怎样理解no(nothing)more(…)than?----由一道高考题所引发

文学网时间:2018-08-20 23:18:30

   2005年高考试题湖南卷(以下简称05湖南卷)阅读理解部分的D篇和某地高中毕业班第一次诊断性检测题(以下简称某地一诊题)基本上相同。然而在这篇文章后的阅读理解题目中最后一题的D选项,某地一诊题作了含义完全相反的改动,在题干和其它三个选项含义完全相同的情况下,这两套题所给的正确答案竟然都是D选项。究竟哪套题出了差错,还得从这篇阅读材料谈起。

  From Mr. Ward Hoffman.

  Sir, I was halfway through Professor Raj Persaud’s article “What’s the tipping point?”(Financial Times Weekend, April 9-10)when it occurred to me that what I was reading was not ironic(的).If Prof (Professor) Persaud wants to know why Americans tip in restaurants, he need only ask (needs only to ask) the first American he meets in London.

  Americans tip in restaurants for one reason, and one reason only: we tip to supplement(补贴)the salary of restaurant workers. Quality of service does not enter into it, beyond the ct that one may tip a bit less for poor service, or a little (bit) more for good service.

  Not tipping at all in a non-st-food restaurant is not a choice. In the US, one used to tip about 15 per cent for dining(dinning)in a mily-style restaurant or in an upmarket(高档的)(a top-level)restaurant. Here, in San Francisco Bay area restaurants, we are encouraged to tip 20 per cent or more, to help restaurant workers live in this very expensive area.

  After eating at an Italian restaurant in my city, I left a tip of 20 per cent on the non-tax part of our dinner bill. It was expected. There is nothing more complicated(复杂的)than that about Americans(American)tipping in restaurants.

  Ward Hoffman,

  Palo Alto, CA94306, US

  From Mr. Philip McBride Johnson.

  Sir, I agree with most of Raj Persaud’s opinions(opinion)about the doubtful value of tipping, but with one exception(例外).Tips can be very useful when one is a repeat customer or diner.

  It is only when the tipper is a stranger and likely to remain so that the system does not work to his or her advantage. But frequent a hotel or a restaurant, always tip a bit more (a frequent customer at a hotel or restaurant always tips a bit more), and the difference in service and treatment will be easily felt.

  Philip McBride Johnson,

  Great Falls, VA22066, US

  68. What can we learn from Hoffman’s letter?

   A Quality of service determines tipping in the US.

   B. Americans don’t tip in non-st-food restaurant.

   C. Tipping in US upmarket restaurants is unnecessary.

   D. How to tip in the United States is not complicated.

  (56. From Hoffman’s letter we can learn_____

  A. quality of service determines tipping in the US.

  B. Americans don’t tip in non-st-food restaurant.

  C. tipping in us top-level restaurants is not a must.

  D. how to tip in the USA is very complicated.)

  以上材料中括号内的内容是某地一诊题与05年湖南卷阅读理解部分D篇的划线部分所不同的地方,但丝毫未改变原文的含义。这两套题后所附的阅读理解题目除D选项作了含义相反的改动外,题干和其余选项的含义都完全相同,然而所给的正确答案都是D选项。究竟是哪套题在对这篇材料的理解上出了差错呢?

  从阅读材料中可以看出,选择D选项的依据是Ward Hoffman的信中最后一段的最后一句:There is nothing more complicated(复杂的) than that about Americans(American)tipping in restaurants.05年湖南卷把这句话理解为:How to tip in the United States is not complicated.而某地一诊题却把这句话理解为:How to tip in the USA is very complicated.造成这种偏差的原因是对该句中nothing more…than的不同理解。

  那么究竟该怎样理解nothing more…than呢?

  比较级用于否定结构意为“最(再)……不过”:

  Nothing cheaper.再便宜不过了。(CEG, p.126)

  I can’t agree with you more.我再同意你不过了。(AEG, p.622)

  The situation couldn’t be worse.形势再糟不过了。(CEG, p.226)

  He wouldn’t care less.他再漠不关心不过了。(CEG, p.226)

  I have never felt less like speaking to him.我从未如此不想同他讲话。

  (CEG, p.226)

  You could give her no greater pleasure.你使她再满意不过了。(CEG, p.226)

  There never was a man more kind and just.从来没有更的人了。

  (AEG, p.611)

  He has never met anyone less attractive.他从没遇到过更缺乏吸引力的人了。(ECD, p.1018)

  否定词+比较级(+than)可表示最高级意义:

