Is 外遇 used correctly as a transitive verb in the following sentence?


  • 1
    perhaps 王先生跟李小姐有外遇? I've never seen the term 外遇 before but from looking online it seems to be a noun Oct 23, 2020 at 6:39
  • 王先生外遇李小姐。is ok to say colloquially, though 外遇 is normally a noun.
    – dan
    Oct 23, 2020 at 23:29
  • That usage as a transitive verb was unheard-of two decades ago.
    – Apollyon
    Oct 24, 2020 at 5:05

2 Answers 2


When you use the word 外遇, it is a noun. It should be王先生有了外遇。外遇的对象是李小姐。

有了外遇 is the verb phrase for the noun 外遇. The 3rd person need to be mentioned in a separated sentence. In this way, you know who is the one betrayed the marriage and who is the 3rd person. And the 3rd person's marriage status is not mentioned, it can be anything.

Headlines sometimes tend to use super compact expressions, which are not common elsewhere. Like 或 means 可能, 拟 means 打算. Here I guess is the same thing, even though it is not common to say so, it saves space .

  • Just the opposite from "suicide". "自杀" in Chinese can be both noun and verb, but "suicide" must be "commited" in English, because it's a noun. Nov 2, 2020 at 8:07

王先生外遇李小姐 and 王先生跟李小姐有外遇 have very similar meaning.

The meaning of 王先生外遇(了)李小姐 would be 王先生 who took the initiative to 外遇李小姐.

  • I saw sentences like that on a news headline from Taiwan, but I suspect it is not universally accepted in the Mandarin-speaking world.
    – Apollyon
    Oct 23, 2020 at 7:38
  • That's because 外遇 is, in a certain context, a loaded term. It could mean an innocuous date, or an illicit affair. Use it cautiously. Oct 23, 2020 at 8:55
  • I mean, I suspect it's not universally accepted for the grammatical reason that "外遇" cannot be a transitive verb. It's uncontroversial to say "王先生跟李小姐外遇."
    – Apollyon
    Oct 23, 2020 at 9:55

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