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In the sentence below, it seems like 在 has been omitted.

我们留学生楼两个人住一间。 (Two students live in a dormitory in our international student building.)

I guess the original sentence was:

我们留学生楼两个人住一间。

Is it grammatically correct to omit 在 in such cases?

Also how should one translate the following sentence?

他公司有事儿。

Was it originally 他在公司有事儿。?

3 Answers 3

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I am on your side regarding the first sentence, though "在" is often omitted in casual conversation.

In general, the word "在" should be included in the answer to the question that asks the "whereabouts" of a person, or some item.

Q: 小明在那儿怎麼還不來? - Why 小明 haven't arrived yet, where is he?

The classic/standard/proper answer should be:

A: 他在公司有事儿(被絆住了). - He is tangled with something in the company/office.

However, "在" is often omitted in casual conservations:

A: 他公司有事儿(被絆住了). - He is tangled with something of his company.

Strictly speaking, these two answers mean slightly different, as the first means "he has something in the company to deal with so he is late", and the second means "his company has something that causes him to be late".

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  • 我们 两个人住一间 [留学生楼] -- basic SVO sentence with the object placed after the verb phrase

  • [留学生楼] 我们 两个人住一间 -- the object is moved before the verb phrase and became a topic. The subject 我们 stays with the verb phrase

  • 我们 [留学生楼] 两个人住一间 -- the object is moved before the verb phrase and became a topic. The subject 我们 and the verb phrase are broken apart by the inserted object

Similarly:

我们 一人(吃)一碗 [白飯]

[白飯] 我们 一人(吃)一碗

我们 [白飯] 一人(吃)一碗

他公司有事儿。

Was it originally 他在公司有事儿。?

The two sentences are not the same:

他公司 (short for 他的公司) = his company

在公司 = he in the company

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I would translate thus:

他公司有事儿。
His company has a problem.

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  • Agree with this one
    – sylvia
    Oct 3, 2022 at 17:50

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