英语写作 | 用错until now意思南辕北辙

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The phrase “until now” is often used incorrectly. This can result in a sentence having the opposite meaning to the one intended.
词组“直到刚才”经常被误用,而误用的结果就是句意可能与写作人想表达的原意完全相反。

Consider the following sentence: Until now, the above documents and information have not been provided by the Banks.
来看看这句句子:直到刚才,银行还没有提供上述的文件和信息。

What does the writer mean? Have the Banks provided the documents and information or not?
作者的意思是什么?银行到底有没有提供文件和信息?

A native English speaker would be likely to say yes. But the writer intended to say that they have not.
母语为英语的人的回答是肯定的(即文件和信息已提交),而作者实际上想要表达的是否定的意思(即文件和信息还未提交)。

In English the phrase “until now” is used to refer to a change of circumstances where the change happens now.
在英语中,词组“直到刚才”用来指在刚才那个时刻事情已经发生了变化。

  • Until now I have never eaten sushi.
    直到刚才,我还从来没吃过寿司。

This means that it is the first time the speaker has eaten sushi. Until the present moment the speaker never ate sushi. NOW the speaker is eating sushi.
这句话的意思是这是说话者第一次吃寿司。在说这句话之前,说话者从来没有吃过。现在说话者正在吃寿司。

So, if we apply this understanding of “until now” to the first example, it means that until the present moment the Banks have not provided the documents and information. NOW (or in the very recent past) they have provided them.That is how a native English speaker would understand the sentence.
那么,让我们把这个含义用到第一个例子中去,这句话的意思就是:直到刚才,银行还没有提供文件和信息。但是,刚才(或者比这早一些时候),银行已经提交了。英语为母语的人就是这么理解“直到刚才”的意思的。

Instead of “until now”, in this sentence the writer should have used the phrases “to date”, “as yet” or “so far”. They all have the same meaning. “To date” is formal; “so far” informal.
如果要表示否定的意思,就不应该用“until now”,可以用“to date”,“as yet”,或者“so far”,上述词组都表示目前为止的意思,“to date”是正式用法,“so far”是非正式用法。

  • To date, the above documents and information have not been provided by the Banks.
    目前为止,银行还没有把上述文件和信息提交过来。

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