I'm learning Mandarin from the New Practical Chinese textbook series by Taipei Language Institute Press, and there are a few mentions of "FVs" as follows:

  1. 你去過台中沒有? - Explanation: 過 is suffixed to the FV; 了, when included follows 過.
  2. 你吃過飯了嗎?我還沒吃。- Explanation: Negatives are formed in the same way as for 'Completed Action' 了: 還沒 is inserted before the FV, and 過 is deleted
  3. 吧 - brings Objective in front FV (sic)

However, the textbook's grammar key doesn't mention what "FV" stands for. Presumably, the V is for Verb.

One of my teachers mentioned that it stands for "functive verb", but I haven't been able to find any other references to that term online.

Another teacher mentioned that it's possibly the same as action verbs (動作動詞) based on the explanations in the textbook. Specifically, she mentioned that 吧 can be used with action verbs in the sentence pattern Subject 吧 Object Verb, but 吧 can't be used the same way with equative verbs (e.g. 是), stative verbs (e.g. 長) or other non-action verbs (e.g. 知道). The textbook uses "AV" as an abbreviation for "auxiliary verbs", so "FV" may be based on some synonym for "action".

Is an "FV" some standard abbreviation in English explanations of Chinese grammar? What does it stand for? Particularly looking for answers with book/paper citations.

  • I don't know, but could it be finite verb?
    – Becky 李蓓
    Mar 6, 2023 at 9:45
  • I never saw this abbr before. But I guess it means functional verb or finite verb. Also the explanation of 吧 in the 3rd entry completely makes no sense. Mar 6, 2023 at 10:22
  • (I don't usually edit comments, but I edited the above comment---it seemed like it'd just lead to pointless arguments. Please let's stick to figuring out what "FV" means.)
    – Becky 李蓓
    Mar 6, 2023 at 11:28
  • I've added a bit more context around the description of 吧 as my teacher explained it. There is also this bit on Chinese Grammar Wiki describing which verbs go with 吧 "Some verbs generally can't indicate what happened to the object. They only describe what the subject did." (resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/…) -- the list of disallowed verbs surprisingly includes "Perception verbs" like 看 and 聽, which I'd have considered to be action verbs. 🤔 Mar 6, 2023 at 14:21
  • 1
    @typesanitizer you might have confused 把 with 吧. They are different words. Mar 6, 2023 at 14:43

2 Answers 2


I think the explanations in the sentences provided the clue, and both of your teachers were correct - "Function/Action Verb".

  1. 你去過台中沒有? - Explanation: 過 is suffixed to the FV [去]; 了, when included follows 過.

  2. 你吃過飯了嗎?我還沒吃。- Explanation: Negatives are formed in the same way as for 'Completed Action' 了: 還沒 is inserted before the FV [吃], and 過 is deleted



In this document, it says FV is a "functive verb". But I would not go further with it. First of all, the word "functive" seems strange in English. In the above document, just the same as in your textbook, it uses "AV" as an abbreviation for "Auxiliary Verbs". I do not like it because it can be easily confused with "Action Verb".

In 去過 and 吃過, 去 and 吃 are action verbs. I think you just treat "FV" as "V".

In English, "Functional Verb" may have other meanings that can be misleading too.

When you study the Chinese language, do not spend too much time on grammar explanations in your textbooks and classrooms, because the Modern Chinese Language has only 100 years of history in practice. Even the best Chinese Language Teachers could not systematically and correctly explain all the grammar questions.

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.