ヒント097 TOEIC英文法講座:agree to+物は正しい?

准教授Timothy Minton
日本医科大学

agree with+人 と agree to+名詞

 

語注を手がかりに英文を読もう!

 

Generations of Japanese seem to have been taught English as a series of pseudo mathematical formulae, two typical examples of which are agree with +人vs. agree to + 物. Unfortunately, when applied to a field like language rather than mathematics, such formulae can at best only hint at the truth; more often, they’re simply wrong.

 

Actually, the “formula” agree with somebody is basically correct, but it is worth asking yourself what it actually means. It doesn't take much deductive power to work out that if you say, I agree with him, what you actually mean is that you agree with what he says or, in other words, his opinion. Even though I agree with him and I agree with his opinion [o] have basically the same meaning, most Japanese, relying on their erroneous agree to + 物 formula, would choose I agree to his opinion [x].

 

 

Agree to indicates agreement to carry out some kind of action, so it is overwhelmingly followed by a verb (or gerund). If you say, for example, I have agreed to give him a raise, you mean that you have indicated to him that you will do what he wants you to do, i.e. increase his salary. While the occurrence of agree to before a straight noun is comparatively rare, you will occasionally see it before nouns that indicate an action. The most common is probably proposal. If you say, I have agreed to his proposal, again you mean that you have indicated that you will do what he wants, whatever it is. You will also occasionally find nouns like plan and idea coming after agree to, as long as the plan/idea involves some sort of action.

 

If this is all news to you, I think you should spend a little time checking what a good English-English dictionary has to say about agree with/to, and also about agree on, which is not an expression most of my students are familiar with, even though in connection with nouns it is far more common than agree to!

 

◆要旨◆

「agree to+物」は正しい使い方でしょうか?

日本では「agree with+人」「agree to+物」と教えられているようですが、実際にはそうした公式に当てはまらない場合も多くあります。「agree with+ 人」の公式は基本的に正しいのですが「agree to+名詞」はめったに使いません。I agree with him.とI agree with his opinion.(彼の意見に賛成です)は同じ意味なのに、日本人は「agree to+物」という誤った公式に当てはめて I agree to his opinion. [x] と書いてしまいます。「agree to」はある種類の「行動」に対する同意を表すので、動詞(あるいは、動名詞)が続くことが圧倒的に多くなります。proposal(提案), plan, ideaという名詞も「行動」に関係がある場合には使われます。たとえば、I have agreed to his proposal.は、「彼が望むことを私が行動によって示す」という内容を意味します。ぜひ英英辞典で「agree with / to」 を調べてみてください。さらに「agree on」も調べてみてください。「agree on+名詞」は「agree to+名詞」より、ずっと多く使われているのです!

(本文中の×印は「正しくない」ことを表しています。)

 

<語注>

a series of pseudo mathematical formulae「一連の擬似数式」/ formulae 「formula(公式)の複数形」 at best「よくても」deductive「推論的な」/ erroneous「まちがった」/ overwhelmingly「圧倒的に」/ gerund「動名詞」 / straight noun「生粋の名詞」(動名詞と区別)

 

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Timothy Minton
1959年、ロンドン生まれ。キングズスクール・ウースター校、ケンブリッジ大学卒業。日本滞在は20年以上に及び、『ここがおかしい日本人の英文法Ⅰ-Ⅲ』(研究社出版)など著書多数。ケンブリッジ・オックスフォード協会東京支部名誉幹事。音楽、旅行、登山、ゴルフが趣味。
         
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