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I understand the meaning of this sentence. Nobody doesn't like him/herself. My question is, why is there a 的 at the end? It is not a past tense sentence. And also there isn't any detail so that the 是。。的 structure be used. Then why? :-/ Does anyone of you more such examples where 的 is used like this? Please share if you do. Thank you. :)

  • Yes. It should be. Thanks for pointing it out. – zaloniii Jul 13 '16 at 4:03
  • w/o further details sentence would seem to mean, "nobody does not like their own (or theirs)", "Nobody does not like themselves" would usually be "没有人不喜欢自己" – user6065 Jul 13 '16 at 4:13
  • @user6065 thank you for your comment. Please see my answer. – zaloniii Jul 13 '16 at 4:59
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@Stan's reference to NS.X's answer gives a good explanation. 是...的 construction doesn't necessarily imply past action. It's just for emphesis. It's easy to give some examples for this usage.

I will never buy iPhone. I only use Android phone. 我是绝对不会买 iPhone 的。我只用 Android 手机。

NS.X's answer said that the 是 … 的 construction emphasises time, manner or place. In fact, it can also be used to emphasise the action(verb) itself. In 我是绝对不会买 iPhone 的, 的 emphesizes 不会买(won't buy). 是 can be left out here. (You can also say that the 的 emphesizes the whole sentence.)

With regard to没有人不喜欢自己的, the 的 is used here to emphasize on 不喜欢(doesn't like). Its full version is 没有人是不喜欢自己的. 是 is left out here.

Look at the fourth meaning item of 的 from Contemporary Chinese Dictionary, 6th Edition.

Figure 1. Contemporary Chinese Dictionary, 6th Edition, page 272 enter image description here

④用在陈述句的末尾,表示肯定的语气:这件事儿我知道~。 It can be translated as "Used at the end of a declarative sentence, indicating an affirmative tone: I do know this thing."

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    "实用现代汉语语法" distinguishes 2 types of 是。。。的 sentences,"是。。。的"句(一)and "是。。。的"句(二)。"是。。。的"句(一)一般用于这种场合:动作已在过去发生或完成,并且这一事实成为交际双方的共知信息(已知信息)。使用"是。。。的"句(一‌​)时,说话人突出表达的重点(也就是全句的表达焦点)并不是动作本身,而是与动作有关的某一方面,如时间、处所、方式、施事、受事等。"是。。。的"的格式是这种动词谓语句‌​的标志,标志词"是"的作用是指明它后面的成分是全句的表达焦点,标志词"的"的功能是表明谓语动词所表示的动作已在过去发生或完成。"是。。。的"句(二)是指带"是。。‌​。的"标志的一部分动词谓语句和形容词谓语句。"是"和"的"都表示语气。这类句子多用来表示说话人对主语的评议、叙述或描写,全句往往带有一种说明情况,阐述道理、想使听‌​话人接受或信服的肯定语气。Regarding negative forms of the 2 types: "是。。。的"句(一)的否定形式是"不是。。。的","是。。。的"句(二)的否定形式是由"是。。。的"中间成分的否定式来体现的。例如:(1)我不是同意的这种意见‌​。["是。。。的"句(一)](2)我是不同意这种意见的。["是。。。的"句(二)] – user6065 Jul 14 '16 at 9:56
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    Conclusion: considering given sentence as "是。。。的"句 it seems to be of type 2 (语气)and resulting from 没有人是不喜欢自己的 by omitting "是"(revising earlier comment). – user6065 Jul 14 '16 at 9:57
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It's very simple: 的 converts the predicate to an adjective phrase.

Let me explain:

Atmega328's answer was on the right track. 没有人不喜欢自己的 is an informal abbreviated form of 没有人是不喜欢自己的 where 是 is omitted.

To simplify the question let's look at Atmega328's very good example: 我爱你 is I love you, and 我是爱你的 is I am "you-loving". The verb here changes from "love" to "am", and the object "you" becomes an adjective "you-loving". English however doesn't have a way of converting a predicate to an adjective phrase - but "I am someone who loves you" comes close.

The motivation of verb to adjective conversion is indeed to emphasise - as the function of the sentence changes from making a mere statement to describing the subject with an adjective, just like how "It was a car that passed." emphasises the object passed was a car more than simply "A car passed."

