抓它的

通常情况下,昨天的最佳部分“我会告诉你'低于'“一块小贴在脚注中它当然被证明是有争议的,而且,如果你认为语法和用法论点非常有趣,那么值得深入研究。

我引用了这一段Joe Nocera的专栏在昨天的纽约时报(重点补充):

It’s hard to make a good smartphone — so hard, in fact, that no one really has it right yet.BlackBerrys are great at e-mail, but the phone is barely adequate and its Internet abilities are not very good at all.The Motorola Q crashes almost as often as the TreoThe Apple iPhone is terrific for music and media, but lousy for e-mail and phoning.

我加了一个“[SIC]“在第二句中的”其“之后加上以下脚注:

Weird that The Times copy editors didn’t catch the mismatched plural “BlackBerrys” and singular “its” in the second sentence.

到目前为止,我收到了大约三十封关于此脚注的电子邮件 - 绝大多数人认为我错了,而且Nocera专栏中的用法实际上是正确的。1

我的论点是“它的”是指“黑莓”,因此应该是复数“他们的”:

BlackBerrys are great at e-mail, but the phone is barely adequate and their Internet abilities are not very good at all.

来自大多数不同意见的DF读者的论点是“它”指的是“电话”,这是单数的,因此是正确的。

I stand pat that the sentence is wrong; but I do agree that it is easily misread句子作为一个整体是一个烂摊子,而不是简单地修复它/它们的不匹配,应该完全重写(例如,必须假设“互联网能力”是指网络浏览,因为他已经称赞黑莓的电子邮件是“伟大的”;显然,电子邮件是“互联网能力”And what’s with the word “abilities” anyway? “Features” or “capabilities” would be better等等。)

The problem with the idea that “its” refers to “the phone” is that what Nocera means by “the phone” is not “the BlackBerry gadget as a whole”, but rather “the portion of a BlackBerry device that serves as a phone”在整个段落的背景下,很明显他所说的是所有智能手机都存在缺陷,每个智能手机在某些方面都很好,但在其他领域则很差。2当他写道“电话勉强够用”时,他并不是说整个设备“勉强够用”,只是充当电话的部分。

我建议重写一下:

BlackBerrys are great for e-mail, but their phone features are barely adequate and their web capabilities are not very good at all.

甚至更好:

BlackBerrys are great for e-mail, but are barely adequate as phones and not very good at all for accessing the web.

If you’re still tempted to insist that “its” refers to “the phone” in the original sentence, then what does “the phone” refer to? The plural “BlackBerrys” in the first independent clause? That’s even worse.


  1. 一些读者不知何故离开了我的印象,即我指责Nocera和The Times of aITSO; i.e我在争论“它的”应该是“它的”我的猜测是这些读者只看到了“[SIC]“之后的”它“并没有费心阅读脚注And so they probably won’t bother reading this footnote, either. ↩︎

  2. Except for the Palm Treo, which Nocera pretty much trashes as bad in every regard. ↩︎