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【英語世界】形容通曉 了如「手背」

2018-04-18
■中文成語說了如指掌,英文同意思的則是熟悉到像手背一樣。 資料圖片■中文成語說了如指掌,英文同意思的則是熟悉到像手背一樣。 資料圖片

我們想用英文說某某人對某些事情很熟悉,很了解,通常會直接說He knows it very well /very clearly(他很熟悉這事)。不過,有時會覺得這說法太簡單,太平板,不足以描繪或形容這人真的對這件事或這題目有透徹認識,便會考慮用其他字眼。

其中一個常用的是inside out,從裡面到外面都知道,即是通曉。說He knows it inside out,即是說他對這事裡裡外外都知道得清清楚楚,巨細無遺。

He has been working here for twenty years, so he knows the operation inside out.

他在這裡工作了20年,非常熟悉公司的運作。

She is confident about her son because she knows him inside out.

她對自己的兒子很有信心,因為她十分清楚他的為人。

說某人對某些事情很了解,除了說從裡到外都一清二楚,亦可說從頭到尾都知道,英文會反過來說從尾到頭,back to front,或者說倒背如流backward/s and forward/s,也有掌握了全部、一切的意思,說He knows it back to front.或He knows it backwards and forwards,即是說他對這事很明白、一切細節都知道。有時亦會簡化說He knows it backwards。

These experienced lawyers know the procedures back to front.

這些經驗豐富的律師對一切程序都知道得清清楚楚。

He knew his speech backwards and forwards; he had rehearsed it a hundred times.

他把自己的講稿練習了100次,能倒背如流。

The professor knows his subject backwards. He is an expert in the field.

教授對自己的學科知之甚詳。他是這方面的專家。

中文有成語了如指掌,形容對事情的熟悉程度,其實英文亦有相似的用語,like the back of one's hand如手背,說He knows it like the back of his hand.,即是說他對這事非常了解,猶如對自己的手背一樣熟悉,意指對某事或人了如指掌,十分精通。

You should ask him to be your guide. He knows the city like the back of his hand.

你應該找他當嚮導。他對這個城市了如指掌。

She is the person in charge of the project from the start. She should know it like the back of her hand.

她從一開始就負責這個項目,應該對項目了如指掌。

She knows her husband like the back of her hand. She can always tell if he is lying.

她對自己的丈夫了如指掌,常常能看出他有沒有撒謊。

由上文可見,形容對某些人、某些事非常熟悉,可以有不同的說法,視乎意思和行文的需要作出恰當的選擇,譬如說很了解一些系統運作或某人的性格為人,可以用inside out;對事情的始末很清楚,可以用backwards and forwards;而中文的了如指掌,也可以用英文的knows someone/ something like the back of one's hand。■Lina CHU [ linachu88@gmail.com ]

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