When Is a Choice Not Really a Choice?
2014-01-12 00:30:44


Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.(1)
现在,美国之音特别英语的程序字和它们的故事。

Making choices is necessary, but not always easy. Many of our expressions tell about this difficulty.(2)
作出的选择是必要的但不是总是那么简单。许多我们的表情告诉这一困难。

One of these expressions is "Hobson’s choice." It often is used to describe a difficult choice. But that is not what it really means. Its real meaning is to have no choice at all.(3)
这些表达式之一就是"霍布森的选择"。它通常用于描述一个困难的选择。但这是不它到底意味着什么。其真正的含义是,在所有已别无选择。

The Hobson in the expression was Thomas Hobson. Mr. Hobson owned a stable of horses in Cambridge, England.(4)
在表达式中的 Hobson 是托马斯 · 霍布森。霍布森先生拥有稳定的在剑桥,英国的马。

Mr. Hobson often rented horses to the students at Cambridge University. But, he did not really trust them to take good care of the horses.(5)
霍布森先生经常租马到剑桥大学的学生。但是,他并不真的相信他们能够好好照顾马。

So, he had a rule that prevented the students from riding his best horses.(6)
所以,他有一条规则,阻止学生骑他最好的马。

They could take the horse that was nearest the stable door. Or, they could not take any horse at all.(7)
他们可以采取的是最近的稳定门的马。或者,他们不能在所有采取任何马。

Thus, a Hobson’s choice was really no choice.(8)
因此,选择余地的选择真的是别无选择。

Another expression for having no real choice is "between a rock and a hard place." It is often used to describe a difficult situation with few choices -- none of them good.(9)
另一种表达有没有真正的选择是"之间岩石和坚硬的地方"。它通常用于描述一种困难的情况有几个选择 — — 他们都不好。

For example, your boss may ask you to work late. But you have plans to go to a movie with your friends. If you refuse to work, your boss gets angry.(10)
例如,你的老板可能会问你要工作到很晚。但你有计划要去和你的朋友看电影。如果你拒绝工作,你的老板会生气。

But if you do not go to the movies with your friends, they may get angry. So what do you do? You are "caught between a rock and a hard place."(11)
但如果你不去和你的朋友去看电影,他们可能会生气。所以,你该怎么办?你是"抓硬地"。

Another expression -- "between the devil and the deep blue sea" -- also gives you a choice between two equally dangerous things.(12)
另一种表达 — — 之间的"魔鬼和深蓝色的大海"— — 还为您提供了两个同样危险事物之间进行选择。

Its meaning seems clear. You can choose the devil and his burning fires of hell. Or, you can choose to drown in the sea.(13)
它的意思似乎很清楚。您可以选择魔鬼和他燃烧着地狱之火。或者,您可以选择在海中淹死。

Some word experts say the expression comes from the days of wooden ships. The "devil" is a word for a seam between two pieces of wood along the water-line of a ship.(14)
有些词专家说表达来自天的木船。"魔鬼"是一个词为煤层之间两块木头沿水线的一艘船。

If the seam or crack between the two pieces of wood begins to leak, then a sailor must fix it. The sailor ordered to make the repairs was in a dangerous situation.(15)
如果煤层或两块木头之间的裂隙开始泄漏,一名水手必须修复它。命令进行修复,水手是处于危险的境地。

He was hanging over the side of the ship, working "between the devil and the deep blue sea."(16)
他被吊上一边的船上工作"之间的"魔鬼和深蓝色的大海。

There is still another expression that describes a situation with only bad choices -- being "on the horns of a dilemma."(17)
那里是仍然另一表达式,描述情况为只有错误的选择 — —"上"角的困境。

The dictionary says a dilemma is a situation in which you must make a decision about two equally balanced choices. When your dilemma has horns, a choice becomes impossible.(18)
字典说一个困境是,你必须做出决定 (约两个同样均衡的选择的情况。当您的困境有角时,选择变得不可能。

When you are "on the horns of a dilemma" no matter which horn you choose, something bad will happen.(19)
当你是"两难的角"的角无论您选择时,不好的事情会发生。

This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Marilyn Christiano.(20)
此美国之音特别英语节目的词汇和它们的故事是写的玛丽莲梦露 Christiano。

I’m Christopher Cruise.(21)
我是克里斯托弗 · 巡航。


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