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 separated and filled with an aspect particle and/or measure word.

-发愁 (aspect particle)

-发愁 (general measure word)

-发过四次愁 (aspect particle and measure word for occurences)

What else may be placed in between?

  • If you treat them as mini verb-object phrases, you can put anything that is suitable for the object. 他撒了一个神仙来了都遮不住的谎. Nov 19, 2014 at 3:25

5 Answers 5


Here is what AllSetLearning has to say about separable verbs:

...until you understand which verbs are separable verbs and how they work, you'll forever be making mistakes with these verbs, even in very basic sentences.

BTW I think it is a quite decent summary.

Besides 了, 着, 过, and measure words, you can put other things in between if the verb is not "rigid".

Some separable verbs are more rigid than others. For example: 发愁, 散步, 聊天, 分手, etc. Notice that the meaning only emerges when the two characters combined together. If you separate them as verb + object it just look weird.

Less rigid cases include 睡觉, 吃饭, 撒谎, etc. In these cases the verb and noun can be separately used with no problem, so you can say 我睡了一个美美的大觉, or 他撒了一个神仙来了都遮不住的谎.


Different structure phrase or word has different usage.
发愁 is a compound (合成词) ,more specific, it can be classified as 动宾结构( verb-object word group)。
we can use degree verbs to break the structure: 发尽愁,发完愁
Also, some adjectives can modify 愁:发无用(的)愁,发莫名(的)愁。
If we insert a 的 between them , the word will become a 偏正短语,愁 is the central word.


The difficult thing for an English speaker (or one in a similar situation) to understand Chinese sentences is that there is no clause (subclass sentence) in Chinese. For example, the above sentence: 他撒了一个神仙来了都遮不住的谎,if we could mimic it in English sentence style, it might be like this: 他撒谎, 那个谎话(that),一个神仙来了都遮不住。The lie is so big that even a supernatural being cannot cove it.

This type of sentences could go even crazier. 他撒了一个神仙来了都遮不住的,有史以来都没有听说过的,走遍全世界也找不出来的弥天大谎。

My comments on "他撒了一个神仙来了都遮不住的谎":

遮不住, is little bit too much deep for people here, but I wish I am wrong by saying it. This phrase means "unable to do", it may come from青山遮不住,毕竟东流去.


Q:发愁 , can be separated with an aspect particle and/or measure word.


What else can be put in between?

Those are most often used sentences as examples to your question:


从小到大,他妈妈为教育他,不知发了多少愁 呢。

他把邻居家的小孩儿打伤了,要赔几千块钱。他妈妈正为这事儿发着愁 呢。


都失业三个月了。什么时候才能找到工作啊?我都发死愁 了。


I think the original post gave some very good examples of what can go between a the verb and object in the verb-subject structure.

To generalize, you can put something in between the verb-object structure to modify the verb, something to modify the object, or both. For simplicity's sake, let's call them adverb and adjective.

Using the original examples, you have:

发了愁, 了 modify the verb (let's call this adverb), you mean [发了]愁.

发个愁, 个 modify the object (let's call this adjective), you mean 发[个愁]

发过四次愁, 过 and 四次 modify the verb and object respectively, you mean [发过][四次愁]. 过 is serving as an adverb, and 四次 is serving as adjective.

You can only put adverb (compound structure that acts like an adverb is also being called an adverb here) directly behind the verb, and the adjective (like-wise for adjective) directly in front of the object. You cannot reverse this order. They also have to be adverbs that can naturally go behind a verb or adjectives that can naturally go in front of the adjective.

For example, you cannot put 正在 behind the verb.

However, you can say this:


The way to interpret that would be:

发 [[过][了]] [[无数次][大大小小的]] 愁. verb adverb adjective subject/noun

The only addition to the above is that you can also add interrogatives that can come after a verb, and/or before a noun into the structure.

For example:



什么 can both go after a verb and it can come before a subject. So the second example can be interpreted in two different ways depending on context (why [are you] trouble? and what troubles [you]?).

I hope this helps.

  • By "verb-subject structure" do you really want to say "verb-object structure"?
    – NS.X.
    Mar 8, 2015 at 0:41
  • Edited. I thought I was following the convention set by the OP. I guess I mis-read that.
    – yth
    Mar 8, 2015 at 2:17

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