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I have a little bit confusion on when to put the location of which the action is taking place, which is before or after the verb.

From what I know, if for example we want to say "I want to eat here", we would say 我想在这里吃 instead of 我想吃在这里. But in this context of my question, the location of which the item is put is also part of the action. So which sentence structure is gramatically correct?

4 Answers 4

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This is what I call an "overloaded verb" problem. Usually, Chinese verbs can only take at most one object, complement, etc. In this case, 在这里 is correct, and 这个东西 is correct, but if you add both at the same time, you get a grammar error, so 我这个东西在这里 is incorrect; here 放 is overloaded. Your sentence

我在这里这个东西。

is correct; here 放 is not overloaded.

The "overloaded verb" problem can be worked around using the topic-comment sentence structure:

这个东西,我在这里。

the 把 grammar structure

我把这个东西在这里。

I guess repeating the verb 我这个东西在这里 would also be correct, but it sounds a bit clunky.

(By the way, there are some exceptions to the above, like 老师问我三个问题 or 老师教我中文, where the verbs 问 and 教 take two objects.)

As for 吃, mostly 吃 wouldn't be followed by the preposition 在 (although I think it's possible to use 吃在 in rare cases, something like 吃在嘴里). In any case, different verbs behave differently, and you need to pay attention to this when studying. You can say 放在饭馆里 but not 吃在饭馆里.

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  • As for 吃, since it would not usually be followed by the preposition 在 as you mentioned, would it be appropriate to put the preposition in front. For example, if I would like to say "I am eating here" (like eating in the restaurant), I would say 我想在这里吃?
    – Willow
    Mar 21, 2023 at 3:20
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    Yes, that'd be correct, implying the intention of "I'd like to eat here."
    – Xucong
    Mar 21, 2023 at 9:52
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Both sentences need modifications to be sounded more natural to the native ears:

我放这个东西在这里 cab be modified to:

  • 这个东西在这里(). - I'm leaving the stuff here then.

  • 我放这个东西在这里適合嗎/可以嗎? - Is it fine for me to leave this stuff here?

我在这里放这个东西 can be modified to:

  • 想/要在这里放这个东西 - I wish/want to leave this stuff here.

  • 可以在这里放这个东西? or 我在这里放这个东西可以嗎? - Can I leave this stuff here?

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How about 我把這個東西放在這裏? Otherwise 這個東西(啊)我(就)放在這裏(好嗎) "That thing—I'll put it here, OK?"

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我放这个东西在这里 or 我在这里放这个东西, which is correct? I think they are both OK in most cases. For example,

出门前,妈妈悄悄地放了100元钱在我的书包里。= At the time I am leaving home, my mom put 100 yuan in my bag without telling me. 放了100元钱 is more impressive.

出门前,妈妈在我的书包里悄悄地放了100元钱。= At the time I am leaving home, my mom put 100 yuan in my bag without telling me. 在我的书包里 is more impressive.

But the most popular structure of the sentence is using 把 and 放在. Such as,

我把那个东西放在那个地方了。= I have put that thing in that place.

出门前,妈妈悄悄地把100元钱放在了我的书包里。= At the time I am leaving home, my mom put 100 yuan in my bag without telling me.

我把你的书放在你的桌子上了。= I have put your book on your desk.

This is a typical SOV structure when you use 把 in front of an object.

Where should you put the whereabouts in a sentence? Is it before or after the verb?

Usually, if the location is where the action happens, you want to put it before the verb. For example,

我在书店买了一本书。= I bought a book in the bookstore.

If the location is the destination, then you may want to put it after the verb. For example,

我把那本书退还给书店了。= I have returned that book to the bookstore.

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  • “More impressive” (让人印象更深刻) is not the word you’re looking for here; I think you mean that those are words emphasised. Mar 21, 2023 at 10:27

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