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

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4
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4answers
275 views

Two “question words” in one sentence

One of my teachers asked us the example question: 你有什么安排吗? I asked her why there would be two "question words", 什么 and 吗, when I believed you should only have one question word (in this case, 吗 ...
4
votes
4answers
237 views

How to say “I'm finished”?

When we've finished doing something like I've finished (doing my homework) what we should say. Can we say 好了 "I'm finished"? (Hǎole) How about "are you finished"? Can we say "好了吗"?. (Hǎole ma)
4
votes
2answers
231 views

Errors and Unnatural Language in a Translation Challenge

I was recently challenged to translate the following sentence from English into Chinese: You should stay away from that bar. A friend of mine went there before, and he ended up in the hospital after ...
4
votes
4answers
230 views

What is the function of 了 in the sentence “她会杀了你的”?

What is the function of 了 in the following sentence? Does it imply a sequence of actions? 她会杀了你的。"She will kill you."
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3answers
128 views

So technically, the correct usage of 得 for run very fast is 跑得很快 - why are there so many Baidu hits for 跑的很快 and 跑地很快?

Is there 的, 地 and 得 confusion among native speakers as well or am I missing some subtleties of the language?
4
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2answers
224 views

Difference between 两个都 and 我们俩

Pimsleur's Mandarin course teaches 'both of us' as 我们两个都 (wǒ men liăng ge dōu), but in another question I asked here I recently found that 我们俩 (wǒ men liă). Are these always interchangeable, or are ...
4
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3answers
174 views

What is the function of 的多 in this sentence?

中国人爱喝茶的多。 I assume the meaning is that "Chinese people love drinking tea a lot", or "...really love drinking tea." Does 的多 act as an adverbial structure here? In what other situations would it be ...
4
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3answers
136 views

Is 工作详细情况 similar to Work Experience?

I´m working with chinese resumes and I´ve found this expression "工作详细情况", I´d like to know if it could be translated as Work Experience. Is it the same? Could 工作详细情况 work as a work experience section ...
4
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2answers
138 views

Measure Word of 中药 and 西药

my doubt is simple... the correct Measure Word of: 中药 西药 Appreciate your time!
4
votes
1answer
314 views

What's the grammatical structure for “<subject> <verbs> like a <noun>” style simile in Chinese

I am fond of the simile structure "I eat like a wolf" or "The light flickered like a candle" in English. I never know how to express these thoughts in Chinese though, even if I know the underlying ...
4
votes
5answers
160 views

How to say “we want what is best for our kids”?

I'd like to say the above sentence. I can't think anything but the following sentence, but it just doesn't sit right with me somehow: 我们都要对我们的孩子最好. While the subject "what's best" in english ...
4
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3answers
223 views

Can 曾 be used alone instead of 曾经?

曾经 has already been well explained here, but I sometimes see ...曾 verb... as opposed to ...曾经 verb... Is there a difference in meaning or usage?
4
votes
1answer
175 views

What does the classical construction X 何由 Y mean?

I almost never see this construction in classical prose. (In fact, I'll venture I've never seen it.) However, it's in two of my favorite poems. In this one, it's from the poem "晨詣超師院讀禪經" by 柳宗元: ...
4
votes
4answers
176 views

What comprehensive grammar books are available? [closed]

I have found many grammar books, but none that go beyond the low-intermediate level. Some textbook series contain lots of grammar, but this is spread out across many books and difficult to quickly ...
4
votes
1answer
293 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
249 views

Describing a person that can speak Mandarin

Yesterday I met a person that can speak Mandarin. We had a nice chat and I was going over it in my head today. I want to tell another friend that I met someone that can speak mandarin, but I'm having ...
4
votes
2answers
125 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 ...
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votes
6answers
269 views

How to parse 没得 + Verb constructions

I've heard phrases of the form 没得V, where V is a verb. Sometimes, the 没得 appears to function like 没, e.g., 我没得选: I don't have a choice. Sometimes, it appears to function like a softer, ...
3
votes
6answers
268 views

When you use 在 with a time, where does 在 go in the sentence?

