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……。有的用纯鸡汁,有的用小鱼油炸后加葱姜等各种调味料制成鲜汤,有的用肉骨汤,总之,阳春面的面汤是最有营养、最美味的,而且由于阳春面口味清淡,一年四季都适合吃,老人和儿童都适合吃
发展汉语,高级阅读(I) (Developing Chinese, Advanced Reading Course (I)), photo: page 6; 7.

Clearly the intended meaning of the above is along the lines of:

Noodles in superior sauce are... suitable for eating all year round, and suitable for eating by the elderly and children.

But the grammar is confusing me, and in particular how 适合 is being used here. I'm familiar with examples such as:

你戴的领带不太适合你。
The tie you're wearing doesn't suit you.
适合做这个工作。
She is suitable for doing this work.

These sentences describe the suitability of what is stated before 适合. The textbook's sentence, however, contains two items before each 适合, and can break down in various ways:

All seasons are suitable for eating noodles in superior sauce.
Noodles in superior sauce are suitable for eating all year round.

The elderly and children suit eating noodles in superior sauce. [This is awkward, perhaps incorrect in English.]
Noodles in superior sauce are suitable for eating by the elderly and children.

There's an unfamiliar grammar pattern in play here.

Question: How should I understand the grammar surrounding 适合 in 阳春面的面汤是……一年四季都适合吃,老人和儿童都适合吃?

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  • If you consider 一年四季 = year around, and 老人和儿童 = everybody, then I don't see the problem.
    – r13
    Jun 12, 2022 at 15:45

2 Answers 2

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In the examples you listed, 适合 is the predicate, followed by an object (pronoun, noun or "gerund-phrase"):
……适合你。(...suits you. )
……适合做这个工作。(...is suitable for doing this work. )
The sentence in question actually uses 适合 in front of a "gerund phrase", which should be a verb plus a nucleus, but the nucleus (阳春面/the noodles) is omitted. So for you, it seems like two verbs are put together. Consider them as the follows:
一年四季都适合吃。=(一个人)(在)一年四季都适合吃(阳春面)。= (the noodles) are suitable (for one) to eat at any season.
老人小孩都适合吃。=(连)老人小孩都适合吃(阳春面)。= (the noodles) are suitable for (even) old people and children to eat.

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The theme of your paragraph is 阳春面的面汤, so when eat is mentioned, that's what is being eaten. The Chinese don't see any need to repeat it, even with a pronoun.

Ask a Chinese person: Do you like bananas? The answer will most probably be "Yes, I like." Why repeat bananas? That's what you are talking about!

阳春面的面汤是最有营养、最美味的,
Soupy noodles are most nutritious, most tasty,
而且由于阳春面口味清淡,
(and) because soupy noodles have a light taste,
一年四季都适合吃(阳春面的面汤),
(we can) eat (them) all year round,
老人和儿童都适合吃(阳春面的面汤)。
old people and children can also eat (them).

Recently I came across a phrase 硬译 = 硬翻译 = hard translate, hard meaning strict. The author was talking about Chinese being "anglified", but equally, we shouldn't "chinesify" English when translating Chinese. A simple dictionary will tell you 适合 means "fit, suit", but that won't always give you the best translation.

You could do that topic-comment thing: 面汤一年四季都适合吃。

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  • First, the sentence in question is not about the soup, but the noodles; soup is to be 喝(drunk), not to be 吃(eaten); only noodles can be eaten. Second, "hard translate" may not apply in a serious translation, but due to the similarity between Chinese and English grammar (English is much more analytic compared to other Germanic languages), it is possible to use a roughly word-to-word "conversion" for teaching English speakers Chinese, and tell them the subtle differences later. Jun 13, 2022 at 2:04
  • What? Do people actually eat the noodles on their own, without any soup?? Are they not more or less tasteless?
    – Pedroski
    Jun 14, 2022 at 3:28
  • If 阳春面 is seen as a whole dish, we say 吃, not 喝. Since the predicate is 吃, the object must be the noodle dish, not the soup of it. Jun 15, 2022 at 9:24

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