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小男孩嫌小鱼儿丑

Why is it correct to omit 很 before 丑? The sentence means "The little boy considered the little fish ugly".

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  • 1
    "The little boy considered the little fish ugly" might not be an accurate translation, but I might be wrong because I'm not an English native speaker, so can't comment English. It's just my suspicion.
    – dan
    Sep 7 '20 at 0:26
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丑 here denotes aspect, other than descriptive as a pure adjective does, so we should not add a modifier 很.

很丑 focuses on the aspect of "very or quite", whilst 嫌我丑 denotes the aspect of "being ugly or ugliness".

So, 小男孩嫌小鱼儿丑 means 小男孩 dislikes 小鱼儿 because of his ugliness or 小男孩 dislikes the aspect of 小鱼儿's ugliness .

Not sure if I have made this clear. Have fun!

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When there's a verb before the object, you usually don't need 很 before the adjective

Since 嫌(dislike) is a verb, 嫌鱼儿丑 ( 這鱼儿我嫌丑) is a perfectly acceptable sentence,

More example:

天氣很冷

怕天氣冷 (天氣我怕冷)

這詩很好

讚這詩好 (這詩我讚好)

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  • Hmmm... That's curious... Let me give a few examples to understand better when it's OK and when it's not. 1. 你说这不远?这是远啊!##### 2. 我认为他帅 ##### 3. 我看她乖 ##### 4. 这手感好 ##### 5. 我看见一个漂亮女的 ##### 6. 这首歌听起来好. What'd you say?
    – musialmi
    Sep 6 '20 at 18:23
  • Notice in the examples I gave, the verb can directly apply to the adjective. e.g. 嫌丑, 怕冷, 讚好. In those cases, we don't add 很 at all. In other cases, you can still add 很, e.g. 我认为他很帅, 我看她很乖
    – Tang Ho
    Sep 6 '20 at 18:39
  • "You can" or "you must"? :D Anyway, I don't know what you mean by "the verb can directly apply to the adjective". I think it's a new thing for me. I can't just "notice" it.
    – musialmi
    Sep 6 '20 at 18:44
  • 喜欢他因为我认为他帅 can do without 很, but it is ok. to add it -- 喜欢他因为我认为他很帅
    – Tang Ho
    Sep 6 '20 at 18:49
  • Upvoted. I suspect this is the same construction as the serial verbs
    – blackgreen
    Sep 6 '20 at 20:04
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In Chinese, when an adjective is used to form the predicate of a sentence, an adverb of intensity (typically 很)is required:

  1. 这辆车很新。
  2. 这些樱桃很甜。

If we use "是" to form the predicate, then the adverb of intensity is not required:
1a. 这辆车是新的。
2a. 这些樱桃是甜的。

If the predicate consists of more than one adjective, it is also OK without the adverbs of intensity:
3. 她又聪明又美丽。

If the predicates are put in a parallel construction, it is also OK without the adverbs of intensity:
4. 这是一个幸福的家庭,丈夫能干、妻子贤惠、儿子聪明、女儿漂亮。

Therefore, the adverb of intensity (很)is required only when an adjective is used alone in its predicative function.

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很 is like an adverb decorating 丑, meaning "very", so omitting 很 translates to "The little boy considers the little fish ugly", while with 很 translates to "The little boy considers the little fish VERY ugly".

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  • But if I want to say "The fish is ugly", I can't say "小鱼儿丑". This is what is strange. What makes it legal here?
    – musialmi
    Sep 6 '20 at 17:24
  • @musialmi you can certainly say "小鱼儿丑"。I don't see anything wrong with that at all. Or if it sounds unnatural, you can say "我觉得小鱼儿丑" to depict it as an "I think" statement.
    – Harrison
    Sep 7 '20 at 5:52
  • @Harrison If I can say so, then why would every native speaker correct me and want me to put 很?
    – musialmi
    Sep 7 '20 at 8:39
  • @musialmi Because it just sounds way more natural. As a native speaker myself, I personally would use 很 as well, and whether me using 很 actually serves to mean "very" would really have to depend on the context. It just feels way more natural having an adverb before 丑. That being said, I don't see any way that 我觉得那只(that fish)小鱼儿丑 is too wrong.
    – Harrison
    Sep 8 '20 at 4:34
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很 is optional. when you describe something ugly, using 醜 is sufficient to express the concept of "ugly". 很 is used to do describe large extent of a quality. Even if you omit 很, you are still express the concept of "ugly" in your sentence.

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