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go easy on

我的小侄女在学钢琴,她妈妈对她要求严格,每天练琴5个小时,弹不完不能出去和朋友玩儿。在钢琴比赛中,侄女得了第二名,要说已经是很厉害了,可是却被她妈妈训了一顿,因为没拿冠军。这种严厉的方式我可真看不惯,也让我想到一个习惯用语,那就是: go easy on.

Easy是容易的意思; to go easy on someone or something的意思是温和有耐心地对待某人或某事。如果是我的女儿在钢琴比赛中得了第二名,我绝对不会批评她。I'd go easy on her. 我会和颜悦色地对她。我可不想当个tiger mom,虎妈。

在下面的例子里,我们要听听一本介绍美国历史上著名罪犯阿尔·卡彭的书。

In this book, Al Capone is almost celebrated as a businessman who makes generous contributions to charities. The author goes easy on his subject. The truth is that Capone was a gangster who made money smuggling illegal alcohol. He also engaged in gambling and prostitution. And let's not forget he had several people murdered!

这段话是说: 在这本书中,阿尔·卡彭几乎被歌颂成了一个对慈善事业慷慨解囊的商人。书的作者显然对他所描写的人物心慈手软了。其实,阿尔·卡彭是个黑道人物,靠走私非法酒赚钱,还参与赌博和卖淫。另外,别忘了他手上还有很多条人命呢。

阿尔·卡彭在美国可是著名历史人物,而且是小说电影等艺术作品很青睐的人物。不可否认,虽然他不是好人,但却是个有意思的人物。

******

Go easy on something还有一个意思,就是“少量地用某物”。

我们一起去听听下面这个例句。

I grew up in Mexico, where the food can be really spicy. When I cook for my American friends, however, I have had to remember that some people prefer milder flavors. I've gone easy on the hot chilies I knew from when I was a boy. I only put a lot of them in a dish when I know my guests appreciate the bolder taste.

这段话是说:我在墨西哥长大,那里的饭菜特别辣。不过,当我给美国的朋友们做饭时,我得提醒自己有些人不喜欢吃太辣。我现在做饭时的辣椒用量已经比我小时候吃的少多了。只有当我的客人都喜欢更辣更重的口味时,我才会在菜里放很多辣椒。

除了口味上的考虑,有时出于健康原因我们也要少吃某种东西。比如,我妈妈的医生就建议她减少钠的摄入量。That's why she's been going easy on the salt when she cooks or eats out. 因此她做饭或者在外面吃的时候都要少吃盐。朋友胃酸过多,so she was advised to go easy on sodas and coffee. 所以医生建议她少喝汽水和咖啡。

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