I am doing some grammar work and have been asked to correct the following, but i'm not sure what is wrong. Can anyone help?

  1. 学生们把电台里的中文新闻听懂了。
  2. 不洗澡的坏习惯被小明给改掉了.
  3. 这本书被卖得光.
  • Just like in English, active voice sound better than passive voice. 学生们把电台里的中文新闻听懂了。--> 学生们听懂了电台里的中文新闻; 不洗澡的坏习惯被小明给改掉了. --> 小明改掉了不洗澡的坏习惯; 这本书被卖得光.--> 卖得光这本书 – Tang Ho Dec 14 '20 at 18:26
  • Thanks! I should have said... this piece of work is specificaly on passive sentences. But we've been given loads of sentences and each has a gramatical error. I just dont know what the error is in the 3 sentences above. The meaning of the sentence should not change. – Wanderer Dec 14 '20 at 18:40

This is a question regarding sentence structure in Chinese. There are two commonly used sentence structure involved: 把字句 (sentences using the word 把) and 被字句 (sentences using the word 被). These two structures can be freely converted to each other and to sentences containing neither of 把 and 被 (called 陈述句). None of these sentences are inherently wrong, yet many of them can sound unnatural.

For example for the first sentence,
被字句 (Original): 电台里的中文新闻被学生们听懂了。
把字句: 学生们把电台里的中文新闻听懂了。
陈述句: 学生们听懂了电台里的中文新闻。
All three sentences work, but the second and third sound more natural.

Or for the second sentence,
被字句 (Original): 不洗澡的坏习惯被小明改掉了。
把字句: 小明把不洗澡的坏习惯改掉了。
陈述句: 小明改掉了不洗澡的坏习惯。
The second and third sentence sounds better.

The last sentence is a bit tricky since the person doing the action is not given. We need to add the person doing this action. We may speculate that the book is sold out by a bookstore, so let's use 书店 as the subject.
被字句 (Original):这本书被卖得光。
把字句: 书店把这本书卖得光。
陈述句: 书店卖光了这本书。
Since we don't know the real subject, it is the best to do with the original sentence.

If you would like more of these type of practices, there are plenty of resources online, many of which are from China and are actually done by Chinese students. An example is this one: https://wenku.baidu.com/view/63b6233f6137ee06eef918b7.html


In Chinese you do not need to use the passive form pervasively like in English, instead you can find many sentences like below:

一個杯子打碎了 'One cup broke/was broken'

這本書賣光了 'This book is sold out'

(See Lu et al. 2015 "Valency classes in Mandarin" for more details)


Since those are passive sentences.

  1. 电台里的中文新闻被学生们听懂了。(not passive)
  2. 不洗澡的坏习惯被小明改掉了。(把xx坏习惯给改掉)
  3. 这本书被卖光了。(not passive)
  • Thank you! I will study those corrections. – Wanderer Dec 14 '20 at 20:06
  1. 学生们把电台里的中文新闻听懂了。
    • no problems
  2. 不洗澡的坏习惯被小明给改掉了.
    • no problems too
  3. 这本书被卖得光.
    • I can understand this meaning, at least it's not a right sentence in Traditional Chinese...
    • it might be 這本書被賣光了

电台的中文新闻被学生们听懂了 The highlighted word is incorrectly added in this sentence. The word specify location(and also provides contrast to 外) which doesn't quite make sense here. why? because radio station here refers to the radio wave at a frequency, much like the Internet, as nobody would say “互联网里的消息”。If you would use a specifier here in this sentence you'd better choose 上 vs.里

不洗澡的坏习惯被小明给改掉了 This one is weird, because it's talking about an habit in general. As if all the world's habit of not taking shower has been corrected by XiaoMing. A better version of the same sentence would be 小明不洗澡的坏习惯被他改掉了 which still reads a bit awkward but is correct. like others pointed out, it's a better sentence if said as "把字句: 小明把不洗澡的坏习惯改掉了"






这本书被卖得光。(seems you have typo here)


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.