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I came across to this sentence somewhere, 我不喜欢冬天的桂林 Meaning "I don't like Guilin's winters" I wonder if it would be better to say 桂林的冬天 instead of 冬天的桂林?

6 Answers 6

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I agree with @Wayne Cheah both are correct. Another way to understand these two sentences is by Chinese sentence structure, the majority structure is Subject + Predicate + Object, adjective/complement words are used to dress up Object. so parse these two by format.

我不喜欢桂林的冬天

Mainly part: I(subject) + dislike(predicate) + winter(Object/Target)
桂林的 is an adjective for winter which is limited to the weather location. So u dislike the winter of Guilin, but maybe u like the winter of Jinan or somewhere.

我不喜欢冬天的桂林

Mainly part: I(subject) + dislike(predicate) + Guilin(Object/Target)
冬天的 is an adjective for Guilin. So u dislike Guilin in winter, but maybe u like Guilin in summer,

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  • Since this question/answer are in English, I'll point out that this distinction is virtually identical in English. "I don't like 冬天的桂林=Guilin in the winter [but maybe I like it in other seasons]" vs "I don't like 桂林的冬天=the winter in Guilin [but I like the winters elsewhere OR I like other things about Guilin]." The only real trick is that Chinese can use the genitive case marker 的 exactly the same way in both cases, whereas English 's is strictly possessive, so "Guilin's winters" works, but "winter's Guilin" sounds odd.
    – Tiercelet
    Aug 25, 2021 at 14:31
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Both are correct. There is no "better" because they both have very different meanings.

In 我不喜欢桂林的冬天, you are referring specifically to "the state of the weather" only; i.e. how you dislike the winter period in Guilin; like for example it rains non-stop, (which incidentally happened when I visited years ago)

In 我不喜欢冬天的桂林, you are not talking about the weather, but "the dreadful condition of Guilin itself", i.e. how you dislike Guilin city during winter time; like for example the smaller shops close earlier.

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    我不喜欢桂林的冬天,但我喜欢桂林的春天和秋天。我不喜欢冬天的桂林,但我喜欢冬天的北京和上海。
    – Bósài
    Aug 24, 2021 at 15:52
  • I think they mean the same thing. I prefer 桂林的冬天, but it might be just me.
    – dan
    Aug 24, 2021 at 22:33
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Actually both are correct with different meanings.

桂林的冬天=Winter of Guilin. You're talking about Winter and Guilin serves as an adjective.

冬天的桂林=Guilin in Winter. You're talking about Guilin and Winter serves as an adjective.

So as you come across 我不喜欢冬天的桂林, it is actually meaning "I don't like Guilin in Winter."

(I am Chinese tho. I'm pretty sure this would help you distinguish difference between those to sentences.)

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It's not the same thing.I'll explain by giving examples:

我不喜欢桂林的冬天但是我喜欢广州的冬天

I don't like Guilin's winter(cause it's cold and cloudy), but I do like Guangzhou's winter(cause it's warm and sunny)

我不喜欢桂林的冬天但是我喜欢沈阳的冬天

I don't like Guilin's winter(cause it's cold and cloudy), but I do like Shenyang's winter(cause it's beautiful although very cold)

我不喜欢冬天的桂林但是我喜欢夏天的桂林

I don't like Guilin when it's in winter, but I do like Guilin when it's in summer.

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they both correct,桂林的冬天 might imply you like winter but not like winter in 桂林。

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Grammatically, "我不喜欢冬天的桂林" is more correct than "我不喜欢桂林的冬天", though both are not wrong in Chinese.

In English, you would find "I don't like winter in Guilin" is quite weird, and it seems that "I don't like wintertime in Guilin" looks better. And it is the same with Chinese. "冬天" is an abstract noun like Thursday in English. In regular, we usually prefer not to use abstract noun as object(but in Literal way, we do use).

So if you talk to your friend, just "桂林的冬天" "让我不舒服" ="makes me uncomfortable", or "很吸引我"="attracts me". If you write literature and you feel sad, it is elegant to express that something really depresses you and even makes you hate the weather in Guilin, like "我不喜欢桂林的冬天".

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