So, if I wanted to say, "Last week I saw my friend in Japan," where would the location (Japan) go in this sentence? I thought it would go like this: 在日本,我上个星期看朋友。 Is that correct or does the ...
3
votes
2answers
260 views

What's the difference between …的 and 所…的

I believe that both of these constructions create what is called a "subordinate clause". I know that 的 can be used to specify something like: 我喜欢的东西 (those things which I like), 很远的地方 (the place ...
3
votes
2answers
243 views

What does 二货朋友 mean?

Another Weibo post. This one has a lot that i dont understand. I think 有天二货朋友看到我的说说 Means “one day two friends said to me..." But that structure is very strange. I would have written 有一天两位朋友对我说。。。is ...
3
votes
3answers
123 views

How do I use a pattern like in 一年有春夏秋冬四季?

I understand the meaning of the sentence, but I have difficulties grasping the pattern and how I could extend it to other phrases. Could you please come up with other example sentences with similar ...
3
votes
4answers
128 views

Possessives in Chinese

I used Google Translate for these sentences but I'm not sure they are correct: Mom 's white dog 妈妈的白狗 My mom's white dog 我妈妈的白狗 And it is possible if I say Mom 's white dog 妈妈的白色的狗 My mom's ...
3
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2answers
155 views

How do you say 'dates back to' in Mandarin?

What is the best way of expressing 'dates back to' in Mandarin? e.g. the family's lineage dates back to 1720..etc
3
votes
3answers
162 views

How can I express the concept “There's nothing of which I'm absolutely sure” in Chinese?

Scientists and philosophers have at various times been quoted as saying: "There's nothing of which I'm absolutely sure" or "I'm not absolutely sure of anything". (Richard Feynman, for example.) How ...
3
votes
3answers
199 views

Sentence structure “I'm [doing something] because [reason]”?

I am familiar with the sentence structure "因为。。。所以。。。", but what is the correct way to say "I am [doing something] because [reason]"? For example, "I am asking this question because I am clueless." ...
3
votes
2answers
176 views

What are the most difficult things to learn for a westerner? [closed]

What aspects of the Chinese language are the most difficult to learn for a westerner? In particular I'm interested in thoughts on: What do you find are the main difficulties? Are there any aspects ...
3
votes
4answers
154 views

Is it possible to use 过 with specific time words?

This is somewhat similar to this question: When to use 了 and when to use 过 to express past actions or events. I understand that the 过 particle helps express the idea of having had the experience of ...
3
votes
2answers
211 views

How to explain the structure of “将在外,军令有所不受。”

In my own opinion, this sentence should be "将在外,军令不受". I can hardly imagine any use of "有" and "所" here. Could someone explain the structure of this sentence?
3
votes
3answers
224 views

What is the function of 已 in 好像她已出去好几天了。

What is the purpose of 已 in the following sentence? 好像她已出去好几天了。 The English translation given is: It looks as if she's gone away for a few days. Or is this an incorrect-character, supposed ...
3
votes
4answers
284 views

That mystical 就 again

Here is a sentence: 厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳 Below are my translation variants. Bold letters should be a 'jiu' english analog here. The mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace scared Harry the ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Example of using 吧 in conversation

My textbook explains that 吧 is a modal particle, but I'm not a linguist and the "modal particle" article on Wikipedia didn't help. Can you give examples of using 吧 in conversation?
3
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4answers
224 views

How to say “red book”?

I'd like to know how to say "red book" in Mandarin. Can it be 红色 的 书 or 红书? I read a book to learn about color, it used 红色 的 before a noun but I heard in a song it used only 红 before noun. I feel ...
3
votes
2answers
84 views

Doesn't 被 mean “by”?

