時間副詞:寫作時,表示時間的方法

大前天、後天、或是隔天來一次,這些時間概念要如何用英文表達?寫作時,我們常必須說清楚事件發生的時間,多常發生、經過多久。尤其是在寫敘述文或故事時,我們需要使用大量的時間副詞,清楚點出事件與事件在時間上的關係。英文有相當多的表示時間的方法與片語,然而,許多人對於英文時間的表達方法沒有多加關注,以至於寫作時,時間交代不清楚,或常重複用字。本文將介紹常見的時間副詞片語、表達時間的介系詞的概念,與時間副詞子句。

英文表達時間的方法

時間副詞用來表達動作發生的時間 (when)、持續多久 (how long)、以及發生的頻率 (how often)。而構成時間副詞的方法有很多種:

  • 用單獨的時間副詞,如tomorrow, later, frequently
  • 兩個字以上構成的時間副詞片語,如 the day before (yesterday), last week, twice a week
  • 用介系詞來構成時間副詞片語,如 on Monday, for an hour
  • 用連接詞造時間副詞子句,如when I was young,  since she was a grader

請注意:英文有16個動詞時態,在使用時間副詞時,要特別注意的英文的動詞時態是否正確。

時間副詞單字

常用的時間副詞單字沒有很多個,且多為頻率副詞,介紹如下:

請注意時態變化:

  1. They will come tomorrow.
  2. I hope to see him someday.
    希望有一天能看到他(這一天尚未到來)
  3. She seldom listens to music.
  4. I visited my grandma yesterday.

兩個以上構成時間副詞片語 (不含介係詞)

常用的時間副詞片語很多個,且涵蓋三個時間概念,介紹如下:

  • when 
    some day or other (總有一天,遲早), sooner or later (早晚), one day (有一天), the day after tomorrow (後天), two days after tomorrow (大後天), the day before yesterday (前天), the other day (幾天前, 也可以表示大前天), some day (無法明確說出的某個特定時間)
  • how long
    all day long (整天)
  • how often
    every other day (每隔一天), twice a week (ㄧ星期兩次), every four years (每四年)

請注意時態變化:

  1. One day, a mouse was caught by a lion.
    原本one day是過去的某一天,但是,現在好像尚未到來的某一天,也可以用one day
  2. He will be sorry some day or other.
    他遲早會後悔
  3. Jane’s birthday is some day in August.
    Jane的生日在八月,不確定哪一天  
  4. He is leaving for Taipei the day after tomorrow.
    他後天出發去台北,來去動詞可以使用進行式代替未來式,強調動作就要發生
  5. She’s been reading all day long.
    她一整天都在閱讀
  6. The girl visits her grandma every other day.
    每隔一天去看奶奶
  7. John used to go to Japan twice a month.
    John以前一個月去日本兩次

用介系詞構成時間副詞

WHEN

at
表示可在時間數線上標示出一點的時間點,如時刻、正午、黎明、年齡等
at a quarter to ten (9:45)/ at half past ten (10:30)/ at noon正午 / at dawn黎明 / at night
at the end (beginning ) of this month (在這個月底、月初)
at this moment此時 / at that moment那時 
at the same time同時 
at present (at the present time) 目前 / at any moment無論何時

on
表示特定時間,如日期、一週的日子、節日
on the second of June / on March 10 / on Friday (morning, afternoon, evening) / on the afternoon of December 20 / on one’s birthday / on Mother’s Day
on a cold morning / on a quiet evening /
on time準時 / on schedule按時
on several occasions數次 
on the present occasion=on this occasion 此時=at this time

in
表示一段時間的區間內
in the twentieth century在二十世紀 / in 1998 / in spring / in May /in the morning (afternoon, evening) / in the daytime在白天
in the middle of this month在這個月中
in (the) future 在未來 / in the past 在過去
in one’s life一生中 / in one’s childhood在幼年時代
in no time立即 / in time即時、早晚、不久
in an instant=in a moment立即、立刻
in the beginning (end)當初(最後)
in the meantime(meanwhile)就在這時候,於此時
in the long run終於

