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

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7
votes
2answers
296 views

Is the measure word optional in 这件毛衣?

I've heard the sentence 这毛衣, (so without measure word), but my chinese manual always use a measure word after 这: 这件毛衣 这件苹果 Is the measure word optionnal in after 这 ?
2
votes
5answers
170 views

When should I use 经验 and when should I use 经历?

Can I say "跟据我的经历那儿的人很友好"? Is this a correct sentence? Should I use 经历, 经验, or is there a better way to say this sentence?
1
vote
0answers
45 views

Usage of 我的太太 or 我太太 [duplicate]

When I want to say "my wife" - is it just "我太太" or is it "我的太太"? I've read both and wonder what the difference is, if there is any. Or are both used equally?
0
votes
1answer
93 views

Parts of speech question.

Parts of speech are always dicey in Chinese. What is a verb, what is an adjective etc. So, In the sentence 你好!, what part of speech is Hao?
0
votes
5answers
139 views
2
votes
1answer
68 views

比 comparison structures: positive adjectives?

In some textbook materials, I read that comparisons in Chinese should be used with "positive adjectives". For example: This is correct: 我比他高。 This is said to be incorrect: 他比我矮。 It should be: 他没有我高。 ...
0
votes
1answer
91 views

Is this sentence using 是在?

I was reading this article when I came across this: 让任意的值是在一个上下文当中. 现在的情况你可以想象一个可以把值放进去的盒子 Because of the English version, I know that this is saying: Let an arbitrary value be in a context. ...
6
votes
3answers
214 views

Which measure word should I use with 角色?

Nciku tells me the proper measure word is 类, but a quick search on Google garnered mostly results like "哪类角色更容易赢“小金人”?“ implying that for the most part 类 is used when inquiring about a particular type ...
7
votes
1answer
644 views

What is the difference in usage between 以后 and 之后?

Today John Pasden linked to an old Sinosplice post in which he discussed how Chinese grammatical categories cannot be mapped neatly onto those of Indo-European languages. http://www.sinosplice.com/...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

What is the difference between 涉及 and 涉及到

I'm trying to figure out the difference betwen 涉及and 涉及到. I know here are two examples of each 当今世界的很多问题都涉及到全球的共同利益 - Could I say 涉及? Or 她的演讲涉及了太多敏感的话题 - Could I say 涉及到?
4
votes
3answers
342 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
288 views

Why is 儿 in different positions in “儿子” and “女儿”?

儿 [Er] child 儿子 [Érzi] son 女儿 [Nǚ'ér] daughter So, why is 儿 in different positions in each word but they are both valid?
4
votes
5answers
244 views

“不应” vs. “不该”: Which is used in formal writing?

Recently I've been writing "should not" in Chinese a lot. But, I've been confused. What is the difference between "不该“ and "不应“? Are they both used? For example, I know we can say 对不起,我不该说那么难听的话。 ...
0
votes
1answer
79 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 (...
2
votes
1answer
216 views

Write date and time using 文言?

I have been wondering how did they wrote date and time with 文言 ? Like how would you translate "我周日通常醒早,八点半钟起床。" ? Regards.
0
votes
2answers
78 views

钻法律的空子和钻法律的漏洞有差?

我上课时遇到了这两个词, 但我还不太理解这两个有没有差别? 我知道它们在英文里指的都是”loophole“ I'm still not clear on what the difference is between these two! If you could give an example of how to use either, that would be really ...
1
vote
3answers
109 views

What is the meaning of 庸 in the phrase 毋庸置疑?

毋庸置疑 is a chengyu. Its meaning is "beyound any doubt", but what is its verbatim meaning in literary Chinese? 毋 is like "don't" 置 is "to place, to put" 疑 is "doubt" 庸 I am not sure of the correct ...
9
votes
4answers
6k views

What software can detect the parts of speech of written text?

What software or online tools can detect the parts of speech in a piece of written text (e.g. to predict if a word is a verb, adjective, etc.)?
5
votes
3answers
664 views

Difference between 前面 and 面前

If I got that correctly 前面 is used for things like 本子在书的前面 or 本子在书前 and 面前 is used for living creatures (the ones with a face) like 报纸在我的面前. Could you please confirm if I'm correct here or missing ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Where should I place 多 in large numbers? [duplicate]

Where should I put the "多“ in large numbers? I saw in one text 300多万人 but 10亿多人
3
votes
6answers
229 views

Can I say 没 to negate future events?

