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This is a 语病 ("faulty wording") sentence:

photo of the relevant page from the textbook

今年所有发生的事情,将深深留在每一个中国人的心里。
刘云, 新汉语水平考试,HSK6级攻略,阅读, 2011, p.6. (alternative image host)

The explanation is that the placement of 所有 is wrong, and should be:

今年发生的所有事情,将深深留在每一个中国人的心里。

I'm not convinced this is correct; the corrected version sounds rather unnatural to me. I'm hoping to get help understanding why this is the case (e.g., perhaps a reference book which describes this grammar), and get some similar examples, so I can avoid making this grammar error.

Question: Why is the 所有 misplaced in 今年所有发生的事情?

I don't see this mentioned on the Chinese Grammar Wiki, and you can find examples of it used by Googling "所有发生的事情".

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  • 2
    A very good question! I'd like a "why" answer too! The first answer I got was, "谁能记住所有的事情啊!逻辑不好!“ These are acceptable for Chinese ears I'm told: 1. 所有发生的这一切都不仅仅是巧合。 2. 告诉我你身边的所有发生的一切。3. 请给我描述一下所有发生的事情。Your sentence might be better as: 这件事会深深地刻在每一个中国人的心理。
    – Pedroski
    Jul 6 at 9:17
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    今年发生的所有事情,将深深留在每一个中国人的心里。 is better but the first sentence is not wrong. The important point is the meaning of 语病. Different regions have different emphases. Chinese community is a really big community. Figuring out the meaning of 语病 might be a good step to achieve the proficiency of Chinese language. Jul 6 at 11:55

8 Answers 8

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所有发生的事情 is unequivocally correct; that is not in question. That doesn’t make the full sentence in the HSK test equally correct, though.

The version in the exercise would be grammatically perfectly fine if it were punctuated a bit differently (note the moved comma):

今年,所有发生的事情将深深留在每一个中国人的心里
This year, everything that [has] happened will leave a deep impression in heart of every Chinese person

That would be semantically somewhat odd, but at least grammatical and understandable, if not particularly likely to occur in real-world usage.

With that punctuation, 今年 clearly modifies the entire statement, which leaves 所有发生的事情 as a complete unit (a noun phrase) – as which it is unambiguously valid.

With the punctuation in the correct answer to the exercise, though, it’s clear that 今年 is meant to modify 发生, not the whole sentence. It’s ‘everything which [has] happened this year’ which will leave a deep impression in people’s hearts. In other words, ‘this year’ is part of the relative clause which happened this year.

In English, there is only one place to put temporal adverbials like ‘this year’ in a relative clause like that: right after the verbal phrase it modifies (happened). Anything else would be completely ungrammatical and greatly impede comprehensibility.

In Chinese, though, the connection between the verbal phrase and the adverbial is a little bit looser, and it is just about possible to extract the adverbial out of the relative clause entirely and place it in its commonly used sentence-initial position without completely losing grammaticality. That’s what had been done in the exercise (the subscript i’s indicate coreference; the underscore represents where 今年 belongs underlyingly):

今年ᵢ 所有 [ _ ᵢ 发生的 ] 事情

That creates a sentence which is only just borderline grammatical – as exemplified by the fact that some native speakers on the page here have called it grammatical, others ungrammatical – but which nonetheless remains perfectly intelligible. It is, however, decidedly inferior to versions that keep the adverbial inside the relative clause where it belongs:

[ 今年发生的 ] 所有 事情 将 深深 …
所有 [ 今年发生的 ] 事情 将 深深 …

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It is just like we usually say:

"Everything happened this year" 今年发生的所有事情

instead of

" Everything this year happened" 今年所有发生的事情

If you agree the above sentences are both correct, then you can also agree on 今年发生的所有事情 and 今年所有发生的事情 are both correct

If you see how " Everything this year happened" sounds unnatural, you can see what's wrong with 今年所有发生的事情 (所有 here is in a place that a noun would normally occupy)

Let's replace 所有 with 東京

今年[東京]发生的事情

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  • "Everything this year happened." is not a correct sentence, though.
    – monalisa
    Jul 6 at 14:39
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    The English sentence isn’t really a good parallel. The incorrect Chinese sentence is at least borderline grammatical (as also noted in the comments) since 今年 and 发生的事情 can be meaningfully separated, even though it’s more natural to keep them together. “Everything this year happened” is completely and unambiguously ungrammatical and makes absolutely no sense in any way. Its grammaticality is more akin to 今所年发有生的事情. Jul 6 at 20:19
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Don't really feel either way is more correct than the other. I think it's more about where the emphasis goes. The one from the question has a stronger tone somehow as it has an emphasis on 'thing'. Grammarly, both 'all' and 'happened' are adjectives and don't feel there is a strict order between the two.

