Questions about the rules that govern and structure the language, and the composition of clauses, sentences and expressions.

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2
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1answer
58 views

Questions about the meaning and position of 一下

My textbook gives me the following two examples of 一下, saying that the 一下 in each sentence doesn't mean the same thing: 你去问一下老师 (Just ask your teacher) 我打了孩子一下 (I smacked my child) Question 1. I'd ...
1
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3answers
119 views

The correct usage of 大约 vs. 差不多

I am a bit confused by the appropriate use of 大约 and 差不多. I have learned to use 差不多 in many cases where I am talking about an approximate amount, value, extent, etc. of something, or speaking about ...
1
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4answers
152 views

Translation of 这里开了家医院

I found a translation of 这里开了家医院 to "There is a hospital here" but this translation seems to ignore the word 开了。 Does the word 开了 add addition meaning to the sentence which the translation does not ...
0
votes
2answers
129 views

她离开了三年了 vs. 她离开三年了 Is there any difference between the two?

她离开了三年了 她离开三年了 My two different textbooks say those two sentences respectively for the one same meaning: "It's been three years since she left." but I'm still not sure because my books are too old ...
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4answers
118 views

Questions about 时量补语

I'm learning about Chinese complement of time-measurement (时量补语). It sounds very tough though, and I'm now stuck on some sentences like: 她学汉语要学一年 我看电影只看了十分钟 My textbook doesn't explain a rule ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

How is 着 pronounced here?

In Mo Yan's Red Sorghum there is a line saying: 曾外祖母做了好饭好菜,说着甜言蜜语, The meaning is clear, and could be translated either "Greatgrandmother made good foods and said honeyed words" or "Greatgrandmother ...
1
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9answers
304 views

Why “校车来了“, not ”校车来着“ and ”校车正来"?

My question is as the title. The sentence "school bus is coming" is translated as "校车来了". I understand this translation because "了" here indicates a new situation. But why are "校车来着" or "校车正来" WRONG? ...
0
votes
0answers
108 views

comparing 我一个弟兄们 with 我的一个兄弟

«听审现场»20151226 谁在说谎 (好象更早期广播的重播) http://cctv.cntv.cn/lm/tingshenxianchang/index.shtml,civil case plaintiff 李付成 at time mark 01:42 says: 我一个弟兄们(有三间老房子), would 我的一个兄弟 (or at least 我的一个弟兄) not be more ...
4
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2answers
207 views

A Golden Rule for When Chinese Repeat a Word Twice X Twice? 热热闹闹

I have come across several times reading Chinese that they repeat words twice and then again. For an Instance what is the difference between 热闹 and 热热闹闹 ? what is the grammar meaning when words get ...
2
votes
5answers
156 views

What does 你要买点儿什么? mean exactly? (吗 question vs. Wh- question)

I already learned that Chinese wh- questions don't require a 吗 particle but I got stuck on this sentence: 你要买点儿什么? Which does the sentence mean, "what will you buy?" or "will you buy ...
3
votes
2answers
137 views

What role does 的 play in the sentence 我不明白你刚说的第一句话?

I take 我不明白你刚说的第一句话 to mean "I don't understand what you said in the first line" I'm trying to understand what 的 does in this sentence (or grammar function). Relatedly, would it be possible to omit ...
1
vote
2answers
121 views

Would this sentence be grammatically correct?

I'm practicing with the words 以前 and 以后. Using the word 以前, I came up with this sentence: 我一分钟以前刚刚看到他! My English intention was to make this sentence: I just saw him a minute ago! I was ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Cantonese 咁: adverb suffix?

I know 咁 means "so", as in "so big" = "gam daai". However, I just found this sentence: 我仲未失望咁係度等 Ngo5 zung6-mei6 sat1-mong6 gam3 hai6 dou6 dang2 In which I think it ought to be interpreted ...
3
votes
7answers
213 views

和 or 或? When to use “and”s and “or”s

A very short, isolated question: No hopes or dreams In English, it's very clear that this is "neither hopes nor dreams" i.e. there are no hopes, and also no dreams. In Chinese, which word, 和 or ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

Puzzling negation in a beginner's grammar book

From Jimmy Du's Essential Chinese, p. 46: I understand everything you say. 你说的我都懂。 I don't understand all they say. 他们说的我不是都懂。 Why is 不是 there in the second example, and not simply 不? I ...
1
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3answers
81 views

Difference between 谦虚 and 虚心?

