又中又英——Someone wants to play all sides of the equation

  In a previous column I wrote that US President Donald Trump often uses unusual expressions and slang words. He sometimes uses expressions that baffle people. Trump did that last week. He used the expression "he wants to play all sides of the equation" when a reporter asked about Dr Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert who is advising Trump on how to handle the coronavirus pandemic. Fauci had told US senators the country should be slow and careful in reopening the economy and schools. He said the pandemic could worsen if the US reopened schools and the economy too quickly.

  Fauci's comments angered Trump because Trump wants US states to reopen schools sooner. He criticized Fauci by saying "he wants to play all sides of the equation". This expression baffled many people, including reporters at the White House press briefing. I was also baffled. If you are "baffled" it means you are confused and unable to understand something. What did Trump mean when he said Fauci "wants to play all sides of the equation"? When a reporter asked him what he meant, Trump just said it was unacceptable to him for Fauci to tell senators that the country should not rush into reopening schools.

  Some people said on social media it was acceptable to say "all sides" even though there are only two sides to an equation. This is because "all sides" can also mean "both sides" when something has only two sides. Others argued that when there are only two sides to something, it should be "two sides" rather than "all sides". For example, if there are only two sides to an argument, it is better to say "both sides", or "two sides" instead of "all sides". If four family members have different opinions, it is more correct to say "all sides". Some social media users explained that when Trump said Fauci wanted to "play all sides of the equation" he meant Fauci wanted to please everybody by saying what they want to hear. My view is that Fauci just uses scientific facts.

*****

  在之前的專欄中我說過,美國總統特朗普常用一些少見的習語和俚語。他有時更會用一些難倒(baffle)人的習語。特朗普上周就這樣做了。當一名記者問及安東尼.福西醫生,就是那位向特朗普提供建議如何控制新冠病毒疫情的傳染病專家時,特朗普用了一個習語“he wants to play all sides of the equation”。福西曾告知美國參議員,美國在重啟經濟和復課上應該緩慢而謹慎,他說,若美國太快復課及重啟經濟活動,這全球大流行的疫情將會惡化。

  福西的言論激怒了特朗普,因為特朗普希望美國各州的學校可早一點復課。他批評福西時就說了“he wants to play all sides of the equation”,這句習語難倒了(baffled)許多人,包括白宮記者會上的一些記者。我也感到很困惑(baffled)。若你是“baffled”,即是說你感到困惑,不太能明白某事。特朗普說福西“wants to play all sides of the equation”時,到底是甚麼意思?當一名記者問到他是甚麼意思時,特朗普只是解釋道,福西跟參議員說國家不應趕着復課,這樣的言論對他來說難以接受。一些人在社交媒體上說,即使一條算式裏只得兩邊,說"all sides"(所有邊)仍是可以的;那是因為當某事只有兩邊時,"all sides"也可以指“both sides”(兩邊)。另一些人則爭論說,當一樣事物只有兩邊,那應是"two sides"而不是"all sides"。譬如說,一場爭吵中只有兩方,更好的說法是"both sides"或"two sides",而非"all sides"。若四名家庭成員持有不同的意見,那說"all sides"就是恰當的。一些社交媒體用戶解釋說,當特朗普說福西想"play all sides of the equation",他的意思是福西想取悅所有人,說他們想聽的話。我的見解是,福西不過在運用科學實證直抒己見罷了。中譯:七刻



Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


hd