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I'm having difficulty around the position of two kinds of objects in the 是...的 structure.

First, what should I do when there is both a direct and an indirect object? Would "这样话是我告诉他的" be correct?

Secondly, what should I do when there is a separable verb? Would "这本书是我读书的" be correct?

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A 是 B C 的

“A 是 B C 的” is an emphasized version of "B C A".

  • A: object
  • B: subject
  • C: verb

The emphasis is on B, that subject B is responsible for action C. It very likely that action C is complete and has some visible effect. A can be omitted sometimes if not important.

It can usually be translated into "It is B that Ced A."

这饭是我做的. 
It is I that cooked the meal. (not Tom, not Jerry.)
A: 这是谁干的?
A: WHO did this?
B: 是我干的。
B: It is I did it. (I take full responsibility.)

In your example, "这样话是我告诉他的", is correct in structure, but “这样” should be “这”

这话是我告诉他的。
It is I who told him so. (there are no other people that told him this)

"这本书是我读书的" is not correct. First. It should be "读" instead of "读书". Because if you put it back into original (not emphasized) order, it will be "我读书这本书", where "书" is repeated.

However, you cannot say "这本书是我读的" because the effect is not directly visible, and there is no point to emphasis.


A 是 B D C 的

"A 是 B D C 的" can be translated into "It is D that B Ced A"

  • A: object
  • B: subject
  • C: verb
  • D: adverb

"这本书是我最近读的" is a correct sentence. The decoration gives some additional information, so there is something to emphasize: the emphasis is on "最近". It can be translated as It is recently that I read the book. (not a long time ago)

"这话是我昨天告诉他的。
It is yesterday that I told him this information. (not today, not the day before yesterday.)
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  • Thanks for your answer! Very comprehensive. – TPace Aug 5 at 23:03

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