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I can't understand when this happens. For example, I know such a variation 我生你的气 and 帮他的忙。 but why doesn't it happen with other similar verbs? For example 说话,吃饭,结婚?

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3 Answers 3

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The word (or words) 生气, 帮忙, 说话,吃饭,结婚, etc are common in their formation, which is a verb + object (VO) structure. Those words are flexible in constructing sentences. For example,

(1) Insert an adjective in the middle.

For example, 生你的气, 帮他的忙, 吃老板的饭 (have a job), 生一点儿气, 帮很大忙, 说大话,吃闲饭.

(2) Insert a past time (the past tense).

For example, 帮了忙, 吃了饭,结了婚。

(3) Insert a completion word (the completion tense).

For example, 帮过忙了, 吃过饭了,结过婚了。帮完忙了, 吃完饭了,结完婚了。

(4) Insert a negative word (the negative sentence).

For example, 帮不了忙, 吃不了饭,结不了婚。

(5) Insert an absolutely negative word (the absolutely negative sentence).

For example, 没生气, 没有生气, 没帮忙, 没有帮忙,没吃饭,没结婚。

(6) Insert an interrogation word (the interrogation sentence).

For example, 生谁的气, 帮谁的忙。

In Chinese, those sentence structures may not be correct in every case, which depends on the custom and practice. For example,

(1) 我生气了。 = 我生她的气了。 = 我和她生气了。(OK)

(2) 我吵架了。 = 我和她吵架了。(OK) but 我吵她的架了。(NOT OK)

(3) 我结婚了。 = 我和她结婚了。(OK) but 我结她的婚了。(NOT OK)

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  • Can you elaborate on your last sentence "In Chinese, those sentence structures may not be correct in every case."? For example, can you say how often the structures may be incorrect? Without this additional information, the reader doesn't know whether the sentence structures mentioned are usually reliable, sometimes reliable, or only occasionally reliable. Apr 26, 2023 at 18:12
  • Though I understand what it means, I have always thought 我生她的氣 is a bit counterintuitive. You being upset has everything to do with your own emotion, but 她的氣 seems to suggest 氣 belongs to her and you do something with it (to bring it into life or something). Is that how native speakers understand the phrase?
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 27, 2023 at 10:25
  • 她的氣 does not mean that the 氣 belongs to her. It is just saying that the 氣 is related to her. The Chinese word "的" does not absolutely equal the English word "of".
    – PdotWang
    Apr 27, 2023 at 13:01
  • I know but it still seems weird. It's more relaxed to 我 than to 她.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 27, 2023 at 14:33
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...but why doesn't it happen with other similar verbs? For example 说话,吃饭,结婚?

  • 不要相信他说的话. - Do not believe what he said.

  • 我剛剛才吃的飯還沒消化. - I just ate lunch/dinner, and it has not been digested yet.

  • 他是上個月结的婚. - He was married in the last month.

In all of the above, 的 means the completion of the said action in the past.

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  • 例句:这是书。这是我的书。这是我买的书。这是我昨天买的书。这是我昨天在城南书店买的莫言新出版的书。
    – PdotWang
    Apr 26, 2023 at 21:22
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不要相信他说的话 - "他说的话" (what he said) is a noun phrase, where "说" is the verb and "话" is the noun.

我刚刚才吃的饭还没消化 - "我吃的饭" (the meal I ate) is a noun phrase, where "吃" is the verb and "饭" is the noun.

他是上个月结的婚 - "他结的婚" (the marriage he had) is a noun phrase, where "结" is the verb and "婚" is the noun.

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