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

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5
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5answers
174 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
160 views

怎么… with 的 and 了

So it is said that if you find 的 after 怎么, the sentence represents 'How', and if you find 了 after 怎么, the sentence represents 'Why'. How : 你怎么来的? "How did you come?" Why : 你怎么来了? "Why did you come?" ...
5
votes
2answers
125 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
5
votes
3answers
285 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?
5
votes
1answer
286 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: ...
5
votes
4answers
201 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
579 views

How to say “A Person's Strength”

Is there a good translation for "strengths" in Chinese? I am trying to say strengths as in 'We should try to improve our strengths, not our weaknesses'. I know that 强项 is one phrase that has a ...
5
votes
4answers
155 views

What is the difference between 参加 and 参与?

I have been using these interchangeably, until today I was corrected, being told that one "参加活动”, not "参与活动“. I then looked up the definition, but it wasn't too helpful. How do I know when to use ...
4
votes
4answers
645 views

How to use “whether” in Chinese - do you need to say 如果?

I've always had a bit of difficulty with statements with the term "whether" in Chinese. In this sentence I would like to say "I asked him whether or not he had met Mark." - I translated this in my ...
4
votes
7answers
488 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
304 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
386 views

How does inserting 起来 into 请客 as in 请起客来 changes the meaning?

请客 is a verb-object-verbal phrase (联合词), therefore it is able to seperate both parts and put further structures in between. I read I could put 起 in between together with 来 at the end to form a so ...
4
votes
3answers
235 views

How to say “On the phone” (手机里 vs. 手机上)

Prepositions are always a fun part to learn of a language. Right now, I'm running into the difficulty of trying to describe "On My Phone". I've heard people say "手机上“ but, after Baiduing I also know ...
4
votes
3answers
141 views

Meaning of 所 in “有所…”

As far as I know, 所 has the following meanings: a place, as in 派出所 (police office). a counter, as in 一所科學中心 (a science center). a passive voice indicator that pairs up with 被(為), as in 被(為)愛所糾纏 ...
4
votes
3answers
485 views

What is the function of the complement 下来 in 买下来?

I know 下来 so far as complement for verbs of motion, e.g. 跳下来,走下来,攀下来,掉下来. In them, the first character of the complement conveys the meaning "downwards", the second the point of view of the speaker ...
4
votes
4answers
303 views

Why is (是) shi4 dropped in this sentence:“我很好”?

I''m a Chinese learner for quite a while, I've been wondering why (是) shi4 is dropped in sentences like this:"我很好" Isn't there supposed to be a verb in every sentences? like 我(是)很好.
4
votes
3answers
260 views

Grammar for counting in Chinese (for non-native speakers of Chinese)

I need to write a program that can insert the count of objects into a text - without knowing virtually anything about the Chinese language. While for English this needs to distinguish between singular ...
4
votes
4answers
199 views

也 When expressing a series does 也 need to be before each object or just the last object

When expressing a series of object does 也 occur prior to each object or only prior to the last object to express the list Example: 我没有房子没有工作没有车也没有朋友。 我没有房子也没有工作也没有车也没有朋友。
4
votes
3answers
249 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?
4
votes
2answers
200 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
4
votes
2answers
47 views

Is 在我们村里有一所中学 incorrect?

My question is as the title. The English equivalent is: There is a middle school in our village. I know the correct one is "我们村里有一所中学". But I think adding 在 at the beginning is also okay. So I am ...
4
votes
1answer
446 views

What is the meaning of 當 and 自強 in 男兒當自強?

男兒當自強 is the title of the main theme in wong feihong, i was told its translation is "a man has to stand one's ground", i do not know how verbatim this translation is. 男兒 is man, 自強 is either "his ...
4
votes
2answers
323 views

How do I say “Have you spoken to A about B yet?”

Quick question, how would I say "Have you spoken with your parents about me staying at your house yet?" Could it simply be 我问一下,关于我在你们家住几天, 你跟你的家庭说了没 ? or does 关于 sound too formal?
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3answers
162 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?
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votes
4answers
155 views

最后吃的菜 or 吃最后的菜?

I had a friend who said there is a slight difference in the two phrases. But I don't see any difference between the two expressions. Could anyone explain it? Thanks, Rachel
4
votes
5answers
288 views

What is Mandarin's conversational equivalent of English's “How interesting!” or “That's cool”

In the course of a conversation in (American) English, I often respond to casual observations and statements using a neutral phrase such as "Oh, interesting" "Oh, I see" or "That's cool." I've ...
4
votes
5answers
199 views

What can be put between the both parts of a separable verb?

I only know, that a verb which is made up of a verb and object, can be separated and further structures can be put between. For instance: 发愁 , wherein 发 is the verb and 愁 is the object, can be ...
4
votes
3answers
132 views

difference between 伤痕, 伤疤 and 疤痕?

Recently, I read that someone's 额头上有一个伤痕 。 I knew that the sentence literally meant that there was a scar. But then I thought "Why didn't they say "伤疤” or “疤痕”。 All three of these translate to scar ...
4
votes
3answers
504 views

Can you 关心 an object?