In my Chinese textbook, 谦虚好学 is used, and 虚心求教 is used as well. They both mean modest, so when should I use each one?
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2answers
98 views

When do I use the state complement?

Recently I have been confused about when I am to use the state complement. For example, if I want to say "In general I read the messages quickly", which sentence should I write? 我一般很快地看留言 我一般看留言看得很快 ...
3
votes
4answers
124 views

Does an existential sentence with “有” only carry a non-specific noun?

Sentence 1: 桌子上有一本作业 Sentence 2: 桌子上有我的作业 I think both sentences are correct. However, I just watched a grammar video which mentioned the existential sentence with "有" can only carry a non-specific ...
1
vote
7answers
350 views

Why is “他在椅子上坐” wrong?

Need help urgently!! Question #1: What are the differences between these three sentences: 1) 他坐在椅子上 2) 他在椅子上坐着 3) 他在椅子上坐 (wrong) Question #2: Why is "他在椅子上坐" wrong? Thank you in advance!
1
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4answers
163 views

Does this sentence sound natural?

I'm self translating common phrases in English, and I tried to translate "Excuse me, do you have the time?" and came up with “劳驾、做你有那个时?”. Is this a natural sounding sentence and is it correct?
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3answers
98 views

Possessive and plural: usage of 们 and 的

This is a very basic question about a simple topic that is not really clear to me (curiously, my book doesn't address it, or, more probably, I don't get it). There are rules to: to pluralize ...
0
votes
5answers
167 views

Is 我携带我的猫 grammaticaly correct?

I've been writing Chinese sentences just to get myself used to the language, and I tried writing the sentence I carry my cat. I translated this to 我携带我的猫 (Pinyin: wǒ xié dài wǒ de māo). It sounds odd ...
2
votes
8answers
288 views

Why is 我找不到 correct and 我不能找 wrong? Which grammatical point am I missing?

I was recently corrected by a Chinese friend. He said it's incorrect to say: 我不能找 He said the right form is: 我找不到 Which sentence structure pattern is this following. Is it used with only ...
0
votes
1answer
87 views

What is the verbatim (grammatical) meaning of 不了​了之 ?

不了​了之 is a ChengYu, read as bu4liao3liao3zhi1 its figurative meaning is "to let sth. in its original state". I guess the ChengYu had some concrete verbatim meaning in literary Chinese, but I do not ...
1
vote
2answers
62 views

What is the grammatical function of 到 in 这些的确是铁匠会用到的老式钉子 ?

How does 到 contribute to the meaning of the expression: 这些的确是铁匠会用到的老式钉子. Is there a difference between sentences with and without it: 这些的确是铁匠会用到的老式钉子 这些的确是铁匠会用的老式钉子
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4answers
170 views

Descriptive / generative grammar of Mandarin?

Does anyone know where I can find a descriptive grammar and a generative grammar of Mandarin, in English or French?
0
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1answer
85 views

What is the translation for 淫之以色,啗之以利,養之以味,娛之以樂?

淫之以色,啗之以利,養之以味,娛之以樂 is a sentence from 六韜 (six secret teachings), a book about strategies. There are 4 lines each containing 4 characters and the same pattern: A 之以 B, wherein A and B are semantically ...
2
votes
4answers
158 views

How do you translate “if she had not helped her, they both would be dead now” ?

How do you express in Chinese a conditional set in the past that did not actually happened? Like for instance: if she had not helped her, they both would be dead now
0
votes
1answer
73 views

What is the grammatical function of 當 and 自 in 爾男子,當自警 ?

Two lines from 三字經 are 爾男子,當自警. I understand 爾男子 as "you boys" as if asking for attention by adressing them. 警 is to warn or to guard or being in a state of attentive observation. Now as for 當 and 自 ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

What is the meaning of 貪人之有者殘 ?

貪人之有者殘 is a phrase from 素書, I am not able to understand the grammatical structure of this sentence. for instance: 貪 does it mean greedy or make s.o. greedy, or consider s.o. greedy , or greed ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

In which ways can I express “to make s.o. jump” ?

