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This is from my talk slides (which I'm revising):

image of my talk slides, transcribed below

每一个PLR(r,s,n;m)是具有m个顶点n着色Kr□Ks诱导子图,例如:...

(I have some students here helping me debug this.)

I'm concerned about the three 的s being excessive here. They all seem required, so I don't know if this is actually a problem (and maybe it should just be left alone); perhaps it's a matter of inelegance. But maybe there's a grammatical way of reducing the 的s.

Question: Are too many 的s for multiple adjectives a problem?

I'm interested in the answer in general (as this comes up a lot), as well as for my specific sentence above.


There's a related question here What are the rules in Chinese for adjective order when multiple adjectives describe a noun, but it doesn't address the "large number of 的s" problem.

  • Yes, many 的 is a problem and as answers say, all but at least one or occasionally two can be omitted. The actual difficulty is deciding which 的 are superfluous. – Vitaly Osipov Jul 10 '18 at 7:38
  • "Too many 的s for multiple adjectives" is not really a problem when it comes to scientific fields. Your example looks totally fine to me, though there may be room for refinement. – Stan Jul 11 '18 at 2:35
  • we should keep 的,because multiple '的' can give reader aware of there are multiple adjective words, so he can easily slit words. when they are be read, we also make a short stop between these adjective words. – Daniel Yeung Jul 18 '18 at 1:11
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Considering its mathematical context, I recommend this one:

一个PLR(r,s,n;m)是一个具有m个顶点,n着色的Kr□Ks的诱导子图,例如:...

the first remaining 的 cannot be omitted because 具有m个顶点,n着色 modifies the properties of Kr□Ks and the second 的 constructs 是……的诱导子图.

However, our teacher may put it as

记PLR(r,s,n;m)为一m顶点,n着色Kr□Ks的诱导子图,如:...

(The briefer the better for mathematicians lol)

EDIT:

Sorry I made unforgivable mistakes. So, there's ambiguity, which is which concept m顶点,n着色 modifies. However, it is not really ambiguous because Kr□Ks is a graph of r×s nodes and we usually don't care its chromatic number so we can infer that It's the induced subgraph that has m nodes and is n-colorable, but still we should try to put it in a clear way. Now it should be

记PLR(r,s,n;m)为Kr□Ks的一m顶点,n着色的诱导子图,如:...

But still

一个PLR(r,s,n;m)是一个具有m个顶点,n着色的Kr□Ks的诱导子图,例如:...

is okay but ambiguous grammarly.

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Sometimes we can omit most of 的s if it makes the sentence too long and incoherent. It depends on which adjective you would like to emphasize most, 的 can follow it. If you put all three 的, then you mean to emphasize every adjectives. And in this case, you may put comma(,) or enumeration comma(、) after 的, except for the last one。

每一个PLR(r,s,n;m)是具有m个顶点的n着色Kr□Ks诱导子图,例如:... (emphasize m个顶点)

or

每一个PLR(r,s,n;m)是具有m个顶点n着色的Kr□Ks诱导子图,例如:... (emphasize n着色 or emphasize m个顶点n着色)

or

每一个PLR(r,s,n;m)是具有m个顶点n着色Kr□Ks的诱导子图,例如:... (emphasize all the adjectives together with one 的)

or

每一个PLR(r,s,n;m)是具有m个顶点的n着色的Kr□Ks的诱导子图,例如:... (especially emphasize all)

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Technically(pun intended) it is not a problem, it sounds redundant, if it is a literary book, author would try to avoid that, but for technical writing, clear is the most important.

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