I saw this sentence in a book: 明年这个时候你还没有毕业呢 I thought the sentence was wrong at first, but it says the sentence is grammatically correct and that there's nothing wrong with it. As you know, ...
7
votes
6answers
494 views

Why should I use 由 here and not 被?

I could choose 由 or 被. Why should I choose 由? Are there any good reasons for this choice? 这件事 _______ 公司负责。My girlfriend immediately said 由, but she couldn't say why. Considering the answers below ...
0
votes
1answer
126 views

Are both 他游了三个小时泳 and 他游泳游了三个小时 fine?

I've learned about separable verbs, 离合词. I learned that separable verbs such as 游泳 must be divided into the verb (游) and the object (泳) when particles like 了, 过, 着, etc. are attached to the verb or ...
2
votes
2answers
97 views

Question about complement of frequency? (Using 过 and 次)

I know that it is grammatical to say "我游了三次泳." If I wanted to say, "I saw you three times," could I say it as "我看过你三次见"? Thank you, Rachel
1
vote
5answers
201 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
220 views

Do I have to include 是 in 你的生日(是)什么时候?

I would like to know if the verb 是 (shi) is optional? 你的生日是什么时候? (Ni de shengri shi shen me shi hou?) 你的生日什么时候? (Ni de shengri shen me shi hou?) Which of those two sentence used more?
1
vote
4answers
151 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
182 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
105 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
vote
3answers
209 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
110 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
vote
9answers
319 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?
-2
votes
1answer
158 views

Where do I put adverbial expressions and other phrases in a sentence?

I know Chinese use the sequence S O V. I also know place follows time, for instance in these ways: t(ime), p(lace) S tp V O tp S V O t S p V O Where do I put further phrases, like adverbial ...
2
votes
5answers
205 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 something/...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

Is it correct to say “在手机”?

Would it be correct to use the phrase "在手机”/“在手机上” etc. to express that I am doing something on my phone? For example, could I say 我听音乐在我的手机上。 Or can 在 only be used for my actual physical ...
1
vote
4answers
180 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?
3
votes
7answers
228 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
473 views

What's the difference between 了, 著 and 到 when used as verb complements?

I need help with sorting out the difference between 了, 著 and 到 when used as verb complements. I have learnt most of my Chinese in Taiwan and in my experience, Taiwanese people don't use 著 as a verb ...
3
votes
2answers
155 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
384 views

What does 了 mean in this sentence?

Is it a verb? A past tense maker? Which is its function of 了 in this sentence? 曾在新西兰Berger king 做过汉堡,当过收银员。这份工作让我认识到了团队合作的重要 Thanks!!
1
vote
2answers
129 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
85 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 ...
1
vote
7answers
374 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!
9
votes
6answers
524 views

Is it 一些东西 or 一点东西?

I know that 东西 translates to "something" in English. So I would like to know, can both 一些东西 and 一点东西 be used? If so, what are their differences in meaning?
2
votes
5answers
260 views

Is “之” usually used as a possessive pronoun (attributive) in Classical Chinese?

True or False Question: In classical Chinese, “之” is usually used as a possessive pronoun (attributive), “其” is usually used as a subject, and “彼” is usually used as an object. a. True b. ...
6
votes
2answers
178 views

Can you use "非常非常‘ to emphasize how much you think of something?

I'm trying to figure out if a common English usage such as the one below is used in Chinese. I really really <verb> something Could I say something like this? 我非常非常喜欢这首歌 Could I use ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Chinese countable/uncountable nouns (How do they work? Examples?)

I recall in Mandarin class, my teacher would often discuss an idea about countable nouns. I never really understood how one would easily determine when one is faced with a countable vs uncountable ...
1
vote
2answers
128 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
237 views

Can 只有 be used in this context?

My Chinese teacher recently introduced us to the character 只. Specifically, using it to mean "only". However, all of the examples that she gave were things, like: A:你有没有X和Y? B:没有Y,我只有X。 As in, to ...
0
votes
2answers
78 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 ...