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This question is motivated from Why 的 in reduplication of adjectives "Noun + Adj + Adj + 的"?. In the answers, it was argued that the reduplication of adjectives structure:

  1. Noun + Adj + Adj + 的

    Ex: 他的儿子高高的。

is indeed a topic - comment structure:

Noun - Adj + Adj + 的

Ex: 他的儿子 - 高高的。

with a meaning (approximately) equal to:

  1. Noun + (Adv of degree) + Adj

    Ex: 他的儿子很高。

    Ex: His son is tall.

From the previous post, @dan:

There is no grammar difference between 你的脸很红 [structure 2.] and 你的脸红红的 [structure 1.]. 红红的 acts the same as 很红.

I don't understand how 1. and 2. are grammatically equivalent. I believe:

    1. is a complete sentence: the Noun (他的儿子) is the subject, the (Adv of degree) + Adj (很高) is the predicate and the Adj (高), the adjectival verb.
    1. is only a noun phrase, without Verb and Predicate. We can see it because the topic - comment structure makes it equivalent to:

    Adj + Adj + 的 + Noun

    Ex: 他的高高的儿子。

Where I am wrong in 1.? How can Adj + Adj + 的 work as a predicate with a verb?


A few examples of the grammatical equivalence of both structures:

这只小猫毛长长的,白白的,非常漂亮。

The hair of this small cat is long, white and extremely pretty.

Here, 长长的 and 白白的 are grammatically equivalent to 非常漂亮.

这个孩子的眼睛大大的,和她的妈妈一样。

This kid's eyes are big, just like his mother.

Here, 这个孩子的眼睛大大的 is translated to the complete sentence This kid's eyes are big.

  • a "topic - comment structure" is not a noun phrase. – fefe Jul 10 '20 at 9:44
  • Who do you think"…the topic - comment structure makes it equivalent to: Adj + Adj + 的 + Noun "? I don't see any approach to think 他的儿子高高的==他的高高的儿子. The former is a complete sentence and the latter is a noun phrase, not a sentence. Why do you think they are the same? – dan Jul 10 '20 at 10:02
  • @Puco4 Yes, but my question is why you think 他的高高的儿子 is a complete sentence? Your this statement is very confusing "is only a noun phrase, without Verb and Predicate. We can see it because the topic - comment structure makes it equivalent to: Adj + Adj + 的 + Noun Ex: 他的高高的儿子。 " – dan Jul 10 '20 at 11:12
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    @Puco4 Yes, that's why I have said'高高的 is acting the same as 很高 grammatically. – dan Jul 10 '20 at 11:53
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    @Puco4 If this could help you, you can add a 的 at the end of 他的儿子很高,他的儿子很高的. Maybe, this way you might be able to better align with Adj + Adj + 的. If this would add more confusion, then you can just forget it. haha. – dan Jul 10 '20 at 12:33
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How “Noun + Adj + Adj + 的” (reduplication of adjectives) is grammatically equivalent to “Noun + (Adv of degree) + Adj”?

[Noun + Adj X2 + 的] = [Noun + degree adv + adj]

  • Both are 'topic-comment' sentence

  • [Adj X2 + 的] functions the same as [degree adv + adj] in this case (a noun at the beginning but no noun at the end)

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After some reflection, I believe the underlying grammar of the topic - comment Noun - Adj + 的 sentence is:

Noun - (是) + Adj + 的

Noun - (is) an Adj one.

So the verb is omitted, the predicate is (是) + Adj + 的 and the subject is Noun. This is because Adj + 的 nominalizes the Adj, and we still need a verb. (If anyone can provide an alternative explanation, I would be interested to hear it).

In the example:

他的儿子 - 高的。

His son - (is) a tall one.


There are two alternative ways to express it:

  1. Explicitly with 是:

    他的儿子 是 高的。

    His son is a tall one.

    Although this introduces some emphasis on the adjective (@dan, @blackgreen).

  2. Noun + (Adv of degree) + Adj structure:

    他的儿子很高。

    His son is tall.


A different grammatical expression is the noun phrase Adj + 的 + Noun (@fefe, @dan):

他的高的儿子。

His tall son.


A reduplication of adjectives Adj + Adj is still an Adj, so all the previous grammatical considerations hold.

However, as pointed by @dan, a reduplication of the adjective has a different semantic meaning: the adjective becomes more vivid, cutie, lively, etc.

  • 他的儿子 - 高的。 is a stilted sentence. 他的儿子很高。is idiomatic. – dan Jul 10 '20 at 22:26
  • Maybe writing 他的儿子 - 很高的 looks better? – Puco4 Jul 11 '20 at 8:22
  • Stilted means incorrect though? Because maybe it is not the most used expression but could be useful for the explanation (if you can think of some better example). – Puco4 Jul 11 '20 at 8:26
  • Yeah, 他的儿子很高(的) is common. – dan Jul 11 '20 at 13:26
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Really strange that as a Chinese I found this grammer never met before. Please forget your "nonce + adj + adj" form. This is just an eliptical sentence.

To make this simple, you should know a basic sentence structure:

主语(subject) + 谓语(predicate) + 宾语 (object)

so:

  • 他的儿子高高的: 他的儿子(主) + (省略了 这个谓语) + 高高的 (宾语)
  • equivalent Chinese: His son is very tall.

and:

  • 小猫白白的: 小猫(主) + (省略了 这个谓语) + 白白的 (宾语)
  • equivalent English: The cat is white.
  • So indeed 是 is omitted, thanks! – Puco4 Jul 11 '20 at 8:17
  • Could you write this answer here chinese.stackexchange.com/q/39997/25265 ? I think I will just delete this post as it practically asks the same as the other post – Puco4 Jul 11 '20 at 22:00
  • OK, posted. you can delete this thread. – Siwei Shen 申思维 Jul 12 '20 at 1:19
  • @Puco4 Just so you know, this answer is not right. – dan Jul 12 '20 at 1:23
  • Why not right? give me your reason. I don't as a Chinese my answer is not right . – Siwei Shen 申思维 Jul 12 '20 at 1:34

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