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worth词性探讨  

2011-12-16 17:51:35|  分类: 语法 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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一些字典认为它是介词,比方说longman(http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/worth_1)

Wordsmyth(http://www.wordsmyth.net/?level=3&ent=worth);

而有些字典认为它是形容词,例如

Webster’s Online Dictionary(http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definitions/worth)

Macmillan(http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/worth).

在语料库COCA(http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/)输入worth, 找到43669条结果。输入“worth.[ii]”,[ii]=介词,得到30042条结果。输入“worth.[nn*]”,[nn*]=名词,得到12085条结果。输入“worth.[jj]”,[jj]=形容词,得到11条结果。显然COCA认为be worth doing”中的worth是介词。语料库COHAhttp://corpus.byu.edu/coha/ )和TIME-BYUhttp://corpus.byu.edu/time/)也把它列入介词。

看看下面的语料(语料来自COCA):

1.       A picture is worth a thousand words.

2.       It won't work 100 percent, but it sure seems worth the try. 

3.       Honfleur maintains a museum devoted to native son Eugne Boudin and well worth an afternoon visit. 

 

4.       It is worth the inconvenience, and the facts are clear.

5.       Was the taming worth the trouble?

6.        But in the end, he says, it was worth the risk.

 

7.       It was worth approximately ten shillings and so was a generous gift.

8.       It's widely believed to have been worth about $200 million.

9.       According to Forbes, the team was worth $1.81 billion in 2010.

 

10.   Car's not worth what the repair bill would cost.

11.   Advice is worth what you pay for it at the end of the day. 

12.   Your most valuable asset is not worth what you thought it was right now?

 

13. Some meals are worth eating more than once.

14. Advice is easy to give, not always worth listening to, seldom worth paying for.

15. There is nothing worth his losing a limb.

以上例句显示worth后接普通名词,代价性名词,钱,从句和动名词,worth是介词,但根据最新的说法它也可以是及物形容词,两种说法都成立。

 

输入“more worth”, 很容易得到这样的例句:

16Some thoughts are just more worth having.

17Some risks are more worth running than others.

18What is more worth waiting for? 

既然worth有比较级形式,说明此时的它是形容词而不是介词。

 

输入“worth [vvg]”, [vvg]=动词的ing形式,很容易检索到这样的句子:

19It is worth considering some additional implications.

20It's worth taking the time to do it right.

21It's not worth spending the most beautiful time of the day fuming over him. 

但“Taking time to do it right is worth”这样的句子检索不到。

 

输入“worth [vvg] that.[cs]”, that.[cs]=连词的that, 得到629个结果。

22. It's worth mentioning that the Mars scientists have been very conservative about making this claim.

23. It's worth noting that killing a slave was not considered murder, no matter the circumstances.

24. It's worth remembering that the film was made a year before the first moon landing.

 

但“Mentioning that the Mars scientists have been very conservative about making this claim is worth.”这样的句子检索不到。除了个别例句,所有句子都是It is worth V-ing”it”显然是形式主语, 而真正的主语是动名词短语worth应该是形容词。

19-24唯一合理的解释就是:worth此时是表语形容词,当用it作形式主语时,必须把真正的主语动名词短语放在worth后面。

 

输入“[rr] worth [vvg]”,[rr]=副词,得到很多例句, 其中83个例句含有“well worth V-ing”。

25It is, after all, one of our most beautiful cities, well worth seeing.

26His dedicated labor has resulted in a major achievement, and one well worth waiting for.

27The question, is it really worth rebuilding all of New Orleans? 

Wellreally这样的副词修饰的是形容词,而不是介词。

 

输入“worth.[jj] [nn*]”,没有检索到worth作定语的语料。

 

小结

worth是个比较复杂的单词,它的词性应该这样细分:

名词:She pumped exactly three dollars' worth and started the engine. 

        Melissa and her husband have a combined net worth of seven figures.

By the time we finished, it stole almost a month's worth of our winter cruise. 

普通形容词:只能作表语,有比较级形式,可以有副词修饰,如例句19-24

介词或及物形容词:普通名词,代价性名词,钱,从句和动名词作其宾语,如例句1-15

这三种词性是并列的,不能把普通形容词和及物形容词简单地归到一类。

 

worth后接形容词,这该如何解释呢?惯用法吗?不规范的语言?

28. To pirates , hostages are worth more alive than dead.

29. But to organizations like al-Shabaab, hostages are frequently worth more dead than alive. 

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