2

民之欲富貴也,共闔棺而後止。

曾子曰:「以能問於不能,以多問於寡;有若無,實若虛,犯而不校,昔者吾友嘗從事於斯矣。」

The first text uses 也 as a topic marker, and the second text uses 者 in the same way. What are the differences between these two? Are they fully interchangeable, from a grammatical perspective?

1
  • I think you are interested in knowing the difference between 也 and 矣. Please confirm.
    – r13
    Aug 14, 2023 at 21:42

4 Answers 4

2

The use of 者 as what is called a nominaliser is covered as standard in introductory textbooks of Classical Chinese. 者 is thus usually considered very different to 也 in function, and the two are frequently used together almost as if they were a set construction of the form A者B也.

Most relevant to this quote from the Analects 論語: the use of 昔者 and 古者 as time expressions is indeed very similar to 也, as stated in Pulleyblank's Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar (p.74). 今也 and 昔者 seem to be the collocations preferred in the 論語. But other combinations are attested elsewhere.

There is also the use of 也者, which has its own subtleties involving a certain kind of 'bare' noun or kind-denoting noun phrase, and crops up occasionally in the 論語.

0

"也", when used at the end of a sentence, equals to “啊” or “呀”.

"者" substitutes "person(人)", "thing/matter(事/物), and time(时) when combined with another word (noun, verb, adjective) to form a phrase.

  • 昔者 = 昔时 = 昔日 = 過去 = 從前. "昔者吾友..." - "從前的老朋友..."
0

Are they fully interchangeable, from a grammatical perspective?

fully? no lah. only in some occasions, “者” could be read as “也”

the quoted texts in the question, if one change “者” to “也”, or vice versa; the texts need to rewrite, slightly, imo

for particles usages in classical chinese, two books are helpful:

經傳釋詞 by 王引之

經詞衍釋 by 吳昌瑩

in 經傳釋詞 卷九, mentioned:

・猶

roughly means: [the particle] “者” [could be read] as “也” [in some occasions]

enter image description here

in 經傳釋詞 卷四, mentioned:

也・所以窮上成文也

roughly means: [the particle] “也”, is for ending preceding [text] (窮上), [and then] becoming [following] text (成文)

enter image description here

have fun :)

0

Not that simple, both 也 and 者 can mean a host of different things in classical Chinese, depending on the context.

也 can be a filler (can be eliminated without loss in meaning), thus, etc. Examples: 故天降大任於斯人也;兵者,詭道也

者 can mean this, that, it, he, etc. Examples: 醫者父母心;昔有吳起者,母歿喪不臨

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.