進一步閱讀『in, on, at用法分別

within
(在~內)表示在某時間內
cf. in表示(過若干時間就~) 時間的經過within two days (weeks, month, years)在兩天…內

during
在..期間內; 後面加特定時間,表示動作或狀態在某一段期間中發生或斷續發生
during the day (month, year) /  during April (1966) / during the winter (semester, vacation)
during one’s absence 某人不在時/ during one’s lifetime在某人一生中 / during the war 在戰爭中

from
表示動作從何時開始,可以和to (until, till)並用,表示從~到~,動詞的時態可以用現在、過去、未來
from morning till night從早到晚 /  from 8:00 to 5:00
from this day從今天起 / from now on從今以後 / from then on從那時起到現在(=since then)

until
表示動作持續做到某個時間點,可以和from連用
till night / till dawn直到黎明
until after three o’clock 直到下午三點之後

by
截止; ~不遲於;在~以前,表示完成某動作的期限;有時也表示「當-時候; 在~時候」之意思
by now 現在 / by the end of this month月底前 
by the time you come back

around / about
接近~時,大約
(at) about seven o’clock
around lunch

toward(s)
表示將近或接近某時
towards evening 近傍晚
toward four o’clock 快四點
toward the end of one’s life 將近晚年時

between 介於兩個時點之內
between four and five o’clock.四點到五點的時候 / between April and June.

through 自始至終
all through the night一整晚
through the summer vacation整個暑假

before在~之前
before autumn / before dinner / before long不久

after在~之後
after school

HOW LONG

for 後面加一段期間,表示動作或狀態繼續多久
for five several minutes (hours, days, months, years) / for a long time / for hours 好幾個小時
for a moment (minute) 一會兒 / for a little while 一會兒 / for a short time
for the past (last) three years過去幾年來
for the time being暫時
for a day or so一兩天 / for two or three years兩三年
for life終身

since 從過去某個時間點開始的動作,持續到現在或另一個較後面的過去時間點知動作或狀態 ,主要子句用現完(進行)或過完(進行)
since the beginning of this century自本世紀初開始 / since yesterday ( last year, 1998) 
since three years ago

HOW OFTEN

at intervals時時
on occasion有時
from day to day天天
from time to time.偶爾

請注意時態:

  1. Life begins at forty.
    人生四時才開始 (描述客觀事實,用現在簡單式)
  2. School is over at four.
    描述客觀事實,用現在簡單式

  3. You will receive your check at the end of this month.
    這個月末,要用未來式

  4. This cafe opens at noon and closes at midnight.
    描述習慣,用現在簡單式

  5. They left for New York on July 19, 2005.出發到紐約 (描述過去事實,用過去簡單式)

  6. On seeing his mom, the baby cried.
    一看到媽媽,那孩子就哭了
  7. The war came to an end in May.
    (描述過去事實,用過去簡單式)

  8. He is in his sixties.
    他六十來歲
    (描述現在事實,用現在簡單式)

  9. The train will arrive within an hour.
    一小時內到達 ,不會超過一小時(火車尚未到達,用未來式)

  10. The train will arrive in an hour.
    一小時後到達
    請注意8跟9的介系詞不同,造成語意不同

  11. We must finish our work within this week.
    在這週內必須完成工

  12. We visited Taipei several times during 2020.
    2020年這一年間,我們多次去台北 (描述過去事實,用過去簡單式)

  13. It rained during the day.
    =It rained sometime during the day or perhaps off and on during the day.
    因為使用過去式,所以翻譯成 – 那一天,下著雨(可能是那一天的某個時候,可能是下下停停。)

  14. It rained a great deal during the year.
    那一年下了很多雨

  15. It rained a lot during April ( or 1966).

  16. He took my place during my absence.我不在時,他代替了我 (執行我的工作)

  17. He died in my absence.我不在時,他死了 (事實的發生)
    請注意15跟16的介系詞不同,造成語意不同

  18. I will study hard from now on.
    從現在開始,動作還沒有,所以用未來式

  19. I haven’t seen her from then on.
    從那時開始,動作一直做到現在,用現在完成

  20. We wait for her visit from day to day
    天天等她來,看到作者使用現在簡單式,表示作者他們現在還在等

  21. I see Henry at the library from time to time.
    偶爾看到Henry,看到作者用現在簡單式,表示現在還是事實
    例句15 – 20: from只表示某時間的起點,可以和to (until, till)並用,表示從~到~,動詞的時事可以用現在、過去、未來

  22. She will stay here till night.
    她今天會待到晚上

  23. He went on studying till dawn.
    直到黎明

  24. It was not until after three o’clock this afternoon that I heard about it.
    直到下午三點後,我才聽到這件事 (說話者說這句話時,已經過了三點了,所以用過去式)

