Mon, May 15, 2017 - Page 9 News List

USING IDIOMS
活用成語

An American black bear holds a freshly-caught salmon in its mouth.
一隻美洲黑熊叼著剛捕獲的一條鮭魚。

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
照片:維基共享資源

Chinese Practice

魚與熊掌不可兼得

(yu2 yu3 xiong2 zhang3 bu4 ke3 jian1 de2)

You cannot have both fish and bear’s paw at the same time

英文中有一個很常見的說法,叫做 You can’t have your cake and eat it ,意指面臨一個只能擇一的狀況,兩者不可兼得。

這個句子乍看可能不太合理:為什麼有了蛋糕會無法吃蛋糕呢?

但是,只要把句子的順序調整一下,變成 You can’t eat your cake and have it too,就能夠理解了。一旦把蛋糕吃下肚,蛋糕就沒了,自然就無法再擁有它。而這個句子才是這個說法的原始版本,後來才演變為You can’t have your cake and eat it。

中文的「魚與熊掌不可兼得」也有類似的意思。「魚與熊掌不可兼得」出自中國哲學家孟子的文章,字面上的意思就是說無法同時擁有魚和熊掌。

在中國古代,熊掌是高級珍貴的食材,尤其是熊的右掌,一般認為格外美味,因為熊慣用右掌自蜂窩中掏取蜂蜜。

在現代中文裡,「魚與熊掌不可兼得」的意思同 You can’t have your cake and eat it,用指某人無法得到所有想要的東西,必須要從中擇一。

(台北時報編譯涂宇安譯)

你想去歐洲念博士,但又想和男友在一起?你必須做出選擇,畢竟魚與熊掌不可兼得。

You want to study a PhD in Europe and stay together with your boyfriend? You’re going to have to make a choice: you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

你又想住在市中心,又想要有清幽的環境。魚與熊掌不可兼得,你若要住市中心就得忍受擁擠的交通和都市的噪音。

You’d like to live downtown but also want to live in a quiet place. You can’t have your cake and eat it: if you want to live downtown, you must put up with the traffic and noise of the city.

英文練習

You can’t have your cake and eat it (too)

In English there is a well-known proverb: “You can’t have your cake and eat it (too),” which means you cannot have or enjoy two mutually exclusive things.

The English proverb might initially appear to make little sense at first: why can’t I eat the cake if I already have it?

However, if you reverse the order of the verbs so that it reads: “You can’t eat your cake and have it too,” which is how the proverb was originally written before it became corrupted, then it should make more sense: once you’ve eaten the cake, it’s gone, inside your stomach, and there is no more to be had.

In Chinese there is a similar phrase, 魚與熊掌不可兼得, which is attributed to the Chinese philosopher Mencius. The idiom literally means: you cannot have both fish and bear’s paw at the same time.

In ancient China bear’s paw was particularly coveted as a rare and expensive delicacy, especially the right paw, which was considered to have a superior flavor since bears use their right paws to take honey from a beehive.

魚與熊掌不可兼得, like its English equivalent, is used in modern Chinese to mean you cannot have everything that you want; you must choose one or the other.

(Edward Jones, Taipei Times)

A large fortune was not enough, for Susan an eligible bachelor also had to be suitably handsome; in short she wanted to have her cake and eat it, too.

蘇珊心目中的理想單身漢除了多金,還要夠帥,也就是說要集各種好條件於一身。

Voters say they want lower taxes but also complain about poor quality healthcare: somebody needs to explain they can’t have their cake and eat it, too.

選民希望減稅,卻又嫌健保的品質太差,應該要有人跟他們解釋說這兩者是不可兼得的。

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