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過去八年中,台灣大名鼎鼎的聯經出版公司為我出了六本學習英語的工具書,我感到很榮幸,也很滿足。這也許是上帝的恩賜,讓我在人生中對社會一點的「貢獻」。

北美「世界書局」總經理周才博先生認為多年來我在「世界周刊」所發表那些「老外表達方式」的文章,對老中學習「道地」美語,很有幫助,所以他要我把文章整理後寄給聯經,看看發行人林載爵先生的意見。

他們雙方協議結果,由聯經主編,由「世界書局」與「世界日報」出版。
我為世界周刊寫「實用英語」專欄,已經十五年了。由於近來我的眼睛容易疲倦,故向周刊主編常誠容女士「辭職」,承蒙「照准」。故自 2014 年起,我就不再為周刊寫「專欄」了。

這本書如能順利出版。我除要感謝周才博先生、林載爵先生和李芃女士外,也要謝謝我家人的支持和鼓勵。
Friendship and gift-giving
友誼與送禮

Many Chinese people hate to visit friends empty-handed.
許多中國人不喜歡空手去看朋友。

Would it be inappropriate to give an American friend cash (red-envelope) as a gift?
送紅包給美國朋友當禮物,是不恰當的嗎?

Would giving cash (money) be considered in poor taste or tacky?
贈送現鈔,是庸俗或不得體的嗎?
(以往許多美國人不知道中國人的 red envelope 是指 cash 或 money 的紅包。現在愈來愈多人認為送現鈔、支票或禮券,既省時,又實際;但仍然有人認為送錢是「低品味」)

It would make me happy if you would buy yourself a little something with my check.
假如你能用我的支票,為你自己買點小東西,我會很高興。

As long as a gift comes from the heart, it does not matter how small it is.
禮物只要出自衷心,不論多小都沒關係。

It is the thought that counts.
最重要的,那是一種心意。(禮輕情意重)

To avoid suspicion of bribery, many American bosses do not want to accept gifts from employees.
唯恐被人懷疑收受賄賂,許多美國上司不收員工禮物。

I sent him a gift, but I expect nothing in return.
我送他一份禮物,但我不希望他任何的回報。

I buy gifts within my means; I do not match gift for gift.
我買禮物是按自己的經濟能力;不與別人做比較。

I always accept a friend’s gift gracefully and appreciatively regardless of its monetary value.
我都以感恩之心,接受朋友的禮物,不論其價格為何。

A gift should be given for no other reason than the joy of giving.
禮物只是贈送的喜悅,而沒有其他的原因。

或:A gift should be given with no strings attached.
送禮應該沒有任何附加條件。

The most meaningful gifts are the ones that come from the heart.
最有意義的禮物,是來自內心的關愛。

This gift is merely a token of my deep affection for you.
這份禮物僅僅是我對你深深關愛的表示。

Let’s not exchange gifts this year and spend time together instead.
我們今年不交換禮物,大家聚聚就好了。

I just want to present you with a gift to mark the occasion.
我送你禮物,只是為了紀念這個場合。

It is not appropriate to do all the giving or all the taking.
只送禮或只收禮,均非適當。

To buy a cheap gift for a tycoon will rub him the wrong way.
買便宜禮物給富翁,會使他不高興。

(to rub someone (up) the wrong way 是激怒某人)
(動詞時態:rub, rubbed, rubbing)
(本俚語係來自「逆毛撫摸狗貓而激怒牠們」)

Do not measure the value of friendship by the type of gift.
不要以禮物的類別,去衡量友誼的價值。

Giving or accepting a gift should not create any obligation.
贈送禮物,或接受禮物,不可產生任何的責任或義務。

Do not compete with one another in the area of gift-giving.
送禮方面,不必彼此競賽。

In reality the best gift you can give is yourself and your love.
實際上,最好的禮物是你自己和你的愛心。

