Here are the links I'm referencing:

  • -ed
    • Used to form past participles of (regular) verbs.
      • He has pointed at the dog.
    • Used to form possessional adjectives from nouns.
      • ‎point + ‎-ed → ‎pointed
    • As an extension of the above, used to form possessional adjectives from adjective-noun pairs.
      • red + ‎hair + ‎-ed → ‎red-haired
  • -ing
    • Used to form nouns or noun-like words (or elements of noun phrases) from verbs
      • As true nouns
        • My hearing is not good.
      • As gerunds
        • Smoking is bad for your health.

I am working on a fantasy language that is "analytic/isolating" like Chinese (and, to some degree, English), and wondering how these specific 2 endings are treated in Chinese. I know Chinese doesn't have tense, for one, but I am not asking about past-tense -ed, I am asking about possessional adjectives mainly. And then for -ing there are the noun forms and "gerund" forms (verbs acting as nouns but still verbs). I wonder if Chinese has those two forms, but maybe instead of having one system (like -ing for both), it might have one particle or something for each form.

  • 2
    Please add any details about what research you've done so far. On Chinese StackExchange, at least part of your question can be answered by reading through previous Q/A (e.g. chinese.stackexchange.com/search?q=english+ing).
    – dROOOze
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 1:14

2 Answers 2




"她以前是个好老师"(she was a good teacher before)

"她曾经是个好老师" (she was a good teacher once)

"她三年前是个好老师"(she was a good teacher three years ago)

日本 (he goes to Japan)

去了日本 (he went to Japan; he has gone to Japan)

去過日本 (he has/ had gone to Japan previously)

  • We use 的 to create possessional adjectives


黑毛 = black hair (n)

黑毛的 = black-haired (adj)

黑毛的貓 = black-haired cat

的 can be omitted in some cases, for example, 黑毛貓 (black-haired cat)



Used to form nouns or noun-like words (or elements of noun phrases) from verbs

As true nouns or as gerunds

My hearing is not good

When Chinese change a verb to a noun or gerunds, it usually combines with a noun word to make a compound noun

Example :

True noun:

聽(v) = hear (v)

聽覺(n) = hearing(n)

視(v) = see(v)

視力(n) = eye sight/ vision (n)


攻擊(v) = attack(v)

攻擊(n) = attack(n)

攻擊力(n) = attacking power (n)

攻擊性(adj) = offensive/ aggressive (adj) e.g. 攻擊性武器 (offensive weapon)

攻擊性(n) = aggression (n) e.g. 他沒有攻擊性 (he has no aggression)

  • 聽覺(n) ,視力(n): good examples Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 4:02
  • "的 can be omitted in some cases, for example, 黑毛貓 (black-haired cat)" can you elaborate, when can it be omitted?
    – Lance
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 3:59

In Chinese, verbs can be directly used as attributives. If you happen to know any Altaic language, you can take it as when used as attributives, Chinese verbs with no morphology are equivalent to both the non-past (in English -ing) and the past (in English -ed) verbal nouns with all cases (in English, some are lead by prepositions). When verbs have more than one syllable, sometimes the particle 的 is needed, which is derived from Classical Chinese 之.

  1. Monosyllabic verbs
  • Active (-ing) e.g. 流水, 流 is the verb to flow, 水 is water, literally flowing water. The head noun is the logical subject of the preceding verb.

  • Passive (-ed) e.g. 刀削面, 削 is the verb to cut/slice, 刀 is knife, used adverbially to 削, 面 is noodles, literally noodles that are sliced by a knife. The head noun is the logical object of the preceding verb.

  • (Preposition +) -ing, e.g. 砍刀, 砍 is the verb to chop, 刀 is knife,literally knives for chopping.

  1. Verbs more than one syllables.
  • No particle, usually the head noun cannot be monosyllabic. e.g. 应用程序, 应用 is the verb to use/apply, 程序 is software, literally it means software for using (for users, in contrast to system software). However, this structure must be analyzed in contexts since it has two readings. One is the above as a Noun Phrase, e.g. Word是一款应用程序. The other is as a Verb Phrase, to use the software, e.g. 我们要灵活应用程序去完成任务.

  • With particle 的 (or historically 之). e.g. 跑步的人. 跑步 is to run, 人 is people/person. This structure is clear but loose. It's clear so that no ambiguity like above is allowed, and loose so that it does not form a compact word, e.g. we cannot insert a 的 in 应用程序.

  • In the loose structure with 的, the passive particle 被 are better not omitted if both arguments of the verb can be humans, e.g. 被打的人, literally people that are beaten. If the logical subject is human while the logical object is inanimate, then 被 is not used, e.g. 做的饭, 做 is to make, 饭 is rice, literally rice that is made.

As you can see, the plain-vanilla form is to directly use the verb without the help of particles. Normally no ambiguity is present in the sentence.

When ambiguity cannot be removed contextually, helpers like 被 are used, and when the grammatical structure is not clear, helpers like 的 are used. For example, 的 is used with very long attributives, like 字写得好的人. 的 is also used when the structure without 的 is defaulted to mean something else, such as verb + adj + noun where adj is used as the complement, like 做好饭 (has made rice ready) vs. 做好的饭 (rice that is done).

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