  I like nothing better. (=It’s the best thing I like.)(NEGC, p.455)

  It can’t be worse. (=It’s the worst thing I’ve ever known.)(NEGC, p.455)

  He is a man than whom no one is more fit for the job.没有比他更适合干这项工作的了。(CEG, p.226)

  Nothing is more precious than health.健康的身体是最宝贵的。(CEG, p.264)

  Than Lei Feng no one could show a more genuine modesty to his comrades.没有一个人能够比雷锋更能表现出对同志真正虚心的态度。(AEG, p.611)

  Nothing could be more disagreeable to me than that I should have to do that.再没有比我非做此事不可更使我不快的了。(that 从句后省去了would be)

  (AEG, p.623)

  No leader of a party has kept himself in greater detachment from the sentiment of his than has the late Prime Minister.任何政党的都没有像已故首相那样不动感情。(助动词has移至主语the late Prime Minister之前)(AEG, p.623)

  He who wishes to be wise, cannot do better than enquire into the past experience of mankind.求知的最好方法是研究人类过去的经验。(CEG, p.254)

  以上例句表明,当比较级用于否定结构中表示“最(再)……不过”时,不和than连用,否定词和比较级既可连在一起也可分开使用;当“否定词+比较级(+than)”表示最高级意义时,不和than连用也就是表示“最(再)……不过”,和than连用时否定词和比较级要分开使用。否则其含义就不是表示最高级意义,而是表示原级意义,如“同……一样或差不多,仅仅,只不过”等。请看以下例句:

  I had nothing stronger than orange juice to drink.我只喝了橙汁,没喝酒。(OALD,p.1001)

  I’m feeling no worse(=feeling the same or better)than yesterday.我一点也不觉得比昨天差。(LDCE, p.1017)

  He’s no better than(=almost as bad as)a thief.他比小偷好不了多少。

  (LDCE, p.121)

  There were no fewer than 500 people present.出席者多达500人。

  (DACQE, p.923)

  Now many neckties are no wider than a piece of string.现在许多领带窄得像条绳子。(DACQE, p.923)

  I know no more Spanish than I know Greek.我对西班牙语和希腊语同样都不懂。(AEG, p.616)

  He is no more a good player than I am.他和我一样都不是好球员。

  (MECD, p.963)

  She ate no more than a slice of toast for breakst.她早餐仅吃了一片土司。(MECD, p.963)

  It’s nothing(more or)less than(=just the same as; no better than)murder to send such a small group of soldiers out to attack those heavily defended enemy positions.派这么小一股士兵去那些有重兵的敌军阵地无异于叫他们去送死。(LDCE, p.868)

  以上比较级在否定结构中的含义表明:nothing more…than不能表示最高级意义,而是表示原级意义,“只不过,仅仅”等。

  在《柯林斯英汉双解词典》中有如下的英汉双语解释:

  You can use nothing more than in order to say that something is very and not at all complicated.不比……复杂,只不过 The Captain is suffering from nothing more serious than a cold.船长只是得了感冒,没什么大病。

  (COBUILD, p.1315)

  Nothing more than a tunnel-like passage greeted the excavators.面对着挖掘者们的一条通道就同地道一样。(ECD, p.1236)

  与nothing more than有相同意义的词组还有no more than, not any(much) more than, little more than等。

  You can use no more than, nothing more than, not much more than, etc. to emphasize that something is not very important, valuable or impressive, or that it is hardly worth considering.只不过,仅仅(用于强调某事物并不重要) At the moment our tree looks nothing more than a branch…我们的那颗树此时看上去像根树枝而已…… It wasn’t much more than a formality.这仅仅是形式而已。(COBUILD, p.1256)

  He is not any more than a mad man.他只不过是一个罢了。(CEG, p.313)

  It took little more than half an hour to reach there.只不过花了半小时就到达那儿了。(ECD, p.1040)

  与nothing more than含义相反的词组是nothing less than。而nothing less than又与little less than和no less than同义,意为“和……一样,不亚于,完全是,简直是”等。

  You can use nothing less than to emphasize your next words, often indicating that something seems very surprising or important.(用以加强后面的词语,常表示某事物显得惊人或重要)简直,全然 His life has been ruined, utterly destroyed by nothing less than education…他的一生给毁了,完全可说是被教育给毁了……(COBUILD, p.1315)

  They will be satisfied with nothing less than a detailed explanation.不作详细的解释,他们是不会满意的。(ECD, p.1236)

  Italian is no less a mother tongue for her than English.如同英语一样,意大利语也是她的母语。(DACQE, p.925)

