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只要关闭起大门,四合院内便形成一个封闭式的小环境。

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, section 14.

What is the meaning of 起?

I am here:

只要(as long as)关闭(close)起(starts)大门(the big door).

But I am really perplexed since the 只要(as long as) has duration, while the 起(starts) happens once, so I cannot make it have sense.

3 Answers 3

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The phrase consists of 3 parts - 只要(As long as)关闭(closes up)大门(the gate), which is equivalent to "只要(As long as)关闭(closes)大门(the gate).

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  • I wonder if you'd accept 关闭上 as a perfectly equivalent synonym in this sentence (and, if not, why not).
    – Sanchuan
    Aug 14 at 22:39
  • Yes, it is acceptable. Actually, in both cases, 闭 is highly redundant. 关上大门 = 关起大门 = close up the gate.
    – r13
    Aug 14 at 22:49
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Actually 起 in this sentence sounds a little stilt for native Chinese speakers for 闭 and 起 both serve as a complement which is grammatically false. As you can see in the picture here, this kind of connection is almost non-existent in Baidu, which is the most used search engine in China. Therefore this sentence is a sick one for standard Chinese, or rather an abusage.

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  • "關(閉)起來" is used exclusively in closing the physical things that have a gap between the parts such as doors and windows - 把窗户關(閉)起來, 把電腦蓋子關(閉)起來, 把電源關(閉)起來.... The word "關閉" in your examples is strictly used as a verb which means "close down" to end something.
    – r13
    Aug 15 at 17:09
  • I only wantant to stress that "關閉起" (including "關閉起來") is an odd expression, try to use "把……關起來""關閉……" as a better substitution for it. Aug 16 at 7:26
  • I agree. 閉 is redundant on most occasions (see comment under my answer).
    – r13
    Aug 16 at 11:53
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Compared with 关闭起大门,we use 把大门关闭起来 more often.

In this structure, 起 or 起来 is used after a verb as supplementary to express taking action, starting to do something. Here come a few examples:

走起! Let us go.

唱起来! Start to sing!

走起来,走起来,不要停! Move! Move! Do not stop!

他很难过,但是他没有哭,反而唱起歌了。 He was sad, but he did not cry, instead he started to sing songs.

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