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这里的 “所有” 是属性词,只能充当定语。“今年发生” 是时间名词,做状语(今和年组成偏正结构)。

汉语里面有定语后置的情况。但是在这里,定语是要在状语的前面。(主->谓->宾,. 定->状->补)。

本来呢,汉语里面很少这么考究词性。在这上面下功夫事倍功半. 最好的办法就是阅读经典(千万不要读网络小说)。培养语感。

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The point is 今年发生的 has to be considered as a whole because it regulates what has happened this year. That is to say, 所有事情 all happened in this year. Not sure if I have made it clear.

The other way to put is 所有今年发生的事情. Again, the point is 今年发生的 shouldn't be separated in this case.

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所有 = "every"

事情 = "thing"

So, "every" needs to be joined together with "thing" to make "everything"

Similarly, 所有 needs to be together with 事情 to make 所有事情 = "everything or all things"

So, if you separate them and say, 所有发生, it means "every happenings", and not "everything" as in 所有事情. Thus, saying 所有发生 would no longer fit in with 事情 to mean "everything"

Let's take @Pedroski's examples which on the face of it appear to contradict the above. But, not so. Let me explain.

(1) 所有发生的这一切都不仅仅是巧合 // (2) 告诉我你身边的所有发生的一切

Here, though it may "sound" acceptable to some Chinese ears, there is in fact a Pleonasm Redundancy, meaning the use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning.

Explanation:-

所有 = "every / all" and 的这一切 / 的一切 = "all of / every", (both having similar semantic content, thus a Pleonasm Redundancy)

Sometimes redundancies which violate grammatical niceties are "acceptable" for reasons of emotive emphasis or stylistic characterization.

(3) 请给我描述一下所有发生的事情

请给我描述一下所有发生的事情 is semantically different from 今年发生的所有事情

In the former, the 所有 must be read together with 描述一下, (i.e., 描述一下所有, meaning "describe completely"), i.e "do not leave out anything"

Thus the sentence, 请给我描述一下所有发生的事情 reads "Please do describe completely to me, (请给我描述一下所有), what were the things that happened, (发生的事情)

In the latter, 今年发生的所有事情, the 所有事情 simply means "Everything"

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  • (a) Pleonasms and redundancies have nothing to do with grammaticality – language is full of both, and avoiding them is nothing to strive for. (b) What you say about #3 is quite unnecessary. 所有发生的事情 ‘everything that happens’ is perfectly normal and valid, and 给我描述一下所有发生的事情 can perfectly well just mean ‘describe to me everything that happened’, and analysing 所有 as and adverb (?) meaning ‘completely’ seems counter-intuitive. Topicalising the object, the resulting 今年发生的事情,你给我描述一下所有吧 sounds very odd to my (admittedly non-native) ear. Jul 6 at 20:31
  • Your comments are appreciated. Jul 7 at 2:48
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All the sentences below mean "All things happened this year" with the classifier "all" placed in different locations of the sentences.

  • 今年发生的(Happened this year) 所有"事情"(all things).

  • 今年(This year) 所有"发生的事情"(all happened things).

  • 所有"今年发生的事情"(All this year happened things).

While all sentences above are fine, it is more clear to place the classifier next to the subject word/noun.

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I think it is because “所有” is an attribute direclty towards "事情" instead of an adverb to “发生”.

In short, this "faulty wording" happens a lot in daily communication, especially in speaking. Yeah, putting “所有” in front of “事情” would make it sounds better, but I wouldn't have noticed that should you not mention it, since I am way over my school days. Only Chinese high school students preparing for entrance exam or linguistic professionals would notice this sort of stuff, so you can throw these COURTESY away after whatever exam you are preparing for.

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