4
很多同学坐着在草地上 => My textbook gives me the correct sentence: 很多同学坐在草地上. 

But I think the original one is not wrong.

(1) 很多同学坐着在草地上. Many students are sitting on the grass.

(2) 很多同学坐在草地上. Many students sit on the grass.

Is what I think correct? Does anyone have any better explanation?

4

The particle 着 indicates the continuous aspect, and if we want to use this particle, the appropriate structure is:

Place + Verb + 着 + [Noun Phrase]
Alternative existential sentences; Pattern with 着, Chinese Grammar Wiki

So the "place" should come before the verb (as usual), i.e.:

很多同学在草地上坐着。

It's continuous, so it is happening and will continue to happen. The context will give the time period in which it occurs. It means what you said: "Many students are sitting on the grass." (Although, I feel 同学 is better translated to "classmates" than "students", but this depends on context.)

We generally think of 坐 as intransitive, i.e., it doesn't take an object (i.e., "I sit" 我坐着) For comparison, 吃 can be transitive (e.g., "I eat food" 我吃着饭). Although we can say:

很多同学坐着地铁。 (Many classmates are taking the subway.)

but here 坐着 means "take", and 地铁 is the object of the sentence.

The official version:

很多同学坐在草地上。

uses a different grammar structure with the "special verb" 坐:

Subj. + [Special Verb] + 在 + Location
Special cases of "zai" following verbs, Chinese Grammar Wiki

And I believe your translation is correct: "Many students sit on the grass."

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thanks Becky. If I use Verb + 着 + Place to describe two ongoing actions, is it correct? For example: 他坐着在沙发上看报纸。(He is sitting on sofa and reading newspaper) – Jenny Jun 1 at 9:47
  • Hmm, I’m not sure (maybe that’s another question), but I’d instinctively put the 着 after the 看, since 坐在沙发上 describes the location. – Becky 李蓓 Jun 1 at 10:09
  • @Jenny It should be 他坐在沙发上看报纸 or 他在沙发上坐着看报纸. – dan Jun 1 at 12:37
  • @dan thank you, but why cannot write "他坐着在沙发上看报纸"? – Jenny Jun 2 at 1:36
  • @Jenny 'Why' is unanswerable in language. :( – dan Jun 2 at 22:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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