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

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48 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 ...
3
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3answers
70 views

Complement of direction: difference between two sentences

他出商店去了。 他从商店出去了。 Why is only the second sentence right? I knew that when we use a directional complement, we could put the object in the middle between the two verbs. So why do I have to use 从 in ...
2
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1answer
135 views

有钱能使鬼推磨, is this verb serialization?

So there is a Chinese saying, 有钱能使鬼推磨。 If you have money, you can make the devil push the millstone for you. Right after the verb 有,the other verb 能+使 comes. Is that also considered verb ...
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2answers
113 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 ...
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4answers
134 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 ...
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2answers
352 views

How does ‘三神不挂二神’ come to mean 'unconcentrated' in this sentence?

This is from a German Chinese forum: 她骂斥道:“好生点嘛!叫你做事,你就三神不挂二神。” Source: 《饥饿的女儿》,作者:虹影,出版年1997,第一章。 English, ISBN 0-8021-1637-X 1999 : ‘Pay attention,’ she growled. ‘can’t you do anything right?’ ...
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1answer
77 views

How to translate and answer the question?

I make my homework, but I am not sure in translating of a sentence and would be glad to become an answer from native speakers. The task is to write an answer to a question. The question is: 学经济的人多不多? ...
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5answers
144 views

What is the role of 都 in this sentence?

What is the role of 都 in this sentence? 你网上小店都卖什么东西啊? Should I read: 你卖 = you sell 你的小店卖 = your little shop sells 都卖 = all sell 你和你的小店都卖 = you and your little shop both sell Basically, who is the ...
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2answers
151 views

Macau Cantonese, any differences from HK?

Does anyone know how Cantonese from Macau differ from HK if there are any? Any slangs or terms used in Macanese Cantonese that is rarely used or heard in HK? Maybe some sinicised portuguese words? ...
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5answers
133 views

Generally speaking, is it not possible to indicate 'was' or 'were' on '是‘?

I was listening to this 听力练习 on this beautiful day, staring at the little mountain outside my window. 莉莉:英子,你不是在一家公司工作吗? I, swift as an eagle, think ‘Yingzi, aren't you working for a company?’ ...
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5answers
254 views

What is 和 used for in this sentence?

I know how to use 和 to link one or more nouns or noun phrases, but in this sentence I don't understand what purpose does it serve at the beginning of the sentence? 和西方人过圣诞节差不多,这是一个全家团聚的节日。 (This ...
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4answers
467 views

When to use 我是 vs 我在

In my Chinese class notes these two sentences appear: 我是南非人 and 我在看节目 Why does the one use 我是 and the other 我在? Is there a rule/guidelines to help me decide which one to use? Thanks, Jaco
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3answers
203 views

请问您这个职位缺了多久了?Can I lose one 了

Actually 2 questions: 1) Are these sentences all good Chinese? 2) If they are acceptable Chinese, is there any difference in meaning between them? 请问您这个职位缺了多久了? 请问您这个职位缺多久了? 请问您这个职位缺了多久?
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4answers
106 views

Can you say “回去 ____" (A location?)

Quick question: Can you 回去 a location? or can you only say 回去 by itself? ex. “回去 我家乡”
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3answers
153 views

Is there such a thing as a run-on-sentence in Chinese?

In Chinese articles I often find these long, never-ending, main-point-less sentences. For instance check out these three sentence-paragraphs from this news article ("请给90后创业者多一些宽容") ...
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1answer
202 views

Why is “這麼些” at the end of the sentence, “開會的人來了這麼些” ? Is it a quantity complement?

I got it from a textbook awhile reading about demonstrative pronouns. The textbook translate the sentence as "So many people have come to attend the meeting." Can someone explain why "這麼些" isn't at ...
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3answers
185 views

What’s the function of 還, 了, and 呢 in the sentence, “我還以為他不走了呢”?

After many attempts to understand how the sentence is grammatically structured, I think I'll just ask here. The sentence "我還以為他不走了呢" is from a children's book that was originally in English. I'm ...
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1answer
136 views

What grammatical elements are contained in the sentence 你不听不就得了?

A book on function words contains the example sentence: 管他说什么呢, 你不听不就得了。 The first part is simple: 管他说什么呢 = "no matter what" s.o. says (管 as conjunction). The second part however is unclear to me. ...
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2answers
122 views

What is a very comprehensive syntax structure?

the syntax is S V O, one can expand this to include phrases about time and place: S t p V O. What else can be this SVO structure expanded with? How would a maximal structure look like that ...
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3answers
129 views

could you give a semantically explanation of the phrase 聊斋志异?

聊斋志异 is the title of a famous collection of short stories dealing with the supernatural. what actually do the words the title is made of verbatim mean, what is the cultural significance of those ...
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1answer
107 views

Difference between 只,之, and 支?

I'm a native speaker but I don't know the first thing about writing Chinese, on Rosetta stone we were shown 一支笔 and 一只狗, whats the difference and where and when do you use each one?
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5answers
285 views

Do people use 但愿 nowadays?

Quick question: I heard my teacher recently use the term 但愿 - which apparently means to "Wish that they had/something happened". The example give was " 他们但愿我也是从湘西来的” Is this normally used in ...
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2answers
122 views

慢慢来 is the same as 慢慢地来?

