In the following sentence:


The sentence above should mean something like the following:

Those who don't care about their health cannot keep the healthy life, completely regret their life, and make their friends sad.

But I don't understand the grammatical structure of the bold part. Especially because:

  • 保持 is a verb here and its object is 健康.

  • But then I don't understand why 有 follows after 健康. 有活力的生活状态 is also a noun, so why is there no conjunction between these two nouns?

So my questions are:

  • Is my understanding on the grammatical structure here correct?

  • If it is, then why is the conjunction omitted here? And is it common to omit the conjunction in Chinese and don't even use a comma (逗号)?

3 Answers 3


Your translation has the right idea. It reads something like this:

Those who don't take care of their own physical well-being will be unable to maintain good health and vitality in their later years, leaving themselves with regret and causing pain to their friends and family.

The bold part can be made clearer, for example like one of the following:

  • 無法保持健康、有活力的生活狀態
  • 無法保持健康而有活力的生活狀態

The reason why it's not clear is because it is a vernacular/spoken sentence written down literally (which you can tell because the sentence begins with「那些」; formal literature does not do this). It is discouraged to write like this unless someone is being quoted verbatim, because such sentences require more effort to interpret when read.

During transcription, the necessary conjunction (or enumeration comma) was simply left out. If you hear the original person saying this, however, they might have inserted a pause, or dipped the tone slightly, between 健康 and 有活力, making interpretation much clearer.

  • Thanks for the great clarification. Is this kind of sentence common even on the written context (not from transcription)? Actually this sentence is from a reading textbook.
    – Blaszard
    Apr 29, 2018 at 13:26
  • 1
    @Blaszard depends on the formality. Learners' textbooks will sound more like spoken language, then you start sounding less like this e.g. in magazines/newspaper opinion pieces > in fiction pieces where people are speaking words, or as a first person narrative > in newspapers where people are quoted directly > writing styles in academic textbooks, journal articles > Classical Chinese. Don't assume that textbook editors write perfectly either, it's very easy to make a mistake when transcribing spoken words literally by not reproducing the necessary pauses/conjunctions in writing.
    – dROOOze
    Apr 29, 2018 at 13:30

Without a conjunction, the sentence should be written as follow:

"无法保持健康、有活力的生活状态" (combine "健康的" and "有活力的" by omitting the 的 in 健康的)

Using a conjunction make the two adjectives more connected

"无法保持健康(及)有活力的生活状态" (及 = and)

"无法保持健康(而且)有活力的生活状态" (而且 = also)

"无法保持健康(而)有活力的生活状态" (而 = 而且 = also)

"无法保持(既)健康(又)有活力的生活状态" ([既 X 又 Y] = [X and/ also Y])

"无法保持(又)健康(又)有活力的生活状态" ([又 X 又 Y] = [X and/ also Y])

  • Thanks for the answer but my question is about why the conjunction is omitted here, and if it is actually common.
    – Blaszard
    Apr 29, 2018 at 13:28

有活力的生活状态 is not a noun. '生活状态' is 'lifestyle'

You could stick a 顿号 in there if you like. (I did)

Those people who don't take care of their bodies,
in the end,
are unable to maintain a healthy and energetic lifestyle,
leave behind a life of useless regrets,
and cause their relatives and friends needless pain and suffering.

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