What is the meaning of this form?



I found many articles about simple reduplication of verbs in Chinese, like verb + verb or verb + 一 + verb (看看,看一看) but this one looks different (the way it's used).

3 Answers 3


In [verb + 的 + verb] structure, 的 is functioning as a pronoun

逃()逃 = (The ones who) run, run

降()降 = (The ones who) surrender, surrender

When we don't know who are running, we use a pronoun to refer them

'逃的' (the one who run) is a 'noun phrase' (subject) ; the second '逃' is the verb

You can also use 有些(some) as the pronoun to refer them. For example: "有些逃跑, 有些投降" (some run, some surrender)

  • Thanks for reply, I marked the other one as correct though because I feel it delivered the most important piece of explanation (do things without any constrains or scruple)
    – Danio
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 14:45
  • 逃(的)逃 = (The one(s) who want to) run run(s), 降(的)降 = (The one(s) who want to) surrender surrender(s).
    – xenophōn
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 7:58
  • @賈可 Jacky No, you are describing "能/想逃的都逃了,願/肯降的都降了" . 逃(的)逃; 降(的)降 simply describe what 'parts (individual soldiers)' of a 'whole (a defeated army)' are doing
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 8:08
  • @Danio "(军队 the whole arny)也多不愿为他送命,于是(1.逃的逃)、(2.降的降),(3.起义的起义)" ; 1,2 and 3 simply describe what the individual soldiers in that army are doing. The manner of how they carry out their action is irrelevant. Look at the following example: "暑假到了, 同學們1.打工的打工,2.旅遊的旅遊, 3.上補習班的上補習班." In this example (同學們) is the whole class, while 1, 2 and 3. simply describe what individual classmates are doing
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 8:20
  • I guess you're right, given that different context, your answer seems more general
    – Danio
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 12:54

I think the structure {verb + 的 + verb} connotes that people do things without any constrains or scruple. It describes a disordered situation.

Compared to

老师不在的时候,同学们玩的玩,闹的闹。// completely disordered there.

玩的玩 implied that if one wants to play, they just play (without any constrains or scruple).

In your sentence, 因为商纣王已失尽人心, therefore people just did whatever they thought right to them, 逃的逃、降的降,起义的起义(fled if one felt like flee, surrender if one felt like surrender, ...) The army was disordered or uncontrolled.

Stretch a bit: 逃的逃 -> 想逃的人逃了

P.S. the structure {verb + 的 + verb} is usually used to express a feeling and the feeling can be negative ones such as annoyed, sad, angry, etc or positive ones such as happy, joy, exciting, etc.

Those examples above are negative. Here is a positive one:


Basically, the structure {verb + 的 + verb} is used to describe a situation and how you feel that situation. If you want to express a generic situation, you can just use other structure like 有的...有的, 有些...有些, etc.

  • So the general idea of this sentence could be translated as such: because the emperors authority collapsed, the armies lost discipline and each of them did as they please rather than coordinate in defense. Does it make sense?
    – Danio
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 14:33
  • @Danio That's right, although it's not a word for word translation.
    – dan
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 14:37
  • 玩的玩,闹的闹 doesn't describe 'a completely disordered scene' here, you thought so, because you have '老师不在的时候' (imply no authority maintaining order) in the sentence, If the sentence is "婚宴酒席上賓客們玩的玩,闹的闹" you wouldn't describe it as 'disordered' because having fun in a wedding banquet is expected behaviour
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 14:54


It is actually an elliptical sentence.

The complete sentence is:


Thus, it can be literally translated to:

Escapers escape, surrenderers surrender, and revolters revolt.

Or more grammatically in English:

People who escape escape, people who surrender surrender, and people who revolt revolt.

It implies that many people escape, surrender, and revolt.

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