  25. He will be back by the end of this month.
    這月底前,動作還沒發生,用未來式

  26. By the time you come back, it will be dark.
    你來的時候,天就黑

  27. He must be in Tokyo by now.
    他現在一定到東京了

  28. It happened around dinner.
    事情大概在晚餐的時候發生
  29. He left work towards evening.
    在近傍晚下班

  30. It must be toward seven o’clock.
    一定快七點了

  31. He became lonely toward the end of his life.
    將近晚年時,他變得更為寂寞 (根據語意,he已經過世了)

  32. Last Sunday we went to the library after school.

  33. They will come here before long.
    不久後,敘述時間是現在,就用未來式

  34. My mother will come between four and five o’clock.
    四點到五點的時候會來

  35. May comes between April and June.
    描述客觀事實,用現在簡單式

  36. The rain lasted all through the night.
    雨下了一整晚 

  37. She stayed in New York from evening on Monday through Saturday.
    從星期一傍晚一直待到星期六

  38. I studied hard through the summer vacation.
    整個暑假,從頭到尾,都努力讀書

  39. I studied hard during the summer vacation.
    暑假期間,我很努力讀書 (不強調從頭到尾)
    請注意37與38介系詞的不同,寓意上的細微不同

  40. We haven’t seen him since 1999.

  41. Science has made remarkable advances since the beginning of this century.

  42. He has eaten nothing since yesterday.

  43. She has been living with us since 1978.
    例句39-42,since後面接過去ㄧ個時間點,動作一直做到現在,用現在完成式

  44. We haven’t seen him for two or three years.

  45. We haven’t seen him for two or three years.
    例句43-44,for後面接ㄧ段時間,強調動作從一段時間之前一直做到現在,用現在完成式

用連接詞構成時間副詞子句

常見構成時間副詞的連接詞有:since (自從), until (直到), after (在…之後), before (在…之前), when (當…), while (當…發生的時候), as (當),as soon as (ㄧ…就…),其用法請看以下例句解說。

  1. I have learned English since I was six.
    從六歲學英文學到現在
    – since帶領的時間副詞子句,動詞用過去式,主要子句用現在完成式,表示動作從過去做到現在
  2. I do my homework after I have finished dinner.
    吃完晚餐後寫功課
    – after帶領的句子如果強調動作先完成,用完成式,不強調就用簡單式。主要子句用現在簡單式表示是現在的習慣
  3. She went to bed after she called her mom.
    – after帶領的句子不強調先完成就用簡單式。主要子句用過去簡單式表示敘述發生過的事
  4. Wash your hands before you eat.
    – 用現在簡單式表示現在的習慣
  5. I was playing games when my mom came back.
    – 主要子句是過去進行式,when帶領的句子用過去簡單式,表示是插曲
  6. While I was playing games, my mom came back.
    – while帶領的句子用過去進行式,俵是當一件事情正在發生的時候,主要子句的動作發生了。
  7. I was playing games while my mom was cooking.
    – 主要子句是過去進行式,while帶領的句子也用過去進行式,強調兩件事都正在進行中,而事件時間在過去。注意,現在也可以用when來連接兩個進行式
  8. I hate it when I am alone at home.
    -when帶領的子句用現在簡單式,則有只要,每次的味道
  9. I was at home as the thief broke in.
    -as的語意跟用法和when和when一樣
  10. She watched TV until her mom came back.
    看電視看到媽媽回來(媽媽回來就沒看了)
  11. She didn’t practice the piano until her mom came back.
    一直沒練習彈鋼琴,到了媽媽回來才彈鋼琴
  12. The thief ran away as soon as he saw the policeman.
    那小偷一見到警察就跑了

分詞構句當時間副詞

由when, as, while, after帶領的副詞子句,可以變成分詞構句。將副詞子句變成分詞構句的方法:

  1. 副詞子句的動詞加上ing,破壞動詞
  2. 主詞跟主要子句的主詞相同,就省略; 不同的話,主詞要留下
  3. 連接詞刪去,如果刪去會造成語意不明,就留下
  4. 這樣就是分詞構句了

以下將上面的幾個副詞子句的例句改成分詞構句:

  1. Having finished dinner, I do my homework 
  2. Calling her mom, she went to bed 
  3. When mom coming back, I was playing games 
    留下when,語意比較清楚
  4. As the thief breaking in, I was at home. 
    留下as,語意比較清楚
  5. When young, I would play in the park till night.

如果你有其他文法或寫作上的疑惑,可以到我們『英文文法』『英文作文』專頁,看看有沒有文章探討相關問題。或者你有其他易混淆的單字上的疑惑,可以到我們『英文單字與片語』專頁,看看有沒有相關文章。

Barshai Huang
Barshai Huang
從事英語教學二十多年,一路伴隨著學生從幼稚園成長到大學畢業,非常熟悉不同年齡的孩子,在英文學習上會遭遇到的問題與解決方法。擅長自然發音、文法、句子結構、英文閱讀理解策略與寫作的教學。我的教學理念是設計出帶給孩子樂趣與成功經驗的教學方案,孩子就會產生自信,並熱愛英文學習。
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