  • I understand very well what you're saying. But shouldn't in such cases 是 be absolutely vital? Can you share more examples of such sentences? Would it be right if I say, " 我不学中文的” Even though it's a ridiculous sentence, but just for the sake of understanding, would this sentence be grammatically correct? – zaloniii Jul 13 '16 at 14:35
  • Yes. I was about to explain that part but didn't want to make the answer too complicated. 是 is formally vital and in fact 我爱你的 doesn't make too much sense at all. However in Chinese when the sentence structure becomes a bit non-trivial such as 没有人是不喜欢自己的 the grammatical and non informational elements can be omitted without sounding too ridiculous. And often the more complex the structure the more freedom in this respect. The judgement here becomes quite obscure even for a native speaker and I'd personally find 没有人不喜欢自己的 somewhat odd in structure but acceptable in conveying of information. – Haoyang Feng Jul 13 '16 at 21:38
  • zalonii if you find my previous comment useful I can edit it into the answer. But I feel that's getting into a slightly different topic and might warrant its own question. – Haoyang Feng Jul 13 '16 at 21:42
  • Haoyeng Feng, it would be very nice if you could frame your comments into an answer. Out of all the answers and the comments I received, your comment has been the most well-explained. Also,, as I asked before, could you provide some examples which omit 是. Is my sentence correct? 我不学中文的? What would be the difference between 我不是学中文的 and 我是不学中文的? Don't you think both the sentences hold a similar connotation? – zaloniii Jul 14 '16 at 5:47
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First thing first, This sentence should be 没有人是不喜欢自己的。It's missing a 是 here; (No body "do" not like themselves)。

是 and 的 are used here to emphasize the meaning of this sentence and make it clear. Without them, it will be a different meaning. For instance: 没有人不喜欢自己。 (Nobody not like me/ Everyone like me.) 自己=me;自己的=mine;"Everyone like mine" has no meaning, so you can instantly tell 自己的 is not referring to myself, but to something else, the object "没有人" or themselves in this case.

For a simple example: 我爱你。 (I love you.) 我是爱你。(I do love you.) 我是爱你的。(I do love you very much.) With 的 at the end, you can definitely see that I do love you more, and not less. can you?

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的 is a 語氣詞 (can't find an English translation for it, literally means "tone word"). This is somehow like exclamation words such as "Oh", but they serve a slightly different function. You should view them as something like punctuations instead.

In English, you can easily express your tone with an increase or decrease in loudness, length/speed or pitch to express that it is a question or a statement; a sure statement, a quoted statement or a doubtful statement; a pleading tone, or a commanding tone; whether you feel that the quantity in the sentence is excessive, neutral or too few. However, Chinese has a fixed pitch, so it is especially necessary to have words at the end of a sentence.

It feels really very unnatural if these words are absent. Without these words, the sentence may sound cold, emotionless, or even unnatural or interrupted. For example, the word "啦" is used so frequently in Cantonese (and probably in Putonghua) to express that the sentence is strongly subjective/emotional/pleading, that some of my friends even mix it (using the pronunciation "la") into our WhatsApp messages in English. For example, "請你不要。" (Please don't.), as you can see in the English translation, sounds very cold and authoritative (even with "Please"). What if we are pleading to our friends (in a calm way, not an exclaiming way)? "請你不要啦。" carries a much more persuading tone (especially if we increase the length of 啦, but not necessarily).

Other examples of these words include (question) 嗎, 呢, (exclamation) 呀, 啊, (statement) 而已, 的, 啦, 吧, (and nil too), etc. (In Cantonese there are many more of these words, but I don't think these also exist in Putonghua)

的, in this example, expresses the objectiveness, absoluteness of the statement "Nobody doesn't like himself". It shows that the sentence is a reasonable, inarguable and doubtless.

To understand this sentence, these syntactic expletives (虛詞) can be ignored, but you may totally misunderstand the tone of the speaker.

Note that if the sentence is changed into "沒有人不喜歡自己的", the tone implies presumption and uncertainty, seeking for agreement. Why is there another after 的? It is because 的 isn't very strongly related to 語氣詞, but more related to the structure of a statement, while 吧 is a very expressive word.

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I am a native Chinese (Cantonese) speaker, so I understand the language pattern to nature, that it sometimes gets very difficult to explain how some language patterns work. IMO, Chinese doesn't have a very strict language pattern compared to English. Reading more Chinese books is the only way to develop the sense of understanding these patterns.

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    语气 means modal, cf. "现代汉语语发",助词,第一节:结构助词,第二节:动态助词,第三节:语气助词。"的" as modal particle, however is discussed as part of "是。。。的"sentences,see e.g. above quoted grammar. – user6065 Jul 13 '16 at 9:13

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