There is a recent Chinese Stack Exchange question on the significance of in 尤其, given the meaning of the word is largely contributed by .

I am quite confident that some of the answers in the thread are incorrect – i.e., is not a pronoun in 尤其 (neither personal, as in 其貌不揚; nor demonstrative, as in 其餘). I therefore suspect it should be a modal particle, traceable to classical Chinese, that helps provide emphasis.

I then looked up an article that suggests the grammaticalisation (虛化) of is especially prominent when matched with another character, e.g. in 與其 and 殆其:


(with meaning 'to concur', seems to be an imperative/optative)


( suggests uncertainty which reinforces )

However, I could not find examples of 尤其 in the source. My questions are:

  1. Are there quotable examples of 尤其 in classical Chinese that supports really is a modal particle, as described in the article?

  2. I can think of 尤其, 何其, and 與其 as common words used in modern Chinese that probably have as a modal particle. Any similar examples?

  • 1
    one more example where 其 might retain a modal origin is 极其 (not to be confused with 及其, where it is of pronominal origin)
    – blackgreen
    Apr 16 at 21:44

Classical Chinese (先秦)use 尤其 which has different meanings, not today's meaning.

For example,


尤 wrong
其 (emphasize, no real meaning)

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