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My friend asked me about the following sentence that appears in NPCR 1, Lesson 12:

你要多穿点儿衣服.

I understand that it means "You should wear some more clothes." However, she is confused about the word order adverb (多)+verb (穿)+点儿 here, I couldn't quite explain why. Are we supposed to treat 点儿 like an adverb, and if so, why does it make sense to have both in one sentence?

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4 Answers 4

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According to 现代汉语词典,点儿 is a counter word (量词).

The full explanation is : 量词,表示少量。(counter word, mean a little amount of)

And it has the following examples: 一点儿小事 吃点儿东西再走

The usage is the second example is exactly the same as the sentence you gave.

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I will mark this as an answer because it is the only answer with a reference given, despite others having more votes. 谢谢。 –  pg-robban May 7 at 8:03

I'm not exactly a grammar expert, but when it comes to 点儿, I'd probably explain it by relating it to "a little" so 你要多穿点儿衣服. would roughly translate to "You should wear a little more (clothes)." It can be applied to different things like, -"do you want to eat something?" - "a little" so I'd say its rather a determiner than an adverb, much like the english word "a little".

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点儿 actually is not attached to the verb in this case and thus is not an adverb. Instead, 点 is being used as a measure word for the noun 衣服. The 儿 is the result of erhua (儿化) on 点, which is common in northern China.

一点 or 一点儿 is used as a measure to indicate "some" or "a little". When the count for a measure is one (一), it is often optional and can be dropped. Also note that when the noun is understood from context, it can also be dropped, so your sentence could also simply end up becoming 你要多穿点儿. This may end up making it look like 点儿 is modifying the verb, even though that's not the case; it's modifying an implicit noun that had been dropped.

It's true that this phenomenon of word dropping can often make sentences harder to analyze for Chinese learners, but learning when certain parts of sentences can be optional will help your understanding of the language.

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+1 for correctly parsing the syntax –  Rephinx May 7 at 9:41

Literally it is "you have to more wear a little clothes" or "you have to wear a little more clothes" in English. (多 acts as an adverb, which means many -->more, 穿 means wear, 点originally means dot, 儿 is a particle word that doesn't have a meaning, so 点儿 means a dot --> a little.

This is kinda of a commanding sentence. In Chinese, it is very common to use "点儿" after the verb to soften the level of the verb particularly when in a commanding sentence, or in other words, to be more polite.

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