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Wenlin dictionary doesn't consider 大 as an adverb, whereas Online dictionary Chine Nouvelle considers it also as an adverb.

So is 大 commonly used in modern Chinese as an adverb? Or would it not be grammatically correct to translate 大 as "greatly"?

What about the use of the structural particle 地 (de) after the adjective to make it function as an adverb concerning 大?

2 Answers 2

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Besides being a common adjective, 大 is also a common adverb. It is mostly used with single character verb or adjective (more literary than colloquial)

Example:

  • 駡 (to scold) --> 大駡 (to scold strongly) e.g. 大駡他是漢奸

  • 好 (good) --> 大好 (quite good; very good) e.g. 現在形勢大好

  • 讚 (to praise) --> 大讚 (to greatly praise) e.g. 大讚他品學兼優

  • 勇 (strong) --> 大勇 (very stong) e.g. 這匹馬狀態大勇

We can use 地 with 大 when 大 is reduplicated. For Example, 大大地提高 (greatly raise), 大大地增加(greatly increase). But 地 is optional, meaning without it, the adverb still works, e.g. 大大提高,大大增加

We never use the adverb marker 地 with 大 alone. 大地提高 or 大地增加 is ungrammatical

大 in 大地 (the earth) is an adjective and 大地 itself is a compound word noun

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  • Also, 大 大 小 小 is a ......... ? Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 10:42
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    @Wayne Cheah 大大小小的 (big and small) is an adjective. e.g. 大大小小的獎項; 大大小小的工程. (大大的 + 小小的 = 大大小小的)
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 11:46
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Very good answer from Tang Ho. I'd just like to add a few 4-character expressions that use 大 as adverb:

大吃一驚 to be greatly surprise/ shocked

大灑金錢 to spend a lot of money

大興土木 to build many things (literally, to move earth and wood)

Example sentence:

這個政府忽然大灑金錢,大興土木,建了很多無用的設施,令人大吃一驚。

Out of the blue, this government spent a lot of money to build many useless facilities. This really shocked a lot of people.

These are just a few expressions that came to mind. I am sure there are many more.

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    政客們不但大放厥词,還大打出手,真是大失民心 The politicians not only freely speaking non-sense, they also ferociously fist fought each other, which greatly disappointed the people.
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 19:06
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    人民只好大嘆倒霉,希望下次大選的時候可以大換血,就大快人心了! The common people will have to resign to their ill fate. Hopefully when election (大選) comes next time, there will be a complete change of people, then people will say, Good riddance! (大換血 = complete blood transfusion). We are having fun with this, aren't we?
    – monalisa
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 23:11
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    在大大小小的大选中,有大多数是大骗局。所以,不是大换血,而是换来更大的吸血大魔鬼. (In elections, big & small, most of them are fraudulent. So, it is not a complete blood transfusion, but a transfusion of an even bigger blood-sucking monster) Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 3:06

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