慢慢来。 Take your time. It consists of an adjective and verb. Since 慢慢 is an adjective but used in an adverbal way, I assume that this one below should be the original form of 慢慢来. 慢慢 + 地 + 来。 I ...
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6answers
372 views

What is the function of 甲 in 桂林山水甲天下?

What i know: 甲 is used for enumeration of items or persons in a dialogue, it corresponds to western 1. , a) , I. , X. 桂林山水 = Landscape of Guilin 天下 = literary expression for whole china or ...
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3answers
50 views

What are compound words called that are composed of words with similar meaning?

Compared to classical Chinese, there are mostly words composed of more than one word/character. Especially the subgroup of VO-compoundwords (Verb Object) made from two characters have some special ...
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2answers
64 views

What is important to consider while building an adverbial phrase?

As far as I know, in Chinese, the adverbial phrase is put right in front of the verb and its purpose is to describe the verb. Sentence pattern: S adverbialphrase V O What are the rules to put a ...
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1answer
91 views

Can I use a verb+的 construction to imply an item/noun?

I'm often don't which noun to use, but I can think of a verb to describe it. I know that 吃的 (to eat + 的) means food, so I was wondering if I can use it with other verbs as well, like 洗澡的 (to bathe + ...
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3answers
289 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 ...
3
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3answers
559 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 ...
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1answer
26 views

Take a picture of me/for me (which preposition better translates)?

As an experienced tourist in China, I know the sentence:你能不能给我(们)相的照吗? Although it gives the desired result-- someone taking a picture of me, for me, with my own camera-- I am not sure of the exact ...
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1answer
78 views

When should I use the 是…的 construction?

I've been told that 是...的 is used to put emphasis on something, but I'm not sure when or why I should use it.
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3answers
556 views

Tense and use of 了

I struggle a bit to get my head around tenses in Mandarin, and in particular when I need to use 了 (le). Do you have any tips, examples or resources to help me out with this?
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5answers
125 views

What is the verbatim translation for “都什么时候了” ?

"什么时候" means verbatim "what time" But, when i add 都 (adverb meaning "all") and 了(particle indicating either change of state or completion), i can not grasp what meaning is conveyed by this phrase. ...
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1answer
39 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 ...
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2answers
41 views

What is the official total sum of all Madarin pictograms?

I took a few books in a public library; I saw more than 600 different pictograms. I never found any other way to learn them than to learn them by heart. It is a very beautiful language; a form of a ...
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2answers
36 views

How do you describe the “growth/improvement” of “rights" (i.e. 权利)

How do we describe the growth of “rights” (or more colloquially in english the "Extension of rights' (i.e. the extension of women's rights, etc.) Is it "女性权利的发展? 增加? 提高?扩大?” Haha, let me know what ...
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1answer
341 views

What is the difference in use between 以及, 和 and 与?

I have a book with the following lesson titles: 中文以及中国 聚会和饮食 交通与环境 Why are these terms connected with 以及 / 和 / 与, why not always use 和 for example? Are there any rules for proper use of these ...
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1answer
103 views

What different grammatical uses exist for 而 in classical chinese?

The question itself is already sufficient in description. Whose brilliant brain had the idea to coerce this nonsensical additional commentary text on us?
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149 views

How to translate “In conclusion”?

I'm practicing writing short articles in Chinese, but I'm not sure how to say "To conclude" or "In conclusion". I can't seem to find an appropriate translation. What is recommended?
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1answer
60 views

What is the meaning and usage of 于之 and its contraction 焉 in classical Chinese?

I've read 于 was a preposition, but there were many unrelated translations for it. 之 is as far as I know an object pronoun, like for instance him, her, them but can also mean somthing different. How ...
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2answers
420 views

Can 来 be used as a 虚词?

来 usually means "to come". In this sentence from an online database: 旱区人民需要我们的帮助来渡过难关 来 does not seem to me being used in its lexical meaning here, but rather containing a grammatical expression ...
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3answers
333 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 ...
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4answers
503 views

Difference between 常常 and 往往

I'm fairly certain I understand how to use 常常,but I don't know if 往往 is used any differently (they both have the same translations). Are there any differences in usage I should be aware of?
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3answers
105 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 ...
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3answers
118 views

How to translate “I have always been”

I have always struggled with this translation, but have never quite figured it out. How do I translate I have always been ... Some examples would be: I have always been an academic I have ...
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3answers
1k views

What is the meaning of the sentence 字了一?

I ve found this sentence between two other sentences in an article about the scholar wang li: 中国语言学家、诗人。字了一。广西壮族自治区博白县人 I understand both sentences before and after 字了一, but i am clueless what this ...
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2answers
102 views

What is the translation of 托业考试必备 ?

I ve looked up the words: 托 = to entrust (only one possible meaning, i do not know which one makes sense) 业 = enterprise 考试 = test 必备 = essential I can make no sense of this sentence, i even can ...
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2answers
299 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 ...
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2answers
108 views

How do I say “She's changed a lot”

Is there a colloquial way to say "A person has changed a lot"? For example, I'd like to say "I know she has changed over the past couple of years because of doing stand-up comedy" Would it be ...