it, you can also see an assortment of springs, waterholes, caves and ancient paintings in the area. It is therefore not a surprise to learn it has World Heritage status.
英文的介系詞一定出現在表示地點的名詞前面,用來標記「地點方位」。on、in、at表達三種最基本的空間概念。

  1. in表示「在範圍內」Uluru is a large sandstone rock formation in central Australia.
    烏魯汝是位於澳洲中部的一座由砂岩形成的大片島山。句中的in central Australia表示烏魯汝是在澳洲中部「這個範圍之內」,因此用in。
  2. at表示「位在定點」 When people arrive at Uluru, they wish to climb it because of the amazing views.
    當人們抵達烏魯汝,他們希望能夠攀登這座島山,因為它的風景太美了。句中的people arrive at Uluru表示人們抵達烏魯汝「這個定點」,因此用at。
  3. on 表示「在接觸面上」 The local aboriginal people do not like people climbing on the rock as it is seen as a holy place.
    當地原住民不喜歡人們攀爬這座岩石山,因為它被視為聖地。句中的climbing on the rock表示爬山是接觸到山的平面上,因此用on。
  4. to 表示「朝向目標的方向」The nearest town to this famous landmark is called Alice Springs and is about 450km away by road.
    距離這座有名的地標最近的城鎮叫做愛麗絲溫泉,以公路里程計算計算大約是450公里。句中的the nearest town to this famous landmark表示以烏魯汝為目的地,「朝向這個目的地」最近的城鎮,因此用to。

英文文法有道理!:重新認識英文文法觀念  Making Sense of English

出版日期:2012/09/24     出版社:聯經出版社

本書適合:

‧對語法有疑問,想真正學通英文的人
‧對於英文有興趣,認真,想要探究英文道理的學生
‧已是英文達人,但想要更徹底了解英文的人
‧想告訴學生文法「為什麼」的英文教師
‧正準備或已是語言學、英語教學研究所的學生

 

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