“a far cry from”

2021/08/26 04:13:43 網誌分類: 生活
26 Aug
          While talking on the phone with someone recently I used the expression “a shot in the dark” without giving it a second thought. Then I realized it's an expression I seldom hear in Hong Kong even though it's common in English speaking countries. I seldom use it here because I know it's not common and people may not understand it. As I said in a previous column, there are many common English expressions that I seldom use because they are unfamiliar to Hong Kong people. One such expression I used in a recent column was “the willies”. As I explained,“the willies” means a strong feeling of nervousness, discomfort, or fright.

          The expression “a shot in the dark” means taking a guess at something without any knowledge about the issue, which means the guess will most likely be wrong. If you know nothing about horse racing but guess a horse will win, you are taking a shot in the dark. The idea of this expression is it is almost impossible to shoot at a target in the dark. Archers will find it almost impossible to shoot an arrow at a target in the dark. If you do something without a second thought it means you do something without thinking about it because it’s not important or you don’t have the time to think about it.

          Since returning to Hong Kong from the US I have been speaking mostly Cantonese. I speak English only with my foreign friends and when I did my TVB English show, which I no longer do. I have often worried that I may be less fluent in English if I mostly speak Cantonese here. My worry is a far cry from when I first returned to Hong Kong. At that time I worried I had been in the US for too long and could no longer speak fluent Cantonese. The expression “a far cry from” means completely different from something else.


          最近我跟某君通電話,不假思索(without giving it a second thought)便用了“a shot in the dark”這個習語,其後我才意會到,我在香港鮮有聽見人用這個習語,但它在英語國家卻是很常用的。我在此地也很少用到它,因為我知道它並不普及,人們未必明白其意思。正如我在之前的專欄中所說,有許多普及的英文習語我很少用到,因為香港人對之較陌生。其中一個這樣的習語是“the willies”,我在最近一篇專欄中就有用過;正如我所解釋的,“the willies”是指緊張、焦慮不安又或毛骨悚然的。

          習語“a shot in the dark”即瞎猜,在對某事情或議題背景毫無認知的情況下猜想,意味着這種盲目臆測很可能會猜錯。若你對賽馬毫無認識,卻在胡猜某隻馬會跑出,你便是在 taking a shot in the dark。這個習語的概念是在黑暗中射箭,要射中目標幾乎是不可能的。若你do something without a second thought,意即你毫不猶豫、想都沒想便去做某事,因為它是不重要的,又或你根本沒時間可以多想。

          自我從美國回港以來,主要都在說廣東話,只有跟我的外籍朋友在一起,以及在無線主持我的英語節目時,才會說英語,但現在已沒再做該節目了。我不時會擔心,若我在這裏主要說廣東話,我的英語或會變得不那麼流利。這跟我第一次回港時的擔憂截然不同(a far cry from),那時我擔心自己在美國待太久,不再能說流利的廣東話。習語“a far cry from”意即跟別的事物相去甚遠、大相逕庭。中譯:七刻

        Michael Chugani 褚簡寧

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