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An HSK5 exercise is to arrange these words to make a grammatical sentence:

搬运工人 把 从楼上 电视机 搬了下来
HSK5 应试指南,170页

This is my attempt:

My answer: 搬运工人从楼上把电视机搬了下来。 ✗
Textbook: 搬运工人把电视机从楼上搬了下来。 ✓

I'm wondering if my answer is a valid alternative, or if it's just incorrect. If my answer is wrong, I don't understand why.

Question: Why is it 搬运工人把电视机从楼上搬了下来 and not 搬运工人从楼上把电视机搬了下来?

There seems to be some grammatically comparable sentences online, such as:

刚才的'季雅云'绝对不是人,可我从楼上把她背下来的时候,却明明感觉到她有体重。 (source)

……所以不想再饲养宠物了,还有人从楼上把宠物给丢了下去,摔死了。 (source)

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  • 1
    I think your answer is also correct, however the textbook answer might be better. – fefe Jun 18 at 2:30
  • 1
    nothing ungrammatical about 搬运工人从楼上把电视机搬了下来 – Tang Ho Jun 18 at 3:54
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About the position of a "从" structure into a "把" sentence, an interesting dissertation (in Chinese) covering almost thoroughly the subject can be found at the following link: https://m.doc88.com/p-3794976946764.html

Short answer: "搬运工人把电视机从楼上搬了下来" and "搬运工人从楼上把电视机搬了下来" are both correct.

Long answer
(for details and examples see also the original article)

The structure being studied in the dissertation is exactly the one of the sentence you found in the exercise.

S1 (sentence 1): NP0+把NP1+从NP2+VP (从 after 把)
S2 (sentence 2): NP0+从NP2+把NP1+VP (从 before 把)

Those symbols corresponds to:

NP0 (noun phrase 0): 搬运工人
把NP1 (把+noun phrase 1): 把电视机
从NP2 (从+noun phrase 2): 从楼上
VP (verb phrase): 搬了下来

When S1 and S2 are normally both correct

  1. NP0 and NP1, when the action expressed in VP begins, are both at the position (the place) indicated in NP2. This is our case, because both 搬运工人 and 电视机 are 楼上 before the action of 搬下来 takes place.
    Example: 他把小车从山上开下来了。

  2. When the action expressed by VP begins, NP1 and only a part of the body (for example the hand) of NP0 (or some tool is used to reach NP1) are at the place indicated in NP2.
    Example: 他用铁钩把那只木桶从井里勾了上来。

The above 1) and 2) are true even when it is not clear whether NP0 is at NP2 or not.
Example: 江姐从床上把箱子提下来。

  1. NP2 indicates the place that is passed through during the action made by NP0 as expressed in VP.
    Example: 司机从车窗上把证件递了出去。

  2. NP2 indicates the aspect or manner in which NP0 makes the action expressed in VP towards NP1.
    Example: 他们要把北方人从各方面管治得伏伏帖帖。

When S1 normally cannot change into S2

  1. The action expressed in VP is made by NP0, but while NP1 is at the place indicated in NP2, NP0 is not at that place. This is true also if NP2 indicates a situation NP1 is in.
    Example: 母亲把他从窘境里救了出来。

  2. NP2 is a localizer or a locative noun and with NP1 (NP1+NP2) forms a directional phrase or an "attribute+中" phrase.
    Example: 朱延年站了起来,用刀把一块圆圆的奶油蛋糕从中剖开。

  3. When "把NP1" is followed by structures as "从⋯到⋯", "从⋯至⋯", etc., in some cases it's possible to move the whole structure "从⋯到⋯", "从⋯至⋯", etc., before 把, but cannot be moved only 从NP2.
    Example: 我已经把这本书从头到尾看了两遍。

  4. VP is in a form similar to "Verb+到+noun phrase" or "Verb+至+noun phrase" and NP2 indicates a different level on the same line of what is indicated by the noun phrase after the "Verb+到" or "Verb+至" structure.
    Example: 他们把处长从最低音叫到最高音

When S2 normally cannot change into S1

  1. NP2 indicates the place where NP0 is, and the action expressed in VP does not imply any movement, change, variation, etc.
    Example: 今晚你去找任保媳妇,从她那里再把任保和孙承祖媳妇的事情了解一下。

  2. NP2 is an "attribute+中" phrase and its attribute is the doer of the action expressed in VP.
    Example: 铁锁一被捕,谁也想打听是为什么,结果就从冷元口中把铁锁那天晚上谈的话原封传出去。

  3. NP2 indicates the starting point in time. Note: in some cases, this kind of "从NP2" can even be moved to the beginning of the sentence.
    Example: 从她出生到世上,别人不把他当人看,往后,他也觉着他是下贱的人。

Is there any difference?

When it is possible to change S1 into S2 and viceversa, we should keep in mind the following:

S1 sentence: NP1 is emphasized.
S2 sentence: NP2 is emphasized.

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  • Could you provide some example sentences for the three cases to facilitate understanding? – L Parker Jun 18 at 13:51
  • All right, I promise. In the meantime, please refer to the article at the link provided. It has examples for each of the 11 points considered. I wrote them here in the same order of the article. – Giuseppe Romanazzi Jun 18 at 16:01
  • 1
    Done. Added some examples. – Giuseppe Romanazzi Jun 25 at 11:58
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Verb clause: [搬运工人把电视机搬了下来]

Relative phrase: [从楼上](from upstairs) add information to the main clause, [从+location] stating where the verb started

The relative phrase can be inserted before or after the deposited object (object placed after 把 or 將 that marks it as a deposited object) as long as it is before the verb

Both 搬运工人把电视机[从楼上]搬了下来 and 搬运工人[从楼上]把电视机搬了下来 are correct

Simpler example:

Verb clause: [獄卒把他殺了]

Relative phrase: [在獄中]

Both 獄卒把他[在獄中]殺了 and 獄卒[在獄中]把他殺了 are grammatical

It is not the same without a deposit marker (把 or 將)

Example:

搬运工人[从楼上]搬了电视机下来 cannot be changed to 搬运工人搬了电视机下来[从楼上]

獄卒[在獄中]殺了他 cannot be changed to 獄卒殺了他[在獄中]

One more example:

獄卒把他絞死了

用絞索

  • both 獄卒[用絞索]把他絞死了 and 獄卒把他[用絞索]絞死了 are correct

獄卒絞死了他

用絞索

  • only 獄卒[用絞索]絞死了他 is correct ; 獄卒絞死了他[用絞索] is incorrect

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