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According to 感动 means both 'to move (emotionally)' and 'moving'. But from what I understand from some texts I have '邻居们都很感动' implying a more passive meaning for 感动.

Can someone shed some light on this ?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

感动 can both be passive and active. For completeness' sake this is the first meaning: "受外界事物影响而引起内心激动" and this is the second "使感动" in 现代汉语规范词典. The meaning will typically be clear from the context.

Some examples:

  • 他的话感动了在座的人: His speech touched the people who where present. (here it is active)
  • 他很容易被感动: He's very easily moved. (here 感动 is made passive by adding the 被)
  • 看了电影《上甘岭》,我感动得流下了眼泪: after seeing the movie 上甘岭, he was so touched that he cried. (here is it passive, but without 被, 受 or another verb to make it passive)

Although not mentioned in most dictionaries, it can also be used as an adjective. Actually in your example (using the modifier 很) it is used as an adjective (according to Chinese grammar, in the translation it can be translation using a verb instead). As an adjective in also be in both directions (used when you move somebody else, or when you are moved by something or somebody. For example:

  • 这部很感动的电影是去年拍的: this very touching movie was filmed last year
  • 听了你的话,我很感动: I'm very touched by what he said.
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Great answer. The adjective part is very true although Chinese grammar interprets it differently. One thing to note is 这部电影很感动 does not sound natural. 感动 can be to touch or to be touched but for touching you want to use 感人 or 令人感动. – NS.X. Jun 24 '12 at 18:58
@user986080: Yes, you are right. It doesn't sound natural. I'm not really sure whether 这部很感动的电影 is said often, but it sounds more natural to me. What do you think? – BertR Jun 25 '12 at 5:27
No, it doesn't sound natural. I believe 感人 should be used here. – NS.X. Jun 25 '12 at 17:43

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