I'm reading the book "301 Conversational Chinese Sentences".

At Lesson 20, this sentence appears: "这个鱼做得真好吃".

鱼 should be the object, and 做 should be the verb, right? "Fish" cannot do the cooking itself.

Could you tell me why the verb 做 comes after 鱼?


I found an article on this: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Degree_complement Degree Complements with Objects

Exactly what I am looking for.

  • You are Vietnamese, right? This kind of sentence also occurs in Vietnamese: "Cá này nấu rất ngon". – 范阮煌 Feb 12 '20 at 9:43
  • You are right, but what I am looking for is a grammatical explanation. – Ryan Le Feb 14 '20 at 4:38

There is the "topic-comment structure" in Chinese:

In a topic-comment sentence, the usual word order is rearranged a bit, in order to emphasize a certain part of a sentence. The part that is to be emphasized becomes the topic and moves to the beginning of the sentence, with the comment on the topic coming after the topic has been stated.

So here the topic is "这个鱼", which is the object of the verb. And the subject (who cooked the fish) is just omitted from the sentence.

  • Just like "Stone walls do not a prison make" – Wayne Cheah Feb 11 '20 at 4:33
  • thanks @fefe, but why doesn’t it have a comma after ”这个鱼” ? – Ryan Le Feb 11 '20 at 5:15
  • @RyanLe The comma is not required. In fact, usually there is no comma, especially when the topic is short. – fefe Feb 11 '20 at 5:21
  • Thanks @fefe, I got it. – Ryan Le Feb 11 '20 at 5:39
  • 1
    This example is more like unmarked (or notional) passive than topic-comment. A topic-comment structure would usually have a complete clause as the predicate (in this case, a subject for the verb 做). With the unmarked passive, the sentence just relies on the fact that it's obvious that the fish was cooked (as opposed to doing the cooking). – Ben Jackson Feb 11 '20 at 8:17

This is because there is "得” after the “做”. After "得” you can see “真好吃”,which means taste good, is an adjective. This makes it become an adverbial modifier. "跑得快”(run fast)“跳得高”(jump high)is the same as this.

  • I looked around but I could't find any document on swapping verb and object when there is "得” in it. – Ryan Le Feb 11 '20 at 5:34
  • such as 他跑得快跳得远。这个画画得真好看。 他看得很开心。 – BING Feb 11 '20 at 5:41
  • you are right, please have a look at my edited question above. – Ryan Le Feb 14 '20 at 4:36

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