Onward and Upward|“Why do Hong Kong people like to use ‘on the other hand’ so often?”

一個在老牌英國公司的Hong Kong office做企業傳訊的朋友跟我說,她的英國人老闆有次問她,“Why do Hong Kong people like to use ‘on the other hand’ so often? Even when the situation doesn’t call for its usage!”

在我的學生中,讀本地學校的學生也經常在沒必要的情況下用“on the other hand”,所以我有理由相信,這個usage的源頭是學校。當學生出來社會工作,看到其他香港人也經常用 “on the other hand”,就會繼續有樣學樣,久而久之就產生那個英國人觀察到的現象。

那該如何防止濫用“on the other hand”?我先打個比喻,在鏡頭前說話的人都知道,如果不留神,很容易在句與句之間加插“咁”或“er“之類的filler。濫用”on the other hand” 也可能出自類似原因,在猶豫如何寫下去時,加插”on the other hand”, 能舒緩“冷場”。

所以,要對抗 a misuse of “on the other hand”, 可以考慮只容許自己說有substance的內容。By way of illustration, let’s look at the contrast between the following writing samples:


It is a well known fact that Hong Kong’s education has been under attack. On the other hand, in recent years, there has been a rising trend among parents to homeschool their kids, due to overall unhappiness with Hong Kong’s education system.

My rewrite

Since the imposition of nine years of compulsory education in Hong Kong, critics have decried the system’s emphasis on rote learning, likening this teaching approach to “stuffing a peking duck” – so much useless information is shoved down children’s throats that they’re fed up. In recent years, some parents have become fed up themselves, going as far as pulling their kids out of school and homeschooling them instead.

在我的rewrite, 我先指出學生fed up by填鴨式教育,再指出家長也 fed up, 我用fed up 來連貫段落,就能避免用on the other hand這個怪異的填充物。

Michelle Ng

聯絡方式: michelleng.coach@proton.me
個人網站: https://michellengwritings.com




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