I am a native speaker who is learning about how Chinese grammar works. I know that a simple sentence contains a subject (主语), a verb (谓语?) and an object (宾语).


I am also aware that there are other "X语" like 状语, 表语, 补语 etc. I have little to no understanding of how they come into play.

I came across this sentence:


Obviously, 我 is the subject, 去 is the verb. But which is the object? 北京 or 旅行? If either of them is the object, then what is the other one? 补语?

  • 1
    "北京" is the object of verb "去","旅行"is another verb functioning as predicate for the same subject "我",whole sentence is example of "sentence with verbal constructions in series" (连动句)s。grammars, e.g."外国人实用汉语语法":两个(或两个以上)动词或动词性词组用在同一个句子里,担任同一个主语的谓语,这样的动词谓语句叫连动句。连动句的基本格式是:主语---谓语1---(宾语1)--- 谓语2---(宾语2)例如:我去看。我去看杂志。他骑自行车去。他骑自行车去公园。他骑自行车去公园玩。 我有时间看报。她买酸牛奶喝。
    – user6065
    Feb 15, 2017 at 22:37
  • b/c of below answers see further discussion of verbal series construcions in chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22786/… please also note bkrs:去 гл. А Verb 1) qù уходить/go, уезжать/leave [в]; отправляться [в]; ушедший, уходящий, отбывающий 我国代表团去美国访问 他去北京 он уезжает в Пекин he leaves for Beijing jukuu: 4. He has gone to Beijing for the treatment of mental diseases. 他去北京看头痛玻(also verbal construction in series) 5. I heard that he had gone to Beijing. 我听说他去北京了。
    – user6065
    Feb 16, 2017 at 3:59

5 Answers 5

  • 我|去北京旅行(主谓)
    • 我(名词)
    • 去北京|旅行(动补)
      • 去|北京(动宾)
        • 去(动词)
        • 北京(名词)
    • 旅行(动词)

旅行 is actually a complement word that tells the purpose of 去北京.

Another demonstration: when asking on 旅行, the question should be 你去北京干什么? (Why you go to Beijing).


This is an example of a serial verb construction. Mandarin Chinese can have a transitive verb-object followed by an intransitive verb. The object of the transitive verb can become the subject of the intransitive verb. Or, in this case, the intransitive verb can share the subject with the transitive verb. (Note: In English, 'go' is an intransitive verb. In Mandarin, it's transitive.)

我去北京 is clearly a subject-verb-object. 旅行 is an intransitive verb. As such, it can be a 'serial' (i.e. added in a series) after a transitive verb and its complement.

  • 1
    there are 2 types of constructions, verbal constructions in series(连动句),the present subject matter, and pivotal sentences(兼语句)(object of 1st verb is subject of 2nd verb, which could be intransitive or transitive and thus be followed its own object)
    – user6065
    Feb 24, 2017 at 14:00
  • 1
    The present subject matter is a serial verb construction; 'Beijing' is not the subject of 旅行. Feb 24, 2017 at 17:10
  • 1
    undoubtedly,anybody claim otherwise?,for definition of verbal construction in series see comment#1 and chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/22786/… another type is "pivotal sentence" (object of 1st verb = subject of 2nd verb) examples of p.s.:他请我去。老师叫我们念课文。我们让他来我们这儿。
    – user6065
    Feb 24, 2017 at 17:48


我(to where)旅行。

In English we could write:

I went to Beijing on a trip. I went (to where)(why)

or I travelled to Beijing. I travelled (to where).

一到北京可以说: 我玩儿。 我(哪里)玩儿。 我在北京玩儿。

相比一下: 1.I broke the window. 2. The window broke.

In 1. did 'I' break? Or did 'the window' break? In 2. did 'the window' break or did something else break? In 1. is 'I' the subject or 'the window'? In 2. is 'the window' the subject?

What do you mean by 'subject'?

  • Okay, so 去北京 is the 状语?
    – Sweeper
    Feb 16, 2017 at 7:04
  • Quite seriously, my advice to you is: do not try to apply the flawed concepts of Western Grammar to Chinese. Western Grammar does not even describe Western languages properly. For at least 4000 years, the West has had a verb fixation. Basic concepts, such as subject or sentence, remain undefined and undefinable. 我问: 你多大? According to Western grammar, this 句子 has no subject, because subject is conceived in some vague way as an argument of a verb. Chinese scholars must develop their own ideas. In my opinion, 去北京 is quite simply 'to where'. It describes 我的目标。 where and when are very important.
    – Pedroski
    Feb 16, 2017 at 23:36
  • Okay I understand now.
    – Sweeper
    Feb 17, 2017 at 7:04

北京 is the object of the coverb 去. 去北京= to Beijing.

  • 去 a prep.???,dictionaries classify 去 as verb, it seems 连动句 like 我去北京旅行 (see above) where 1st verb has an object should not be confused with coverb (prep.) constructions like 他向我走来、 小李对我笑了笑,我们向前走去,我和他一起去,他朝我走过来、汽车望南开去
    – user6065
    Feb 16, 2017 at 9:14
  • @user6065 Since your dictionary tells you (correctly) that Chinese grammar is better understood in terms of coverbs than of prepositions, you should understand the whole framework of noun-verb-preposition and subject-object from English will not work quite the same for Chinese. Feb 16, 2017 at 11:07
  • user not aware of any dictionary using the term coverb, know only of Yip Po-ching's CCG that uses this term,我去北京旅行 fits the definition of 连动句 (verbal series construction) in "外国人使用汉语语发" agreeing with quoted examples 我去看。我去看杂志 consisting of 2 V-O phrases with purpose relationship. CCG has a large section on coverbs (pp.189-232,2nd ed.),some examples were quoted above, users are invited to find any example describing 去 as coverb. There is some similarity between coverb construction (when coverb precedes second verb) and 连动句,
    – user6065
    Feb 16, 2017 at 15:31
  • however 去 just as 来 seem to be universally characterized as verbs and not (simultaneously) as prepositions (many coverbs are classified and function both as full verbs and prepositions).
    – user6065
    Feb 16, 2017 at 15:31

Not everything in Chinese maps neatly to English rules of grammar.

”我去北京流行“ translates to "I go to Beijing to travel", or "I go traveling to Beijing". If I had to pick one as the object, I would pick “流行“, only because it was put at the end of the sentence for emphasis over “北京”, in the same way "travel" has the emphasis over "Beijing" in "I go to Beijing to travel".

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