I got a translation of “Are hospitals in your country good?” from a native speaker of Mandarin as:


Why there is no 的 after 你? It is after a pronoun for instance in such a sentence:


  • 1
    I guess it's the difference between “Are hospitals in your country good?” and 你国家的医院好吗?and "Are your country's hospitals good?" 你的国家医院好吗? (although the grammar is not quite right!)
    – Mou某
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 9:46
  • 2
    Having two 的 in a single sentence sounds unusual. You can also say: 你所国家的医院好吗?
    – rhughes
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 11:51
  • 2
    @rhughes “你所国家的医院好吗” seems strange in Chinese. Maybe you mean “你所【在】国家的医院好吗”?
    – xmcp
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 14:37

3 Answers 3


This question is really about: " when can we omit the possessive 的 "

1.(adjective suffix):

For example:

  • 强大勇敢 (strong and brave)

  • 强大勇敢人 (strong and brave man)

You cannot omit the adjective suffix 的 and write 强大勇敢人

  • 高大 (tall and big)

  • 高大人 (tall and big man)

You cannot omit the adjective suffix 的 and write 高大人

Adjectives that do not need adjective suffixes can directly apply to the object. 

For example 好(good) in 好女儿(good daughter)


我(的)衣服的鈕扣的顏色是白色的。 can be reduced to: 我衣服鈕扣的顏色是白色的。

(The last 的 is not omitted because it is not a possessive 的 but an adjective suffix 的.)

The same with your example sentences:

  • 你(的)国家的医院好吗?can be reduced to: 你国家的医院好吗?

  • 我(的)妈妈的房子很高。can be reduced to: 我妈妈的房子很高。

From user3a's answer:

The “的” before the subject is usually kept.

Others can be omitted, if possible.

I say it is wrong. The possessive '的' after a subject is usually kept, if it is a 'true possessive'(something you actually own) For example: The possessive 的 in 我車 cannot be omitted and make it "我車"

On the other hand, if the '的' is a 'relative possessive'(something you don't actually own) can be omitted. For example: you can omit the '的' in '我的母亲' and write 我母亲.

More example:

The possessive 的 in 这是我太太; 她是我女儿; 你国家; 你公司 can be omitted. You can write 这是我太太; 她是我女儿; 你国家; 你公司 (if you actually own the country or the company, then the possessive 的 should be kept)

Again with your example sentence:

  • 我(的)妈妈的房子很高。 can be reduced to: 我妈妈的房子很高。

  • 我(的)牛(的)角很长。 cannot be reduced to: 我牛的角很长。 or 我的牛角很长。

(you possess the cow and the cow possesses the horns, neither can be omitted.)

  • “Adjectives that do not need adjective suffixes can directly apply to the object” - how can you tell whether an adj requires a suffix such as 的?e.g. 好奴兒 doesn't need 的 but 高大的人 does require it, why? How can I determine for other adjs if 的 is needed Commented May 15, 2020 at 3:38
  • 1
    @MuchAppreciated25 Answer would be long, you should post this question separately
    – Tang Ho
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 3:51
  • Answer is here chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/39229/…
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Sep 19, 2020 at 14:24
  • Fairly accurate & comprehensive. One thing I'd like to add is that even though probably in writing 我车 is not common or maybe considered ungrammatical, in speaking it's fairly common, such as "我车呢", "我车丢了", etc., as how I myself would speak, some of my peers (from both northern & southern China) would speak, and how most Beijing people would often speak (Beijing dialect) as I heard from daily life & movies as well.
    – ALife
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 15:07

I believe that 的 is omitted because it's not in the front of the subjects or objectives and because it's not fluent to use too many "的" in a sentence.

In TangHo's answer the "strong 强大的" and "tall 高的" are also adjectives.
Why did he omit the "的"?

The "的" in "好(的)女儿" is omitted because it's not fluent either.
I don't think it's due to "do not need adjective suffix".
Although "好女儿会很孝顺" is more fluent and simple, I think "好的女儿会很孝顺" is also acceptable.

In the user3a's answer he/she said "The“的” before the subject is usually kept."
But TangHo quoted as "after".
I don't think it's a mistake because we usually do the "copy and paste" when we quote something.

As I know, the "的" in "这是我的车" can also be omitted.
I think "这是我车" and "我牛的角很长" are acceptable in the verbal talking.
You can ask your Chinese friends, MrVocabulary.

  • in '我衣服鈕扣的', '鈕扣' is the subject, and 的 is after it. (I know 鈕扣 is the subject because 'the color is white' describe the button, not I) I presume he made a mistake by stating "的 before the subject should be kept", but actually meant "的 after the subject should be kept". Otherwise, his example would be wrong. I am Chinese, I do think 这是我车, 我牛的角很长 is quite awkward sounding, How about 这是我牛? sound fine to you too?
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 10:57
  • Thanks for your answer. Unfortunatrly, my Chinese friends constitute a group of one, so I only have access to one point of view, and a linguistically naive one at that. Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 11:07

(a) 这是我车?

(b) 这是我的车?

(a) does sound "un-Chinese" For example when answering a question, like, 这是谁的车? you answer 车是我的, and not 是我车.

Coming back to the question, why can't we say 你的国家的医院好吗?

I think if you really want the 1st 的 there, the sentence might end up as:-


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