Before marriage
婚前狀況

When you start dating, it is better to use your head more than your heart.
當你開始約會時,最好多用頭腦,少用感情。

If you are not completely ready to start a family, you should not allow yourself to be pressured into it.
假如你還未完全準備好要成家,可別因壓力而促成它。

He (She) may be untrust-worthy and unwilling to make a lifetime commitment to you.
他也許不值得信任或不願意為妳做出終身的承諾。

Sometimes you may have to bite the bullet, lay your cards on the table and end the romance.
有時你必須忍著痛苦,為結束浪漫的愛情而攤牌。

Some parents are not supportive and comfortable with interracial dating.
有些父母對異族男女約會,既不支持,也不覺得舒服。

It would not be unreasonable to air your true feelings toward her (him).
表達你內心對她真正的感受,不是不合理的。

About his poor behavior, your complaints are understandable.
對於他的不良行為,妳的埋怨是可以理解的。

Is love really blind in terms of age and appearance?
從年齡和外表來說,愛情是真正盲目的嗎?

Her parents are concerned about her relationship with a man of such a disparity of age and experience.
她的父母關心她與一位年齡和經驗懸殊的男子來往。

To start a family sometimes could be perplexing or complicated.
成家有時是件困惑或複雜的事。

If something goes wrong with your choice of mate, you may be left with life-long guilt and trauma.
假如你選錯了對象,你一生會感到內疚和創傷。

She has been wanting to start a family, but he does not feel any great urgency.
她很想成家,但他倒不著急。

It might be difficult for her to establish and enforce boundaries with a much older man.
她要與一位年齡很大的男人建立共識,也許有所困難。

If he is unable to carry on an intellectual conversation with you, he may lack a man’s mentality.
假如他不能與妳聰明地交談,他也許缺乏男人的智慧。

He may not be the one for you because he is not as smart as you think he is.
他也許配不上妳,因為他不是妳想像中那麼聰明。

She feels his behavior has besmirched his family name.
她覺得他的行為損害了他的家族名聲。

When she saw the way he behaved, she flat-out and refused to date him again.
當她看到他的所做所為,她斷然地不再與他約會。

During his two-year efforts, his dating seems to be hit-or-miss.
他兩年的約會過程時好時壞。

She may find out he is a type of a lowlife (scumbag) for herself.
她也許會發現他是一個卑鄙的人。

In order not to be considered a cheap-skate or a free-loader, it is better to go Dutch during your dating.
為了不要讓人認為是小氣鬼或揩油者,在約會中,最好是各付各的帳。

To start a family is indeed a serious matter; it is not a spur-of-the-moment decision.
成家的確是一件嚴肅的事,不是出於一時衝動的決定。

Should she continue to date him, her dad may refuse to walk her down the aisle.
假如她繼續與他約會,她老爸也許不會牽她進結婚禮堂。

If you marry a military person, will you mind moving from pillar to post?
假如你與軍人結婚,你在乎常常遷移搬家嗎?

How will you react if he asks you to sign a pre-nup?
如果他要妳簽訂婚前合約,妳會怎樣反應呢?
(pre-nup 是 pre-nuptial agreement 的簡稱)

The idea of an elopement with him will make your family rife with tension.
與他私奔的想法,會讓妳的家人很緊張。(elope 是私奔的動詞)

As she wants to spend her life without having to work, she dates only wealthy and upwardly mobile men.
她想一生不必工作,所以只跟富有和能升官的男人約會。
(upwardly mobile 指在經濟、社會等方面能有上升趨勢的)

Many Chinese parents do not approve of their children’s dating with less educated or lower-level persons.
許多中國父母不贊成他們的子女與教育水平差或社會低階的人約會。

Don’t fall in love with a womanizer who may not be on the level.
不要與「沉溺於女人堆」裡的男人談戀愛,他也許不合妳的水平。

In making a long-term commitment, your rationale should carry more weight than feelings.
要做長期性的承諾,你的細心思考,要比感情用事更重要。