I've always thought of 被 as "by." I understand the following phrase means "deducted 10 points" but I don't understand the structure. Thanks for your help. 整整要被扣十分
3
votes
3answers
163 views

Difference between 什么,什么呢,什么吗 and 什么了?

What is the difference between 什么,什么呢,什么吗 and 什么了? For instance: 你要什么? 你要什么呢? 你在做什么吗? 你做什么了?
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2answers
66 views

How is 得 used in this sentence?

I have always known 得 as an adverb. For example 跑得很快 ,run quickly or run very fast. The following sentence 只有懂得节制欲望的人,才能享受到人生的真正乐趣 means "Only a person that understands (how to) control his ...
3
votes
2answers
141 views

What does 了mean in this sentence?

Could someone please explain this sentence structure? 衣服也落在了房间内. What does the 了 mean here? Is it pronounce le or liao? 谢谢
3
votes
2answers
128 views

Why can't 了 be used to complement 到?

I have been taught that the sentence 我刚到了 (wǒ gāng dào le) is not correct because 了 cannot be used as a complement of 到. Is this true? If so, why?
3
votes
1answer
750 views

What software can check for grammar mistakes?

I need some software that can check the grammar of some Chinese passages. Are there any programs capable of identifying problems? I'd prefer something for Linux, but other platforms would be okay too. ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

What is the difference, if any, between 即使 and 無論?

Is a big difference between 即使 and 無論? I was working on a couple of fill-in-the-blanks exercises and the following sentence came up: 你的畫很有特色,(blank)是畫家也不一定能畫德比你好。 I think the right answer ...
3
votes
3answers
217 views

What does 了 mean 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

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!!
2
votes
3answers
286 views

Is this sentence ambiguous out of context?

My newsletter says this sentence 我五分钟后就回来。 is translated as "I'll be back in 5 minutes". I am curious to know whether this sentence could be translated as "I came back 5 minutes ago", or does ...
2
votes
2answers
119 views

Translation of “this much and no more”

I found this sentence and its English translation on tatoeba.org: 我知道的就這麼多了。 Beyond this I know nothing. Now I'm trying to parse the sentence structure, and I'd like some confirmation or a ...
2
votes
4answers
158 views

How to ask “is it really so that…”?

How do I ask a question like "is it really so that you're just 18?" or "is it really so that the movie was good?", i.e. a surprised question? My guess is something along the lines of "这是真的,你只有十八岁呢?", ...
2
votes
7answers
142 views

How to say that the teacher has marked my homework?

How to translate this? Today I reviewed the homework my teacher had marked. Best I can do is 今天我复习了我老师会给我的作业 That's without saying the homework was assessed (and corrected). Can't seem to find ...
2
votes
4answers
192 views

Weird usage of 不

In this sentence the 不 in the last few phrases seems to mean the opposite. For example 放不下 seems to mean the same as 放下 in this context. Is the Bu just decorative or is there a special structure here? ...
2
votes
2answers
296 views

What does 看得开 and 看不开 mean?

This sentence is very hard for me to translate. 许多事情,看得开是好;看不开,终归也要熬过去。别以为看不开就不会过去 My try: "Have a lot of problems, Kan De Kai is good; Kan Bu Kai, in the end will still be angry (??). Don't ...
2
votes
2answers
200 views

Difference of 不可. 不要. and 别

In Chinese, 不可, 不要, and 别 can all mean "don't". I am wondering about the differences between them. For example these sentences: 1. 不可吃。 2 别哭了。 3 你不要打扰!
2
votes
6answers
245 views

Usage of 了 and 以后

For the sentence 'I watched a movie after I had food', are the following translations equivalent? Additionally, is the 3rd translation incorrect (is the ...了...以后... usage valid)? 我吃了饭看电影。 我吃饭以后看电影。 ...
2
votes
4answers
351 views

How to say “I prefer x over y”?

For example: I prefer eating fried rice over fried chicken. How to say that in chinese? How about this? 我较喜欢吃炒饭比炸鸡 我炒饭比炸鸡较喜欢吃