冒号

    1. 正确用法

从语法角度来说,冒号的作用与句号相同,都是表示一句的结束。然而,从语义的角度来看,冒号其实具有非常不同的功能,用以表示位于其两侧的句子间存在某种特殊的关联性。具体来说,冒号所表示的意义为,在其之前的句子具有“介绍”其后句子的作用。以下例句将说明冒号的典型用法。

      1. We need the following ingredients: flour, eggs, milk, sugar and salt.
      2. Each morning, the artist followed the same routine: wake at 6:30; eat breakfast; take a walk; review the previous day’s work; write down a schedule for that day; take a nap for one hour.
      3. This model consists of four fundamental pieces:
        (i) diffusion terms;
        (ii) linear destabilizing terms;
        (iii) non-linear coupling terms;
        (iv) non-linear stabilizing terms.

正如上述例句所示,冒号表示位于其前方的文字在语法上已经完结。出于这个原因,冒号前方必须是一个完整的句子,而且就语法而言,必须与其后方的文字分开。不过,尽管如此,冒号前句子所表达的含义仍不完整,而且必须由之后的文字补足这项含义。

    1. 错误用法

我经常遇到误用冒号的情形。在这类情况中,几乎都是因为冒号本身导致的语法障碍,进而形成语法错误。这类错误如下所示。

      1. The main components of this apparatus include: (i) the primary reaction chamber; (ii) the secondary reaction chamber; (iii) the heating element; (iv) the exhaust mechanism; (v) the visualization mechanism.
      2. This type of treatment has been found to work best for: diabetics, the elderly and stroke victims.
      3. The milieu consists of: dendritic cells and T cells.
      4. The first such relation is obtained as: x = a/2.

在上述每一句例句中,冒号都导致一个语法问题。在例句 (4) 中,冒号放在动词及其对象之间,而例句 (5)–(7),则位于介词及其对象之间,这种语法结构肯定是错误的。以下列举一些修改上述错误例句的可能方法。

    1. The main components of this apparatus include:
      (i) the primary reaction chamber;
      (ii) the secondary reaction chamber;
      (iii) the heating element;
      (iv) the exhaust mechanism;
      (v) the visualization mechanism.
    2. This type of treatment has been found to work best for diabetics, the elderly and stroke victims.
    3. The milieu consists of dendritic cells and T cells.
    4. The first such relation is x = a/2.
      (7’) The first such relation is found to be x = a/2.
      (7’’) As the first such relation, we obtain x = a/2.
      (7’’’) The first such relation is derived as x = a/2.

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