  She drinks little less than her husband.她喝酒喝得几乎和她丈夫一样多。(ECD, p.1040)

  It is little less than treachery.那和没有两样(那简直就是)。

  (MECD, p.854)

  在《英语常见问题解答大词典》中有如下的论述:

  no more than(nothing more than)+数词或名词,常常用来表达说话人的一种口气:强调数量之少或事物之小(不重要,简单等等)。no more+形容词(或副词)+than则使形容词的意义向其。作为no more than之反义词的no less than,不言而喻,是用来表达说话人的相反的口气的。no less than+数词或名词,意在强调其多(as many as, as much as)或强调其大(其重要);no less+形容词(或副词)+than,则强调形容词或副词所表达的性质丝毫也不减弱。(DACQE, p.965)

  The remotest of the planets will be perhaps no more than a week’s travel from the earth.从地球到最远的,也许仅仅是一周的飞行距离。(DACQE, p.928)

  No less than a thousand people came.(=It was surprising that there were so many)来的人竟然有上千人之多。(LDCE, p.868)

  The thermostat is nothing more than an electric switch that opens and closes itself at the proper temperature.恒温器只不过是一种到达适当温度就制动开关的电闸。(DACQE, p.929)

  His performance in the role of king was nothing less than marvelous.他扮演国王的演出简直是太妙了。(DACQE, p.965)

  那么“not+比较级+than”与“no(nothing)或not any+比较级+than”又有什么区别呢?

  “A is not+比较级+than B”只是简单地进行程度上的比较,客观地表达“A不比B……”。至于B本身如何,这样的句子是反映不出来的。“A is no(nothing)+比较级+than B”则不同,它并不对A和B进行程度上的比较,而是用来着重表达“A和B都很……”这样一种说话人的主观看法或口气的。如前所述,“no(nothing)+比较级+than”具有言其相应形容词性质的特点。比如:no better than极言其坏,no bigger than极言其小,no more than极言其少,no fewer than极言其多,no wider than极言其窄,no larger than极言其小,no thicker than极言其薄,等等。

  I have no more than five yuan in my pocket.我口袋里的钱只不过5元。(no more than等于“只不过”,言其少)(AEG, p.616)

  I have not more than five yuan in my pocket.我口袋里的钱不多于5元。(not more than等于“不多于”,无言其多或少的含义)(AEG, p.616)

  He is no less determined than you.他的决心不亚于你。(no less determined than等于“其决心不亚于你”,言其大)(AEG, p.616)

  He is not less determined than you.他的决心不比你小。(not less determined than等于“其决心不小于”,无言其大或小的含义)(AEG, p.616)

  John is no(not any)more intelligent than Bill (is).约翰像比尔那样不聪明或约翰不聪明,比尔也不聪明。(DACQE, p.956)

  John is not more intelligent than Bill (is).约翰不比比尔聪明。

  (DACQE, p.956)

  He’s no more able to read Spanish than I am.他和我都读不懂西班牙文。(ECD, p.1167)

  The new edition is not more expensive than the old edition.新版本不比旧版本贵。(ECD, p.1167)

  根据以上分析,可以对本文提出的问题做出如下结论:

  把“There is nothing more complicated than that about Americans tipping in restaurants.”这句话理解为“How to tip in the United States is not complicated.”是正确的。

  参考文献

  1. CEG(本文简称,下同):《大学英语语法》(College English Grammar),徐广联主编,华东理工大学出版社,2005年版

  2. AEG:《高级英语语法》(An Advanced English Grammar),薄冰主编,高等教育出版社,1990年版

  3. ECD:《英汉大词典》(The English-Chinese Dictionary),陆谷孙主编,上海出版社,1993年版

  4. NEGC:《新编英语语法教程》(A New English Grammar Coursebook),章振邦主编,上海外语教育出版社,2000年版

  5. OALD:《高阶英汉双解词典》(Oxford Advanced Learner’s English-Chinese Dictionary),商务印书馆,第四版增补本

  6. LDCE:《朗文当代高级英语辞典》(Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English),商务印书馆,第二版

  7. DACQE:《英语常见问题解答大词典》(A Dictionary of Answers to Common Questions in English),赵振才编著,世界图书出版公司,2005年版

  8. MECD:《英汉多功能词典》(A Multifunction English-Chinese Dictionary),外语教学与研究出版社 建宏出版社(),1997年版

  9. COBUILD:《柯林斯英汉双解词典》(COLLINS Birmingham University International Language Database English-Chinese Dictionary),上海出版社,2002年版

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