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영어 바로쓰기-한국식 영어의 허점과 오류-작문편 (9)
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Let's begin with some problems involving verbs: some rather 'common types of Korean-English problems. Consider this sentence:

1) xxx- They demanded that candidate Lee is called to the scene and make an apology in person for the violence.

The problem here is in the clause following the verb, 'demand'. The writer has used the present tense verb, 'is', in that clause. However, following the word, 'demand', we always use either a noun ("I demanded an apology.") or a clause using a verb in the 'original' (i.e., non-inflected) form ("I demand that she apologize to me."). In fact, this verb is really expressing a subjunctive mood (A paraphrase would be: "I demand that she should apologize to me."). But without worrying about the deeper grammatical considerations, the rule is quite simple: In clauses following the word, 'demand', the verb should be in its original, un-inflected form. Therefore, the clause in sentence #1 should be corrected as, "...that candidate Lee be called to the scene..."

But as long as we are improving the sentence, I think that 'apologize', as a verb, is much more direct than 'make an apology'. So, let's correct the sentence as:

1) ok- They demanded that candidate Lee be called to the scene to apologize in person for the violence.

Now here is another sentence with a verb problem:

2) xxx- Another problem which the nation will encounter when the bill is promulgated is that the U.S. Trade Representative is able to take retaliatory measures against Korea in connection with the parity rate between the won and the dollar.

Before correcting the grammar of this sentence, you must recall something of the USA's legislative process. A 'bill' is a proposal for a future law. Bills are introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate. If they are 'passed' by both House and Senate, they are submitted to the president. If the president approves, then the bill 'becomes a law'. Thus, a 'bill' is a proposed law. So, a bill is not promulgated; only a law can be promulgated (Though, in fact, the word, 'promulgate', is not frequently used in American politics; we say simply, "When the bill becomes law," or "When the bill is passed."

In this sentence, the writer is speaking of a bill, that is, a proposed law which has been approved by the House. Soon it will be voted on in the Senate. If it passes in the Senate, it will be submitted to the president, and if he approves it, the bill will become a law. So, the writer does not mean '...when the bill is promulgated...'. Instead, he means, ‘…if the bill is passed...,' or ‘… the bill becomes law'... Can you see now that the phrase, ‘…is able to take retaliatory measures...' is not appropriate in talking about a future situation? Obviously, the correct future form would be, '...will be able to take retaliatory measures...'. So:

2) ok- Another problem which the nation will encounter if the bill becomes law is that the U.S. Trade Representative will be able to take retaliatory measures against Korea...

Notice that by using the future tense in the consequence clause and the present tense in the ‘if’-clause, the writer makes clear that he thinks it is very likely that the bill will be passed by the Senate and approved by the president. But consider this version:

2b) ok- Another problem which the nation would encounter if the bill became law is that the U.S. Trade Representative would be able to take retaliatory measures against Korea...

Do you see how grammatical changes to the verbs in version 2b) change the meaning, or rather the tone? This version expresses much less certainty about the likelihood of the bill's passage into law; it treats the pos¬sibility of the bill's becoming law as merely hypothetical. I suspect that version 2) is closer to the writer's original intentions, but both 2) and 2b) are good English sentences.

The same newspaper article about the proposed trade legislation in the USA provides one more example of a problem related to use of verbs:

3) xxx- The bill was jointly initiated by the U.S. House and Senate last year in order to retaliate foreign countries which are engaged in unfair trade practices.

Here, once again is that all-too-familiar problem of transitivity. The author is using 'to retaliate' as a transitive verb, with 'foreign countries' as a direct object. And, in fact, you will see a listing for 'retaliate' as a transitive verb in some dictionaries. Unfortunately, however, this transitive use of 'retaliate' is extremely rare in current English. Indeed, it has virtually disappeared from the sort of English written in modern newspapers.

The common, by now almost universal use of retaliate is as an intransitive verb, using the preposition, 'against', with the object of the retaliation, and the preposition, 'for', with the reason for that retaliation. Thus: "Iran retaliated against Iraq for the bombing of a mosque in Qom." "The USA retaliated against Libya for its alleged involvement in terrorism against US military personnel in Europe."

Understanding the grammar associated with the word, 'retaliate', you should now be able to correct sentence #3 as:

3) ok- The bill was jointly initiated by the U.S House and Senate last year in order to retaliate against foreign countries for engaging in unfair trade practices.

The English language is characterized by the use of a great number of verbal idioms which combine a verb with a preposition to yield particular meanings. Unfortunately, many of these meanings are highly idiomatic, hence difficult for non-native speakers to differentiate and master. Consider this sentence:

4) xxx- During their tours, they are making remarks similar to campaign pledges of the candidates, giving the strong impression that they are backing up the ruling camp.

The author clearly intends to convey the idea that 'they' are giving the impression that 'they are offering support to the ruling party. He has used the verbal idiom, 'to back up____’ However, like so many two-word verbal idioms, 'to back up ____’ has a rather more specific meaning. We generally use the expression, 'to back up ____’ to mean 'to adduce evidence in support of a claim; to substantiate'. Thus: "The Prime Minister presented some statistics to back up his claim that the economy was growing." When we use the expression, 'to back up (a person)', the meaning is to offer corroboration and confirmation to a person's assertion or claim. Thus: "Fred claimed that he had already repaid the loan, and Joe backed him up." As you can see, 'to back up' has the rather specialized meaning of offering support for a particular factual assertion or claim.

