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我听到这个消息很惊讶。

When I hear this sentence, I hear it meaning, "I hear this information is surprising." But the learning material basically says it means, "I hear this information, I'm surprised by it." or "I'm surprised by hearing this information." Both of which mean the same thing, but has a different meaning from what I get from it when I hear it personally.

My problem understanding this is, if it means the last two sentences, I thought it would need a '的' like this: "我听到的这个消息很惊讶."

I'd be very grateful for clarification! Thanks!

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    By adding 的, the meaning of the sentence becomes "the message I heard is surprising." It's people who are surprising. Messages make people surprising. Message itself doesn't surprise. That's how Chinese works.
    – joehua
    Aug 3 at 0:24
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    @joehua I beg to differ. Messages can be surprising. People are surprised. Messages make people surprised; they do not make people surprising. And messages can definitely surprise people.
    – monalisa
    Aug 3 at 1:02
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    @OP, By adding 的, the meaning of the sentence becomes "the news I heard is surprised", which is a problematic sentence because as I explained in the answer, news is insentient and cannot be surprised by anything.
    – monalisa
    Aug 3 at 1:07
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    Thanks for this, as your answer (and you and Joe's conversation) has cleared everything up for me. It's also helped me with grammar and sentence structure!!! One thing that I've realized is 惊讶 is not "surprising" anyway; it's "surprised." As you said, Mona, to make it mean "surprising," it would be "make people surprised": 令人惊讶. Thanks SO MUCH, as this has given me HUGE flexibility with this type of grammar and construction! <3<3<3!!! Aug 3 at 8:24
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"我听到这个消息很惊讶" is actually a conglomeration of these two ideas:

我听到这个消息。 I hear the news/information.

我很惊讶. I am surprised.

Both parts share the same subject 我. Upon hearing this news, I feel surprised.

If I interpreted your question correctly, what you thought you heard was:

我听到这个消息。 I hear the news/information.

*这个消息很惊讶. The news/information is surprised.

There is an asterisk next to the last sentence above because it is problematic.

惊讶 (surprised) is a feeling. Only sentient beings are capable of feeling surprised.

我很惊讶 = I am very surprised.

News is not capable of feeling surprised. News can be surprising, not surprised. Therefore to answer your question, this sentence can only mean "I am surprised by the news, or, upon hearing this news, I am surprised."

If you want to say "the news is surprising", you'll need to say

这个消息令人惊讶 This news makes people feel surprised.

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No hidden meaning. Doesn't need a 的。I'd go for heard, not hear.

我听到这个消息很惊讶。
When I heard the news, I was very surprised.

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Let's try to work this out step-by-step.

First take a simplified version '这个消息很惊讶' means this message is very surprising. So '很惊讶' is an adjective in this context and describes the message.

Second step, you want to introduce the subject, that YOU were surprised when you heard this message, so you say '我听到这个消息很惊讶' now '很惊讶' describes your state of mind: you are surprised '我很惊讶' and why are you surprised? Because '我听到这个消息' so the phrase is cause and effect: you heard the story and got surprised.

Finally, consider adding '的' to obtain '我听到的这个消息很惊讶'. Now what is the subject? The subject is '我听到的这个消息' (the message you heard) what happened? '很惊讶' (is surprised) as in '我-很惊讶' (you are surprised). So this sentence says the message you heard got surprised, but no, the message is not surprised, YOU were surprised. So this sentence does not make sense.

So the best way to express you are surprised by the message is '这个消息(令我)惊讶‘ which directly says: this message surprised me, where 令 means caused. In this shorter version, you don't need to mention what you heard, because you want to express the message surprised you, as opposed to I heard a message, and I am surprised which is longer.

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No. If you are just talking to someone, and he or she says: “我听到这个消息很惊讶。”, it just means he is surprised of the message. If you mean I heard the message was surprising, you'd better use “我听说这个消息很让人惊讶。”.

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