I read this sentence :


which translates to :

A few days ago, my parents went on a business trip.

in English.

This might sound stupid but why is it “出差去” and not “去出差” when it’s “go on a business trip”? Or perhaps, both phrases are just the same?

Also, is there other cases where words are reversed like this? I have yet to know much about Chinese but what I mean is, when you look at the words order, it might be just fine (?) to translate it as “去出差” (go on a business trip) without having to reverse the words order into “出差去”.

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    @user6065 your comment is going to get flagged and deleted. If you insist on writing things that are irrelevant to the comments section in the comments then that is just what will happen. – user3306356 Jun 16 '19 at 10:26
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    @user6065 as you very well know (or should know), comments are an auxiliary feature of all StackExchange sites. Visit any other one and you can see that comments get removed extremely frequently and without warning, normally to a chat room which then becomes inactive and removed. “Users” do not generally “protest” against actions like this (only you do). – dROOOze Jun 16 '19 at 19:32
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    I didn’t flag your comments, but I’ve had a look at your online dictionary suggestions before and to be honest if I were learning Chinese at that level I wouldn’t have found them that helpful. They provide isolated instances of usage and more importantly you cannot interact with them if you have any further questions. I’ve seen you provide good answers before, much better than the dictionaries you are so keen to refer to all the time. You should make more of those answers. – dROOOze Jun 17 '19 at 21:00
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    @user6065 I often flag your comments, since they are often superfluous. There’s nothing fictitious about it. – julian Jun 18 '19 at 6:50
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    @user6065 it doesn’t make sense to blame the moderators for deleting some of your comments since it is their responsibility to uphold site regulations. Flags are not necessary for deletion; a moderator can delete comments at an time, unilaterally. Flags merely bring attention to comments that users such as myself believe do not conform with what is considered proper usage. Please correct your behavior instead of blaming the moderators for doing their job. – julian Jun 19 '19 at 5:42

adding some thoughts here as a native speaker:

  1. You can say 前几天爸妈去出差了。There's no semantic difference to me in this case.

  2. Under the hood, the syntax are different. In 去出差, 去 indeed means "to go", and the phrase's nothing more complicated than the literal translation you've mentioned: "go on a business trip". But in 出差去, it's the 出差 that's the verb. 去 following verbs, just adds the feeling of "already gone". For example, 他吃晚饭了 means he's had dinner, while 他吃晚饭去了 means he's left for dinner. 出差 business trip itself already carries the meaning of gone/left. Therefore in this case, it actually doesn't make a big difference with or without 去 in the end.

  3. Just like "go" in English, 去 sometimes can be tricky in terms of pragmatics. In user3306356's example 咱们看电影去。 看电影去 has a more cheerful, friendly tone compared to 咱们去看电影。In fact, the 去 + verb sounds so decisive that I rarely hear people use it without adding a 吧 in the end to soften the tone, when proposing an idea in daily communication.

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  • +1 for a well-explained and easy-to-read answer! – Toby Mak Jun 16 '19 at 7:39
  • Wow, this helps clear the confusion. Thank you so much! 😆😆😆🌸🌸🌸 – Agnes Jun 16 '19 at 9:51

I am Chinese so I can explain it to you.

"出差“means go on a business trip and “去” also means go. It is duplicated so we usually say it "出差“ not "去出差“ since "出差" has the meaning of "去"

"出差去了“ this actually equals to "出差了" the "去" is a sometimes a habitual words in this sentence. I think the only meaning is the status is already go.but "去" can be omitted."出差去了“ and "出差了" have same meaning.

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  • Thank you for your explanation! This sure helps a lot! 😆🌸 – Agnes Jun 16 '19 at 9:52
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    I'm happy to help you.It is the first time someone say I am helpful. – daotian Jun 17 '19 at 12:55
  • 😆😆😆🌸🌸🌸 well, now you know you are! – Agnes Jun 22 '19 at 5:57

I'm loathe to disagree with user3306365 but, I'm not so sure 去 is simply "the verb 'to go'"

In German we have 2 words: her (say 'hair') and

hin (say hin to rhyme with in).

These combine with countless verbs to indicate direction:

her: direction from somewhere to the speaker = 来
hin: direction to somewhere from the speaker = 去

Einige Tage gelegen gingen meine Eltern auf Geschäftsreise hin. (verb is: hingehen)
A few days ago, my parents went on a business trip. (English loses the 去)

I think, 去 before a verb in Chinese corresponds with the so-called 'to infinitive' and is also not 'go'.

Quite why the Chinese say 去出差 is a mystery to me, because 出差 already means "go away on a business trip".

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  • Thank you so much for explaining things! I have yet to understand the whole thing since I’m still a beginner but I can finally get the nuance! – Agnes Jun 16 '19 at 9:50
  • Reechen, 你绝对是正确的,是我写错了!我大笨蛋哦! – Pedroski Jun 16 '19 at 12:02

This is not really a case of words being reversed, it has more to do with the grammatical functions of the word “to go.”

If you check out Pleco’s definition of 去 you’ll see it says:

4 [before and / or after a verb] go in order to; be going to (do sth. there)

and the give a really good example where 去 is moveable:

咱们去看电影。(= 咱们看电影去。= 咱们去看电影去。)
Zánmen qù kàn diànyǐng. (or) zánmen kàn diànyǐng qù. (or) zánmen qù kàn diànyǐng qù.
Let’s go to see a movie.

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  • What about "去出差去“? – Pedroski Jun 16 '19 at 1:36
  • @Pedroski Absolutely. Also with a 了 on the end for good measure. – user3306356 Jun 16 '19 at 4:20
  • Thank you so much for explaining it! 😆☺️🌸 – Agnes Jun 16 '19 at 9:50

as a native speaker, I think both ways are acceptable and commonly seen, and I feel no difference between them.

If I have to pick some difference, I'll say:

"去出差了" focuses on the verb "去", this expression highlights your "parent's" action.

  • 我爸妈 出差了。

  • My parents went on a business trip.

"出差去了" focuses on the state of "出差", this expression highlights your "parent's" state.

  • 我爸妈 出差 去了。

  • My parents was on a business trip.

btw, "Someone...去了" is rarely used on formal occasions.

hope it helps you

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  • Thank you so much! This sure helps a lot!!! 😆🌸 – Agnes Jun 16 '19 at 16:56

Well, you have received several answers from native speakers. But I'd like to add some contexts and hope that would help you understand it better.

A1: 你爸妈做什么去了?

B1: 我爸妈出差去了。

A2: 你爸妈上哪去了?

B2: 我爸妈去出差了。

A3: 你爸妈呢?

B3: 我爸妈出差了。

As you can see, all are correct. Which one would be put in practice? Most likely corresponding to the proceeding question. But I'm not stating that replying other options would be wrong. It's just the most likely answer we probably get.

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  • Wow! Thank you so much for providing those examples! It helps me understand the nuance! – Agnes Jun 16 '19 at 16:55

We have three entities in the expression "出差",that is, "家","差" and "外". "去出差" stresses "去出"+"差",here the speaker focuses on "business trip". "出差去" focuses on "not at home(家),or leaving home"

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  • Thank you so much for the explanation ☺️☺️🌸🌸 – Agnes Jun 18 '19 at 19:32

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