I've encountered the sentence 把准备好的葱姜蒜全扣里, in the context of having to tip some ingredients into a previously-mentioned pan.

I wonder if 里 is acting as an internal object of 扣 or as its locative complement.

里(面) is often used as a nominal postposition, syntactically equivalent to "the inside of" in English. In such cases, it has been successfully analysed as a noun - a non-prototypical noun, but a noun nonetheless. This would lead me to believe that 扣里 = V+Obj.

But I do wonder whether 里 can ever be conceived to behave as a verbal complement, one capable of standing in for 进 or 入, for example. Is there any sense in which this could be the case? Is there any dialect, particularly in northern/Beijing area, where 扣里 can normally stand in for 扣进?

  • Where did you get this sentence? I've no clue what 扣里 means. Is it a process similar to 剝皮? Please show more texts.
    – r13
    Oct 2, 2022 at 21:04
  • I am speculating. I think 扣 is used as a verb, meaning to "put" or "place" something into something else, as we normally use 扣 to "button up", meaning "putting" a button through a button hole? So, 扣里, in the context of the sentence in question, would be to mean simply "put, 扣, in, 里", the ingredients in this instance? It certainly is an innovative use of 扣, assuming no typo is involved. There is actually a Hakka dish called 扣肉. Oct 3, 2022 at 1:05
  • Wayne has it. It looks like a creative, spur-of-the-moment use of the word 扣. The author means to splash a cupful of ingredients right onto a waiting pan by tipping the cup over upside down above the pan, the way you'd pick a 帽子 and forcefully put it on someone else's head. I'm surprised r13 would find that particular word puzzling. I had no trouble appreciating its meaning and nuance in context and, now that I look it up, dictionaries do define 扣 as tip over or place upside down, as in "把缸扣过来" or "用碗把菜扣上, 免得凉了". I guess that's why I found the verb itself unproblematic.
    – Sanchuan
    Oct 3, 2022 at 7:02
  • What I found interesting is just what Wayne said above: "扣里, in the context of the sentence in question, would be to mean simply put, 扣, in, 里". So is 里 here functioning as a verbal complement? In other words, wouldn't you guys have used a complement like 进 or 入 instead of 里 or between 扣 and 里? That verb seems to me to require a directional complement, as confirmed by those dictionary examples I gave above where 扣 is correctly followed by 过 and 上. 里 is a different kind of word (it can't take an object, like 进, 入, 过, 上 and other complements can) so it feels as though there's a 进 or a 入 missing.
    – Sanchuan
    Oct 3, 2022 at 7:24

1 Answer 1


in the context of having to tip some ingredients into a previously-mentioned pan.

I think you have typo, you mean 锅

Chinese likes to wrap things at both ends, so you get something like:

在 ... 里
入 ... 中
在锅里 in the wok
入锅中 into the wok
倒入汤中 tip into the soup
然后把它倒入碗中 then tip it into the bowl

Tip the prepared ingredients in the pan.

Tip the chopped onion, ginger and garlic into the wok.

As for the grammatical stuff you refer to, not sure what you mean by a "nominal postposition" nominal: in name only?? Would be hard to declare 里 a noun: ‘一个里’ 是什么意思?

在 ... 里, 入 ... 中 is the Chinese way of locating position or destination.

  • I'm afraid this doesn't answer the question, but you have found the problem. I agree there is something missing in that final locative phrase. And yet the phrase has no typo; it's simply: 扣 (verb) + 里 (inside).
    – Sanchuan
    Oct 3, 2022 at 7:29
  • You may not be familiar with such grammatical classifications, but, yes, 里 is best thought of as a noun. It's called a postposition, specifically, because it's not a prototypical noun as it's restricted in what it can do (for example, it can't be measured, as you note). It's a more abstract entity than a typical noun. But, abstract as it is, 里 (or 里面, in its longer form) is still more noun than verb, unlike for instance 进. Consider that the latter can take an object (进房子), whereas the former can't (?里房子). In the original sentence, I was expecting 扣进 or 扣近里(面).
    – Sanchuan
    Oct 3, 2022 at 7:37
  • Just occurred to me, we do this double-barreled prepositions stuff in German too: auf ... drauf: auf dem Tisch drauf = on the table thereon, durch ... durch: durch den Zaun durch = through the fence through, in ... drin: in dem Zimmer drin = in the room therein, but you only have a 里,nothing else. Dialect??
    – Pedroski
    Oct 3, 2022 at 12:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.