I am somewhat new to Chinese and was learning “跟”. One of the sentences is "he likes to be with her" and 我的老师 says the correct form is


Would anyone be capable of breaking down the structure of this sentence?

  • Just like "to be" in the English sentence. You need something to fill between the 2 parts. If not, the sentence reads odd.
    – Zhang
    Commented Sep 18, 2020 at 2:05

3 Answers 3



Grammatically, we understand it as 他/喜欢/[跟她][在一起].

他: Subject(主语)

喜欢: Predicate(谓语)

跟她在一起: Object(宾语)

跟她 is a prepositional phrase modifying the verbal phrase 在一起.

Semantically, the sentence means he likes being together with her.

跟她: with her

在一起: being together

他喜欢: he likes

  • Hi Dan! As I understand grammar, the predicate is actually everything that is not the subject. The word predicate is related to 'predicament', the state or situation in which something finds itself.
    – Pedroski
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 1:45
  • @Pedroski Thanks for bringing this up! I checked my grammar book. It says there are three major methodologies to analyze a sentence, namely "层次分析法","中期成分分析法","后期成分分析法". In 层次分析法,the predicate is everything except for subject. In the other two methodologies, they need identify the key word 中心词 for a predicate 谓语. So, it's various based on the methodology you would use. So, I'm wondering what the situation is in English about this? Can you comment? Thanks!
    – dan
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 2:43

跟 in this case is a coverb (a pseudo-preposition) which, as I understand it, is a relatively new development in the Chinese language which was brought about by the influence of European languages. Coverbs are all words that originally only functioned as verbs but now also function as prepositions to varying degrees. Some coverbs can be either a verb or a preposition in different contexts while others can only function as prepositions. 跟 here functions as the preposition "with".

A coverb + a noun = an adverbial phrase. Therefore, 跟他 forms the adverbial phrase "with him/her".

在一起 is a verb roughly meaning "to be together".

Therefore, 跟他在一起 is an adverb + a verb, a verb phrase.

他(He/she)喜欢(like)跟她在一起(being together with him/her).

Because 跟 is part of the adverbial phrase that is part of the verb phrase 跟她在一起, it cannot come before 喜欢 which is a separate verb phrase entirely



I like [something].

I like [eating apples].

I like [to watch TV].

在一起: together
跟 ... 在一起:with: typical for Chinese, a double-barreled preposition, one before, one after, like: 在 某事 上, 在 某事 里

I like with her together. (literally)
I like being with her. (more correct English)

和:with 在一起:together 和 ... 一起:with

She [with he together] time feel very safe. (literally)
When she was [with him] she felt safe.

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