From my answer in What is the meaning of 的 in “有一天你会明白的”? and according to Charles N. Li, Sandra A. Thompson - Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar, I believed the function of the particle 的 from a grammar perspective is always that of the nominalization particle, i.e, it allows that a verb, a verb phrase, a sentence or a part of a sentence to function as a noun phrase.

In the other answers it was argued that when 的 occurs as a final particle, it denotes affirmation or intensifies the tone and that 的 does not actually nominalize anything. However, it seems to me this meaning might still be compatible with a nominalization function from a grammar perspective (even though it might not be completely straightforward to realize). The same situation occurs for example with the 是...的 construction, when its meaning is to emphasize details in the past but from a grammar point of view (according to the book I referenced) it is still a nominalization.

Question: From a grammar perspective, does the particle 的 function in this (or any other) situation without nominalizing? In order to justify your reasonings, please provide some (technical) references.

  • Like many other particles, 的 functions differently in different contexts – Tang Ho Sep 9 '20 at 11:55
  • I think this reference might be useful to understand this question, but it is in Mandarin and a bit unaccessible for me (maybe someone could use it for the answer): Guo, R. (2000). The conversion of the expressional functions and an analysis of the particle de in Mandarin Chinese. Contemporary Linguistics, 1, 37-52. – Puco4 Sep 9 '20 at 11:56
  • If you think a good dictionary can be a good reference, I suggest you check it. It will show you all the usages of 的. You should be able to find this one there. – dan Sep 9 '20 at 12:00
  • @dan I would prefer some more technical reference (like a book or an article). I am not talking about meanings (which are listed in the dictionary) but about the underlying grammar functions. – Puco4 Sep 9 '20 at 12:02
  • @Puco4 If you use it often, you would find a good Chinese dictionary is not just for 'meanings'. It addresses all the usages of a character. – dan Sep 9 '20 at 12:24

You can find the answer in 百度百科 using the key word 语气词 in Baidu search. Here is the quote relevant to your question:


It has a table listed all the usages of those 语气词. I can't copy the table from my mobile device. But it has this example 我不会忘记你们的。to illustrate the usage of the 语气词 的.

It's written in Chinese though. You can try to understand it using a translation tool.

  • I'm not sure this solves my question though. That 的 is a final particle with a particular meaning does not exclude there is some nominalization going on (as in the 是...的 structure). – Puco4 Sep 10 '20 at 7:55
  • @Puco4 语气词 doesn't have any particular meaning. 语气 means 'tone'. You should read the details about it. Like 吗 in 你吃饭了吗?Anyway, that's how far I can bring you here. This example is more obvious, 他是怎么走的?You wouldn't think 走的 implies any noun here, would you? – dan Sep 10 '20 at 8:15
  • I actually think there is a nominalization, from the book I referenced: "The 是...的 construction is a special sentence type in which a nominalization is used. Structurally, it consists of a subject followed by the copula verb 是 followed by a nominalization: Subj + 是 + Nominalization. It has several features: First, the subject of the sentence must be the same as the missing subject participant in the nominalization. [...] This construction serves to characterize or explain a situation by affirming or denying some suppositions, as opposed to simply reporting an event." – Puco4 Sep 10 '20 at 8:52
  • @Puco4 Can you specify any noun you can fill in the sentence? – dan Sep 10 '20 at 9:51
  • @Puco4 Or, in the sentence 我不会忘的, what noun is missing or implied? – dan Sep 10 '20 at 9:55

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