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“出去了几个人。”这句话是从汉语规范词典:

出去

chūqù

动 从里面到外面, 离开说话人所在的位置

出去买菜 | 他出去了 | 出去了几个人。

注意 “去”口语中有时读轻声。

但是对我来说不太清楚。“出去了几个人。”跟“几个人出去了。”,意思一样吗?

I think “几个人出去了。” could be translated by “a few people [left]/[went outside]”. But I'm not at all sure about the meaning of “出去了几个人。”

It's just some basic vocabulary, but I feel like maybe I'm missing something important here... Help!

  • Yes, 出去了幾個人 (the number of people who went out is how many?) is the same as 幾個人出去了 (how many people went out?). – droooze Jun 15 '18 at 15:21
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    Sorry, my bad. They're equivalent if a question mark is put on the end. In isolation, it just means several people (幾個人) went outside (出去了), noting that the phrase order is reverse of that in English. An English translation in the same word order would produce something like that which went outside was several people, but of course this is an unnatural way to put it. – droooze Jun 15 '18 at 15:35
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    similarly 来了一个人,出现了新问题,三个人中死了两个才能保守住秘密 are examples of VS word order, see e.g. aclweb.org/anthology/Y05-1033 Sentences with VS word order do exist. – user6065 Jun 15 '18 at 16:44
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    This is not something easily describable in written form - but less stress and slightly more rapid speech for 幾個人 compared with 出去了 means 出去了幾個人。 The opposite is true for 出去了幾個人? - especially if「幾」is stressed. For intonation, questions naturally rise in intonation towards the end. – droooze Jul 26 '18 at 9:36
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    Yes, they are, if spoken with the right intonation and stress. – droooze Jul 26 '18 at 9:49
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出去了几个人 is just a bit ambiguous. Are you making a statement or asking a question?

  1. 出去了几个人? How many people went out?
  2. 出去了几个人 . A few people left.
  3. 他们几个人出去了。 They went out together.
  4. 他们出去了几个人?How many of them went out?
  • In spoken language, what changes are made (stresses, pauses, ...) to distinguish between 1. and 2. ? – goPlayerJuggler Jul 26 '18 at 9:13

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