I am quite confused by the sentence 这本书我要再看一遍. It seems to me like a sentence with a simple subject/verb/object structure, with no complicated time or place words. But why does the object (这本书) come first? Why is it not 我要再看一遍这本书?

Is there some rule describing this scenario?


2 Answers 2


Many languages have this type of sentence construction to put topic first. It is not unique in Chinese.

You can find it in English too. "This dress, I really want to buy". This dress is the topic of sentence. In Chinese 這本書,我要再看一遍。這本書 is the topic of the sentence.

This kind of construction is quite common in classic Chinese. In Mencius, "魚,我所欲也。熊掌,亦我所欲也。" 魚 and 熊掌 is the topic of a sentence.

In Japanese, putting topic with "は" construction is even more common.


In Chinese, the passive and active are not distinguished by gramma norm. Their distinction is inferred by semantics.

Here 我(I) read 书(book),can never be 书(book) read 我(I). That is the semantics.

Indeed, we have the hanji "被",but if the meaning can be determined from the semantics, this "被" is omitted usually.

If you would like, you can say 这本书***被***我要再看一遍?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.