透過改變句子時態來緩和語氣

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內容簡介

在英語中,當我們對別人提出要求或疑問的時候,使用一般現在式未免語氣有些過於直接。比如:「I want to ask you something.」 —— 怎樣讓這句話聽上去更客氣些?本集 「一分鐘英語」 影片教你如何透過將句子改為過去式和進行式來弱化語氣,聽上去更禮貌。

文字稿

We can use a past tense to talk politely about something in the present.

In English, you can sometimes use past tenses to be less direct and more polite.

I wanted to ask you something.
I hoped you would make lunch.

This isn’t the past – ‘I want to ask you something now’ and ‘I still hope you’ll make my lunch’, but it’s less direct.

Using a continuous tense can seem less permanent and also less direct.

I’m thinking you should buy the ingredients.
I’m not planning to help you.

To really distance yourself, you can do both:

I was hoping you were going to make dessert.
I was expecting you to do the washing up.

I’m being unreasonable, but I’m using past and continuous tenses as distancing to sound polite while I do it.

And now, I’m really hungry.

用法總結

1. 用過去式談論現在的事,可以避免過於直接,聽上去更禮貌。

  • I wanted to ask you if you’d make dinner.
  • I thought you’d go to the shops.

2. 用進行式代替一般時態,可以顯得陳述的事件並非永久性的,從而減弱語氣。

  • I’m thinking it’d be better if you went.
  • I’m hoping you’ll do the work.

3. 結合上述兩條,用過去進行式,可以進一步弱化語氣,可在提出不太合理的要求時使用。

  • I was hoping you’d lend your car to me.
  • I was thinking about asking him to get the bill.
  • I was expecting to use your discount voucher.