So, I've used 关心 consistently with people - 关心别人, 关心我的妹妹, but can 关心 be used for object or a phrase?? Example for a phrase 我们关心的应该是房子应该有几间屋子? Example for an object 吃饭时, 我关心的是调味。 长得怎么样, 我都不管。 ...
4
votes
2answers
185 views

How do you describe a vegetarian item? As in a vegetarian burrito?

So, in english when describing whether something is friendly for vegetarians or not we say "vegetarian object_____". Is there an equivalent in Chinese? For example could you say "素的墨西哥卷“?
4
votes
2answers
139 views

How can I negate time and when to place 在 before time?

I know we can negate place, manner, etc. by just placing a 不 before the verbs (prepositions) that introduce the clauses. 我不在中国工作。 他不坐车去工作。 But how can I negate time, since it doesn't have a ...
4
votes
2answers
322 views

Do nested complements exist in Chinese?

I came across this sentence: 她看清进来为何人时,吓得说不出话来。, the second clause looks to me like a nested complement. i analyzed it this way: 吓得 (说不出话来) --> outer complement 说(不出话来) --> inner complement Am ...
4
votes
3answers
126 views

How to expess “nostalgia” in chinese?

So, I know that in general we can use something like 叙旧 to mean "reminisce (as if with old classmates). But how would we say something like "nostalgic" as in 这首歌让我很Nostalgic。 怀旧? 舍不得? THanks for ...
4
votes
2answers
283 views

Deciding when to use 就像 vs 像是 vs 像

I may be mistaken, but if I use 就像 , 像是 or 像 in any of the sentences, they are pretty much the same. Is there a difference? “他们说‘电视直播’时,就像我说‘报税’一样无可奈何 “They say ‘live TV’ the way I say ‘doing my ...
4
votes
2answers
139 views

一眼之念 一念执着 meaning

I want to translate lyrics for 步步惊心 intro song. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj8kElvozBY) 一眼之念 一念执着 - My Chinese friend told me that meaning is "I fall in love with you from first look" 一眼之念 - ...
4
votes
3answers
112 views

How to translate “range from X to Y”?

In English I would write something such as Low paying jobs range from working at McDonald's to driving a bus. Or another way to put it Low paying jobs include anything from working at ...
4
votes
4answers
236 views

How to use 仿佛 properly?

To give context, this is the sentence: 永远不能忘记的是北京,因为我在那里住的太久了,仿佛树生了根一样。 I am not sure how to render the last bit. I'm guessing it's saying: As if I am a tree, the roots are the same as my ...
4
votes
3answers
171 views

Complement of result:完 or 好

I‘m currently learning how to form the complement of result and what are the translations of some common compound verbs. My book makes this examples: • 看完=to finish watching • 写好=to finish writing • ...
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votes
2answers
599 views

How to say “Next time” in the past tense?

I'm a bit confused on how to use the expression "The next time" in chinese. I originally wrote (after going to Kigali for the first he realized there were no ethiopian restaurants) 于是, 他下次回基加利时, ...
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votes
2answers
122 views

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

I'm trying to figure out if a common english usage I really really Verb something is used in Chinese. Could I say 我非常非常喜欢这首歌? Could I use this in spoken Chinese? Could it be written this way if it is ...
4
votes
2answers
96 views

Is there a difference between 教训 and 论点 ?

I'm taking a history class in Chinese and my teacher brought up 四五运动的两个教训 。 Then later on he talked about 启蒙的两个论点 。 I know that roughly 教训 is translated as "lessons" and 论点 is a bit more like "thesis, ...
4
votes
2answers
138 views

When to use 了 and 的?

了 is used after verb or sentence to indicate that something has been finished/done or something has changed. 的 is used in many cases, one of which is to indicate the speaker's modality of certainty. ...
4
votes
2answers
229 views

What is the difference between 怎么 and 如何?

Is it mostly a question of register?
4
votes
6answers
350 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
169 views

Explanation usage of 得 and 地 [duplicate]

Can someone explain me exactly when I have to use these two words? They are both pronunced "de", but I found some difficulties understanding why should I use 得 (or shouldn‘t) in some senteceses. 地 , ...
4
votes
1answer
140 views

“以来” - Chinese dictionary says noun. “Since” in English dictionary says preposition, conjunction. Distinction?

A couple of Chinese dictionaries I used says for 以来, part of speech is 名 (noun). Since in an English dictionary says preposition first. Is it incorrect to assume a direct correlation between parts ...
3
votes
10answers
683 views

What is the difference between “我还没打算” and “我还没决定”

In a question-response practice, the question is "你暑假要去旅游吗"? Why is the right response "我还没决定", not "我还没打算"?
3
votes
4answers
520 views

How do I say “I held my head in my hands”

Recently, I was writing about my time at a funeral. I am trying to express the situation that I was overwhelmed by emotion so I put my head in my hands. (I.e. I rested my head on my hands). Is there a ...
3
votes
3answers
645 views

Is there a difference in meaning between 那年夏天 and 那个夏天

I asked a native speaker whether these phrases were equivalent in meaning and she said no (although agreeing that they both ultimately do "point" to the same concept). I asked if 年 here is basically a ...
3
votes
4answers
139 views

Is 起 too formal to use in day to day writing?

I recently read in a piece of poetry ”从明天起, 我会做一个幸福的人“ - what is the difference between this and say "从明天开始?“. Is 起 significantly more formal? Could I use it in day to day writing? (Say a diary?)