What is the difference between
- 这道菜味道很好 and
How does this grammar point work?
Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
No difference in meaning but the grammatical style differs.
这道菜味道很好 - This dish tastes very good.
这道菜的味道很好 - This dish's taste is very good, or, the taste of this dish is very good.
In the first sentence, "this dish" can be replaced by "it"; and for the second, "this dish" is to be replaced by "its" - Object + 的 = Possessive
If we analyze these sentences syntactically, we can conclude the following:
In sentence 2, 这道菜的味道 is the topic. The word 味道 is the syntactic head/noun of the topic and 这道菜 is just a modifier. The comment is 很好. There is no need to pause either after 这道菜 or 味道 since no noun follows either expression.
Although the two sentences mean more or less the same thing in isolation, they might not be 100% interchangeable in context. The first one sets up the dish as the topic of the conversation and facilitates further comments about the dish, such as its appearance. The second one sets up the taste as the topic of conversation and would better facilitate follow-up comments about other aspects of the taste.
Since the relationship between topics and comments is loose, I also think that the style of the first sentence is more conversational and the style of the second sounds more precise and better for occasions where precise style is valued.
As a native speaker of Chinese. 99% of Chinese people would think these two expression have no difference between each other. Both of them mean the dish is yummy. You can use both of the to describe your fantastic meal. I guess the tricky thing here is that '菜' , which means meal, as a noun is used to describe another noun -- '味道‘ , which means taste, in the second sentence.