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语法:英语常用句型It be time +(that)从句讲解

2015-11-04    来源:腾讯教育    【      托福雅思口语高分过

英语常用句型It be time +(that)从句讲解

在英语里,“It be time +(that)从句”是一个较为常用的句型,它表示“该做……的时候了”的意思。该句型属于主从复合句的一种;其主句部分为“It be time”,从句部分的连词that可以省略。以下从三个方面简要谈谈这一句型。

一、time前面的修饰语

句型“It be time +(that)从句”通常暗示“有点迟了”,为了强调这一含义,可以在time的前面加形容词high。例如:

It's high time we started.

It is high time that more women ran the arts.

为了使语气得到进一步的加强,还可以在high的前面加certainly, more than等副词或词组:

It is certainly high time that we ordered dinner.

形容词full也可以加在time的前面,用来加强语气。例如:

It's full time you had a nice day.

It is full time that boy went to herding.

time前面还可以加about,这时句型所表达的意思是“早该……”。例如:

It's about time we started.

It's about time I settled down.

上面两例中的about可以用getting来代替,句意不变;这可以视为句型“It be time +(that)从句”的一种变体。

二、从句中的动词形式

在“(that)从句”中,动词形式通常是一般过去时。这是一种奇特而有趣的语言现象,即用假设的过去时来代替实际的将来时。从英语史的角度来看,从句中的动词形式用过去时原是属虚拟语气;但从语言发展的观点来看,目前这种动词形式视为陈述语气比较合适。

著名语言学家夸克(R. Quirk)教授等人在1985年出版的《英语语法大全》一书中认为,“(that)从句”的动词形式一定要用“假设的过去时”。他们举了一例:It's time I was in bed.其实,动词形式除常用过去时外,也可以用其他时态和语态(用何种形式应视情况而定)。正如著名语言学家周海中教授在1988年发表的《探讨“It be time (that)…”句型》一文中所言:在现代英语里,“(that)从句”中的动词形式一般用过去时,这是基本规则;有时也可以用其他的动词形式,但应视为特殊用法。他在其文中列举了大量实例,用于论证和说明。

1.用were型虚拟语气。例如:

It's high time I were hence. (W. Shakespeare)

It's time I were gone. (A. Tennyson)

由于英语的发展,虚拟语气与陈述语气之间的区别正在逐渐消失。基于这种情况,虚拟语气的were也正在逐渐地代替陈述语气的was。

2.用be型虚拟语气。例如:

You reckon I be found anywhere with him, time he start belle ring. (W. Faulkner)

It is time that more of the research dollars now devoted to cure be diverted to finding new and more humane ways of curing that will make a cancer patient's remaining years happier, more comfortable, and more productive. (Science, 1984, Vol. 5, No.7)

动词形式用be型虚拟语气是古英语的用法。目前,这一用法在英国英语中已“日薄西山”,而在美国英语中却有“东山再起”之势,但主要见于正式文体。

3.借助情态动词should

It's time this heart should be unmoved. (G. Byron)

It may be time that I should meet with some misfortune; but I hope it is not this. (C. Dickens)

上面用法主要见于文学作品,尤其是英国人写的。

4.用过去进行时。例如:

It's time we were leaving. (H. Maclnnes)

It's time we were getting home. (E. O'Neil)

上面用法通常是一些表示位置转移的动作动词。

5.用一般现在时。例如:

It is high time that the U. S. realizes it cannot continue to hide its head in the sand, for the sand has started to blow. (Newsweek, Oct. 15, 1979)

“It is time that the burden of Reaganomics is shared by those in the upper-income groups,” 0'Neill declared. (Time, Jun. 20, 1983)

上面用法主要见于美国英语,尤其在新闻文体里。这是一种值得关注的语言现象。

6.用完成时。例如:

It's time that reduction in force has finally hit the federal government also. (U. S. News and World Report, Mar. 15, 1982)

Fooleries! Pshaw! It's time you'd done with fooleries. (G. Eliot)

上面用法也是一种值得关注的语言现象。

三、句型中的省略现象

在口语中,可以把句型“It be time +(that)从句”中的“It be”省略。例如:

High time we left. (J. Linsay)

Time we were going. (M. Hammonds)

在一定的上下语境中,也可以把句型中的“(that)从句”省略。例如:

This program goes in that direction, and I believe it's time. (T. Wicker)

在特定的语境里,甚至还可以把句型中的“It be”和“(that)从句”都省掉,意义仍然是显豁的;不过,这时time前面要用high来修饰,其后面常跟副词too,该词只是用来加强语气,并无具体意义。例如:

He's gone back to work.—— High time, too! (Longman Dictionary of English Idioms)

顺带一提,句型“It be the +序数词+ time +(that)从句”与句型“It be time +(that)从句”在结构上有点相似,但它们在句意上是完全不同的。前者也是主从复合句,当其主句的be用一般现在时,从句的动词形式通常为现在完成时,it可以用this来代替;当其主句的be用一般过去时,从句的动词形式通常为过去完成时,it可以用that 来代替。例如:

It/This is the first time (that) I have seen him.

It/That was the third time (that) I had been there.

(作者为澳大利亚莫纳什大学博士后 徐慧)



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