But in sentence #4, the author does not have this specialized meaning in mind; he simply wishes to convey the idea that 'they' appear to support the ruling camp. To express the idea of 'support', we use the simple verb, 'to back___'.

I have another, smaller objection to sentence #4. This is really a stylistic point. The phrase, 'campaign pledges of the candidates', is a genitive, possessive structure associating a thing (pledge) with a person (candidate). It uses the '___ of ___’ structure to express this possessive relationship. However, when the possessor is a human being or other living creature, we generally do not use the '___ of ___' structure. Instead, we add an apostrophe and an 's' to indicate the genitive, possessive relationship: "Karen's sister," "Dostoevsky's novels," etc. I would therefore correct sentence #4 as:

4) ok- During their tours, they are making remarks similar to the candidates' campaign pledges, giving the strong impression that they are backing the ruling camp.

Now let's look at a very crucial problem involving the imprecise use of language:

5) xxx- The press in Seoul did not accompany her as the shy acting president wished.

The writer of this sentence was referring to the visit to Seoul by a woman who was the acting president of a political party. Being shy, she had expressed the wish that reporters not accompany her. The press complied with her wish. This idea is perfectly simple. Unfortunately, the wording of sentence #5 is highly ambiguous. It can be interpreted to mean either: a) She wished the press to accompany her, but they didn't, or b) She wished the press not to accompany her, and they didn't. In fact it is the second meaning which the author intended, but the sentence fails to make this clear.

Consider this sentence: "My wife didn't help me as I had asked her to."

Had the speaker asked his wife to help him or had he asked her not to help her? I rather assume to former, but again, the meaning is ambiguous. In short, you should be careful to avoid using an 'as…..' clause after a negative verb.

Here's my suggestion for how to eliminate the ambiguity in sentence #5:

5) ok- In keeping with the shy acting president's wishes, the press in Seoul did not accompany her.

or:

5b) ok- In accordance with the shy acting president's wishes, the press in Seoul did not accompany her.

Do you see how these versions remove the ambiguity? Unfortunately, ambiguities resulting from imprecise use of language, such as the one in sentence #5, are extremely common, even in the writing of native speakers.

Not all imprecise language leads to ambiguous meaning. Consider this sentence:

6) xxx- "I'm confident of receiving final approval for shooting the film in mainland China," said the senior director. If realized, Chung will be the first Korean film-maker to make a motion picture in Communist China which has still no diplomatic ties with Korea.

The clause, 'if realized', obviously refers to some subject: 'if it is realized.' But what is the implicit referent of that clause? The grammar of the sentence does not tell us. You might assume that the implicit referent of 'if realized' is 'senior director', or perhaps, 'Chung', since those are the nouns appearing closest to 'if realized'. But from the context it is obvious that the referent of 'if realized' is not the director, Mr. Chung. After all, how can a human being be realized? In fact, 'if realized' refers to Mr. Chung's plan, to his dream, his hope, his expectation, etc. This must be made explicit in the composition of the sentence: ok- If his plan is realized, Chung will be the first...

However, that is not the only imprecision in sentence #6. Notice that there is a relative clause after 'Communist China'. However, there is no comma separating that relative clause from the noun (Communist China) that it describes. As you'll recall, if a relative clause is restrictive, we use no comma, but if it is unrestrictive, we do use a comma. Now, does the clause, '...which has still no diplomatic ties with Korea,' restrict the range of the noun, 'Communist China'? I don't think so. There is only one country known as 'Communist China', so the information provided in the relative clause does not enable us to restrict the range of possible countries being referred to; the range is already limited to one country. Thus, since the relative clause is obviously unrestrictive, a comma should separate it from the noun being described. This is a basic and, incidentally very helpful rule of English composition.

And one final problem in sentence #6 concerns the placement of the adverb, 'still'. Although the placement of adverbs in English sentences is more flexible than the placement of other parts of speech, there are some general rules. Typically, adverbs related to time (including, for example, 'always', 'often', 'rarely', 'never', and 'still') are placed after the subject and before the main verb of a sentence: "I often explain this to my students, but they still make mistakes." Now in sentence #6, the subject of the clause where 'still' appears is 'which' and the verb is 'has'. The proper placement of 'still', then, would be "...which still has no...". A correct version of sentence #6 would be:

6) ok- "I'm confident of receiving final approval for shooting the film in mainland China," said the senior director. If his plan is realized, Chung will be the first Korean film-maker to make a motion picture in Communist China, which still has no diplomatic ties with Korea.


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16 영어 바로쓰기-한국식 영어의 허점과 오류- Writers' Clinic #6: Connecting Sentences, Part I 이영재 2658 2011-10-07 
15 영어 바로쓰기-한국식 영어의 허점과 오류- Writers' Clinic #5: Definiteness Part II 이영재 2618 2011-10-06 
14 영어 바로쓰기-한국식 영어의 허점과 오류- Writers' Clinic #4: Definiteness Part I 이영재 2776 2011-10-06 
13 영어 바로쓰기-한국식 영어의 허점과 오류- Writers' Clinic #3: Reporting the Speech of Others 이영재 6018 2011-10-06 
12 영어 바로쓰기-한국식 영어의 허점과 오류- Writers' Clinic #2: Comparisons, Pt. II 관리자 21347 2011-10-05 
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