都是礼物,gift和present有什么区别?

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圣诞将至,又到了送(or 收)礼物的季节了。在英语中,有时候把礼物称为gift,有时则称为present,这两个单词我们都不陌生,但你知道两者之间有什么区别吗?

都是礼物,gift和present有什么区别?

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 presented or bestowed. They were both in use for the idea of something undergoing a transfer of possession without expectation of payment from the 13th century onward.

Gift和present来源于不同语系。Gift来自古日耳曼语,是“给予”的意思。原来指代“给”这个行为,后来就演变为“所给的东西”。在古英语中,Gift指的是给新娘父母的彩礼。而present来源于法语,意思是“递交、献上、赠送”的意思。A present就是所赠送或授予的东西。从13世纪开始,这两个词都表示的是,在不要求付款的前提下,一件东西的所有权发生了转移。

都是礼物,gift和present有什么区别?

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.

在如今,gift和present是近义词,本质上表达的都是同一个东西,但是即使意思再相近的近义词,还是会有不同的词义和用法。

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.

Gift的用法更广泛,它可以指天赋,比如说你生下来就能说会道(have the gift of gab),或者有音乐天赋(musical gift)。Gift可以指代无形的事物,比方说你的理解能力很好(gift of understanding),或者能够度过平静美好的一天,真是上天的恩赐啊(gift of a quiet day)。

We generally don’t use present for things like this. Presents are more concrete. 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 seem to fit better.

Present通常不这么用。Present所表达的意思更具化。假如在你生日的时候,你们全家出钱承担你的大学学费,这个时候你会说“我收到了好多present”吗?听起来也没什么问题,但既然这些“礼物”不是切切实实拿在手里的,用gift就更合适一点。

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还可以作定语名词,去修饰另一个名词。你会把礼品店称作什么?A gift shop。给员工装礼物的篮子叫什么呢?A gift basket。Present则不可以这样去修饰另一个名词。我们经常说的gift boxes(礼品盒),gift cards(礼品卡),和gift wrap(礼品包装),但是不能把它们说成present boxes,present cards,和present wrap。

都是礼物,gift和present有什么区别?

Gift appears to be more frequent 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.

Gift的使用比present要频繁,不过要对此进行精确的计数比较难,因为当我们在比较名词gift和名词present出现的频率时,会把present作为“当下”的意思也给算进去了。不过,present的复数形式presents就只有礼物的意思了。美国当代英语语料库对此的研究发现,gift的使用频率远超present,比例达4:1。

英文来源:mentalfloss.com

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