What's the purpose of 的 in the following sentences?

  1. 谁说的?

  2. 他们来喝茶,喝的是一家人一起吃饭的快乐。

  3. 中文的不是买的。(What does this sentence actually mean?)

  4. 我会玩的开心。(What does this sentence actually mean?)

  • To me 3 is ungrammatical. 4 it should be 我會玩得開心. Many people cannot distinguish between 的, 地 and 得. Jul 10, 2022 at 7:35
  • @BrianCheung: Your first sentence is wrong. Your last two are right.
    – user21820
    Jul 11, 2022 at 16:56

2 Answers 2


Sentences 1 to 3, 的 functions as a nominalizer, i.e. it turns something into a noun.

说 - to say

说的 - the thing that is/was said

喝 - to drink

喝的 - the thing that is/was drunk

中文 - Chinese language

中文的 - the thing that is/was in Chinese

买 - to buy

买的 - the thing that is/was bought

Sentence 1 谁说的?

说的 is the object of the sentence (question, actually). So:

Who said (the thing that was said)? In other words, who said it.

Sentence 2: 他们来喝茶,喝的是一家人一起吃饭的快乐。

They come to drink tea. (The thing that is drunk) is the joy of sharing a meal together as a family.

In other words:

They come to drink tea. What they are drinking is the joy of sharing a meal together as a family.

"Drink" is used figuratively here.

Sentence 3: 中文的不是买的。

(The thing that is in Chinese) is not (a thing that was bought).

The meaning is not immediately obvious, but given a context, it is perfectly grammatical and logical.

You have two books, one in Chinese and one in English, on your desk, and you're telling your friend:


The English one is bought; the Chinese one is not bought. (Perhaps borrowed from the library? Given by someone? Written by you yourself?... etc.)

Sentence 4: 我会玩的开心。

I agree with others that this is a confusion over 的 and 得.

It should be "我會玩得開心", with 得 as adverb marker.

  • Another way of expressing 买的 is 买来的. Jul 11, 2022 at 9:55
  • Isn't 谁说的 just short for 是谁说的? If so, most learners would no this as a "是......的" construction that emphasizes a detail of a past event. Jul 11, 2022 at 15:20
  • @Vegawatcher You're right, but there's probably more than one way to parse a sentence.
    – monalisa
    Jul 12, 2022 at 18:20

What's the purpose of 的 in the following sentences?

(1) 谁说的?

The 的 here functions like "it", i.e. used as the subject of the verb, 说, ("said")

Thus 谁说的? would be translated as "who said it"

(2) 他们来喝茶,喝的是一家人一起吃饭的快乐。

Here the first 的 is for connecting / linking a verb, 喝, and a common noun, 一家人, and the second 的 is for connecting / linking a verb, 一起吃, and an abstract noun, 快乐

(3) 中文的不是买的

This is badly written. It should be 中文是买不得的, i.e. Chinese, (language proficiency), can't be bought.

The 的 here is the 是…..............的 structure, which is:-

是 [thing to be emphasized] 的

Thus 是 (买不得) 的

(4) Please refer to @Brian Cheung comment.

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