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译锐点津-Gift和present的区别
发布时间:2021-12-09 作者:yirui 点击:669

It’s that time again when we’re busy buying, wrapping, and giving them. Sometimes we call them gifts, sometimes presents. Is there a difference?

又到了买礼物,包礼物并送礼物的时候了。有时,我们会用gift表示礼物,有时我们也会用present。那么,两者之间有什么区别吗?

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The words come to us from different language families. Gift comes from the old Germanic root for “to give.” It referred to an act of giving, and then, to the thing being given. In Old English it meant the dowry given to a bride’s parents. Present comes from the French for "to present." A present is the thing being presented or bestowed. Both words were in use for the idea of something undergoing a transfer of possession without expectation of payment from the 13th century onward.

这两个单词来自于不同的语言。Gift来自表示“给予”的古老德语词根。这个词根的意思是给出的行为,随后演化为所给出的东西。在古英语中,gift表示提供给新娘父母的嫁妆。Present来自法语“呈现、提供”一词。礼物是指提供或给予的东西。从13世纪开始,这两个词都用于表达给出某物并无需获得报酬的含义。

The words gift and present are well-matched synonyms that mean essentially the same thing, but even well-matched synonyms have their own connotations and distinctive patterns of use. Gift applies to a wider range of situations. Gifts can be talents: You can have the gift of gab, or a musical gift. Gifts can be intangibles: There is the gift of understanding or the gift of a quiet day. We generally don’t use present to describe things like that. Presents are more concrete or a bit more, well, present. If your whole family gave donations to your college fund for your birthday would you say “I got a lot of presents”? It doesn’t exactly sound wrong, but since you never hold these donations in your hand, gifts seems to fit better.

Gift和present是两个非常匹配的同义词并基本表示相同的含义。但是,即使是匹配非常好的同义词也有自己的内涵和独特的使用方式。Gift适用的情景更广。Gifts可以是才能:有口才(gift of gab)或有音乐天赋(a musical gift.)。Gifts还可以是无形的:理解能力或天赐宁静。我们一般不会用present来做这样的描述。Present是指更加具体或更加现实存在的物品。如果你的家庭为庆祝你的生日而向你所就读的大学基金捐款,你会说“I got a lot of presents”吗?这样说尽管并不算错,但是你永远不会把捐赠拿在手里,所以gifts似乎更适合。

Gift can also be an attributive noun, acting like an adjective to modify another noun. What do you call the type of shop where you can buy presents for people? A gift shop. What do you call the basket of presents that you can have sent to all your employees? A gift basket. Present doesn’t work well in this role of describing other nouns. We have gift boxes, gift cards, and gift wrap, not present boxes, present cards, and present wrap.

Gift还可做定语性名词,作为形容词来修饰另一个名词。你会如何称呼可以购买礼物的店铺?Gift shop(礼品店)。你会如何称呼赠送给所有员工的、装满礼物的篮子?Gift basket(礼品篮)。而present则不可以这样用。我们可以有gift boxes(礼盒)、gift cards(礼品卡)和gift wrap(礼品包装纸),但不可以有present boxes,present cards和present wrap。

Gift appears to be used more frequently than present, though it is difficult to get accurate counts, because if you compare occurrences of the noun present with the noun gift, you include that other noun present, meaning the here and now. However, the plural noun presents captures only the word we want. Gifts outnumbers presents in the Corpus of Contemporary American English by four to one.

尽管很难获得准确的数字,但是,Gift的使用频率似乎比present更多,这是因为如果你将名词present的出现频次和名词gift的出现频次相比较,表示“现在”含义的另一个名词present也会被包括在内。在当代美式英语语料库中,gift与present的使用比例为4比1。

Still, according to my personal sense of the words, present—though it may not be as common—is more casual sounding than gift. I expect a child to ask Santa Claus for lots and lots of presents, not many, many gifts. But whether it’s gifts or presents you prefer, I wish you many and lots this year, of both the tangible and intangible kind.

然而,根据我个人的语感,present-尽管也许不是很常见,但其实听起来比gift更加随意。我期待孩子向圣诞老人要许多许多presents,而不是许多许多gifts。但是,不管你喜欢用gifts还是presents,我都希望你今年多多收获礼物,无论是有形的还是无形的礼物。


来源:Mental Floss

编辑&翻译:上海译锐翻译