Why is it not necessary to use 很 (or other adverbs of degree) to link nouns and adjectives when you reduplicate the adjective, and instead use a 的 after the adjective?

For example:




3 Answers 3

  • 很 as an adverb (very) only applies to adjective, never noun

  • A reduplicated adjective emphasizes itself similar to adding "quite" (颇/相当)

A reduplicated adjective cannot also use "very" because a reduplicated adjective emphasizes itself, similar to adding the adverb "quite".


很强壮 = He is (very strong)

强强壮壮的他 = He who is (quite strong)

We can describe a man "very strong" or "quite strong" but not at same time, because they are different degree of superlative. 很 (very) is stronger than 颇 (quite). Is he very strong or quite strong?

"他(很)(强强壮壮的)" translated into English would be "He is very quite strong", which is not grammatical.

  • Ok, I see you can't use很 in this kind of phrases. But what pattern can you use for reduplicated adjectives: "Red Adj + 的 + Noun" or "Noun + Red Adj + 的“? I did read this second pattern so got confused.
    – Ayose V.
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 19:22
  • The difference between " 强强壮壮的他 " and "他强强壮壮的 " -- The former is a simple "adj +n" phrase; The latter seems incomplete. It would be more natural to write "他强强壮壮的, 不用看医生" than just "他强强壮壮的"
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 19:54
  • 他强强壮壮的 is a [ topic + comment] sentence, in which 他 is the topic and 强强壮壮的 is the comment
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 0:20

That reduplication pattern of adjectives is a cutie way to express quite. E. g. 她的眼睛大大的。他的个子高高的。

Well, 她的眼睛很大 and 他的个子很高 don't have that effect.

We don't say 她的眼睛很大大的, which means 很 doesn't work with this reduplication pattern.


There are two things going here, the reduplication, and a sentence structure that goes N + Adj + 的. I think of these sentences as:

你的女朋友高高的 = 他的女朋友 (是一个)高高的 (女朋友)

NB: The N + Adj + 的 structure is not limited to reduplicated adjectives.

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