I would like to know if there are different ways in Mandarin or Cantonese to express the causative, examplified by the help of the sentence "to make s.o. jump".
1
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3answers
169 views

Difference between 能 and verb + 得了(de liao3)

I remember once being told that there are differences in usage and meaning between 能 and verb + 得了. 他能来。 他不能来。 他来得了。 他来不了。 EDIT: Maybe my examples above weren't that good. Here are some new ones: ...
2
votes
1answer
95 views

Asking Someone How Their Chinese Studies Are Going

I have a friend who has started learning Mandarin, and I want to ask them how their Mandarin studies are going. The first phrase that comes to mind is this: 你中文学习得怎么样? I'm not sure, however, if 怎么样 ...
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Fill in the Blanks/Grammar error

两个队的分数_都很_近. The spaces are where words/phrases are supposed to go. Are there such words that fit in these spaces? I've been going through google trying to find similar sentence structures but to no ...
2
votes
2answers
130 views

Does this sentence follow the topic-comment pattern? 你家孩子真多

I think the following sentence has the topic-comment structure, but I'm not entirely sure if there is another grammar principle underlying it that I'm not seeing. The sentence is: 你家孩子真多! I ...
1
vote
2answers
201 views

What is meaning of the sentence 「夫非盡人之子與」?

夫非盡人之子與 I only understand this sentence from classical Chinese to a very low degree. 夫 could be some kind of sentence particle or simply mean "man". 非 and 與 often belong together, 非 negates ...
4
votes
1answer
243 views

What is the usage of 蔑 as a negation word in classical chinese?

I read someone mentioning 蔑 as a negation word in classical Chinese, but unfortunately without explaining how it works or an example sentence. So I looked it up in my dictionary and it only showed me ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

What is the meaning of the phrase 铁血丹心 ?

This is the title of a famous wuxia-novel, whose full title is 射鵰英雄傳之鐵血丹心, it is also a the name of a Cantonese song. I have searched for an explanation of this phrase. I thought, maybe it is a ...
0
votes
3answers
197 views

How to make a tenseless sentence?

When making up a sentence in Chinese we all can make many types of mistakes. But I'm interested in one particular mistake, namely "a mistake that makes native Chinese speakers to wonder about the ...
0
votes
3answers
53 views

Does this translation of a sentence accurately capture the information and grammar of the original sentence?

Background I am currently trying to translate this sentence, which comes out of an informational flyer. “那就一定不要错过[北京留学生友会]即浖联会为新老同学们免费举办的[汽车知识讲座]”。 Attempt My attempt at a translation is this. ...
5
votes
2answers
236 views

To 了 or not to 了

I'm Chinese learner and as everybody else I'm puzzled by the verbal aspect 了. My research into the subject gave such results: 了 belongs to a class of perfective aspect markers just as many other ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

How to use correctly use 是否?

I'm not entirely sure what is suppose to follow 是否. For example, I'd like to say: I wasn't know (or wasn't sure) if you heard me clearly. I'm not sure if this is how it should be translated: ...
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vote
3answers
175 views

What does “上千” + [something] mean?

For example: 上千苹果 Does that mean exactly one thousand apples, or over a thousand apples, or roughly a thousand apples, or up to a thousand apples?
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vote
5answers
256 views

Does it matter if I use 要 or 想 for this sentence?

他是一个不负责的人,(要/想) 当我们的经理。 Which is the right optative verb to use?
2
votes
4answers
154 views

Difficulty translating “makes”. How to translate this sentence:

I can't figure out how to translate this 对我来说,北方人的口音和语速makes it difficult for me to understand them. What's the best way to say this without losing any of the above meaning and structure?
1
vote
4answers
129 views

Word order question. Describing a rabbit's eyes

Forgive me for the newbie question. I've just begun learning about proper word order in Chinese sentences, and I was lead to believe that the "How" of the main verb in the sentence should always come ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

What is the phrase for “sounds like” as in “it sounds like your dad is getting better”?

At first I thought I could use 听起来, but if I'm not mistaken this is only used for actual sound, not "you just told me your dad is back from the hospital, it sounds like he's getting better each day". ...
1
vote
3answers
183 views

What is the meaning of 看在 and 分上?

看在孩子的分上,夫妇二人没有离婚。 In the phrase above, what do they mean? Neither is found in a dictionary. The sentence is said to translate to "The pair would not divorce because of the children".
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Usage of word “sun”: 太阳 (tài yáng) vs 日 (rì)

What is the difference between 太阳 (tài yáng) and 日 (rì) for "sun"? Are they used in different contexts or are they interchangeable? Thanks!
3
votes
1answer
210 views

Is '去+verb' similar to 'to infinitives' in English?

I am a collector. I collect sentences which I find interesting or exemplary for certain syntactical structures. I just stumbled over another example of this structure, so I thought I would ask the ...