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This is from a Chinese version of The Hobbit (here) when the dwarves have left Rivendell:

此时,他们回头就能看见已经离开的那片土地,它们静静地躺在身后很下面的地方。
[Google Translate] At this time, they could look back and see the land they had left, lying quietly far below behind them.

I'm curious as to whether 很下面 is considered grammatically appropriate here; it seems wrong to me as 下面 is a noun, and not an adjective (although I have encountered 很美国 before). Maybe it's "translation-ese".

Question: Is 很下面 in 它们静静地躺在身后很下面的地方 considered grammatical?

I got both a "yes" and "no" from asking ChatGPT in different ways.

3 Answers 3

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The Chinese text here was translated from English. Some areas are not quite smoothly translated

此时,他们回头就能看见已经离开的那片土地,它们静静地躺在身后很下面的地方。

"它们"(they) here is the pronoun for "那片土地"(that land) It is better to use 她 (she) --> 此时,他们回头就能看见已经离开的那片土地,她静静地躺在他們身后很下面的地方。 (At this time, they could look back and see the land they had left, and she was lying quietly far below them.)

Or simply remove the pronoun --> 此时,他们回头就能看见已经离开的那片土地静静地躺在身后很下面的地方。 (At this time, when they looked back, they could see the land they had left behind, lying quietly far below them.)

Question: Is 很下面 in 它们静静地躺在身后很下面的地方 considered grammatical?

I consider it grammatical because it is easy to imagine that "very far down below" told us that the characters had reached a high point of a mountain in front of them. The land they left behind might not be far on the map but was far in vertical distance

It is quite a good depiction of a sentimental and inspiring scene

Notice:

很下面 (very far down below) is from the perspective of the main character. If it was 很低 (very low) then the perspective belongs to the readers

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"它们静静地躺在身后很下面的地方" is not correct. The correct way to express this sentence is "它们静静地躺在身后下面很遥远的地方". The reason is that the word "下面" is a direction adverb, while "很" modifies an adjective, such as "遥远".

For example,

(1) 他爬到树去了。

(2) 他爬到很高的去了。

(3) 他爬到了树很高的地方。

The following sentences are not correct, but some people do speak that way. Maybe they will be accepted by the public in the future.

(4) 他家住在这座公寓楼很上面的单元。

(5) 他去了很北边的一座城市。

(6) 这是很从前的事情了。

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Confusion from the outset:

下面 is a noun
下面 is a direction adverb

Maybe ChatGPT translated the English? AI is overrated!

它们静静地躺在身后很下面的地方 "sounds strange". Does that mean grammatically unacceptable? If it has been published, well, publishing houses usually want to keep a good reputation.

You could rewrite the sentence like this:

这时,他们能够回头看看他们离开的那片土地,此刻正静静地躺在距离他们身后很远的下方.

And where is Gollum in all this? "Gimme my ring back!"

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