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CC-CEDICT: 伴随 (bàn​suí​) to accompany / to follow / to occur together with / concomitant

I saw on Tateoba the sentence

闪电常常伴随着雷鸣。
Lightning is usually followed by thunder.

The English sentence would be incorrect if we swapped "lightning" and "thunder". So I thought I'd ask ChatGPT:

Would the sentence 闪电常常伴随着雷鸣 work the other way around 雷鸣常常伴随着闪电?

Yes, the sentence "雷鸣常常伴随着闪电" works perfectly. It conveys the same meaning as the original sentence "闪电常常伴随着雷鸣," indicating that thunder often accompanies lightning. The order of the components in this case can be interchanged without changing the overall meaning.

Hence...

Question: If A伴随着B, then is it true that B伴随着A?

It seems like if A and B are on the same level and occur simultaneously, these A伴随着B and B伴随着A are the same thing, but maybe they're different in something like:

和尚伴随着弟子。
弟子伴随着和尚。

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  • It depends. Just as "Do you want to go with me"? and "Do you want me to go with you"?
    – PdotWang
    Dec 2, 2023 at 23:54

4 Answers 4

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"A伴随着B" usually means B is the main character who needs to go and A is secondary. For example,

(1) 她陪着她妈妈去医院了. (Because her mom is sick.)

(2) 她妈妈陪着她去医院了. (Because she is going to give birth.)

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ChatGPT is not a reliable source of grammatical information. I am a PhD candidate and in our department there are routine talks about flaws in the capabilities of ChatGPT and new theories about how to improve it. For one example, see this article by Alex Lew: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2306.03081.pdf

Although 闪电 and 雷鸣 are physically simultaneous, there is still an order in which your senses recognize them. Usually, you first see the lightening, and then hear the storm. In this case, you put 闪电 before 雷鸣 in the sentence. If, in some special cases, you hear the storm before you notice the lightening, you put 雷鸣 before 闪电 in the sentence.

Let's look at some real world sentences. We will use the BCC corpus. We search for sentences that contain both 闪电 and 伴随. I'll comment on the sentences.

一声低沉严厉的喝声,伴随一只快如闪电的手闯入她的时空中。

This sentence implies that 她 first heard 喝声, and then saw 手. If you switch the two phenomena around, it would imply that she first saw 手, then heard 喝声.

窗外雨潺潺,间或伴随昙花乍现的闪电。

Raining is a continuous event, but lightening is intermittent. Hence, one would first notice it is raining, and then see the lightening. You can't switch 雨潺潺 and 闪电 here.

飓风伴随着闪电和暴雨降临在中美洲地区。

When hurricane comes, one first experiences wind, and then raining and lightening. You can't say 闪电和暴雨伴随着飓风 here.

空中传来隐隐的雷声。[...]伴随着雷声的是一道道闪电。

This example is interesting because to the reader, 雷声 is described before 闪电, but the people at the scene would probably recognize 闪电 before 雷声. Hence neither 一道道闪电伴随着雷声 nor 雷声伴随着一道道闪电 would feel natural here. The text works around by using an inverted structure. To the reader 雷声 appears before 闪电, but when we restore the sentence to the normal structure, 闪电 occurs before 雷声.

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伴随(to accompany/ to accompany and follow) is a verb

"A" is the subject in "A 伴随 B"

For example, in "我父親的浪琴錶伴随了他六十年" (My father’s Longines watch has been with him for sixty years), The watch accompanied and followed its owner for sixty years, not the other way around. It would be wrong to say "My father accompanied and followed his Longines watch for sixty years."

In 雷聲伴随閃電 (Thunder following lightning), it is the thunder following the lightning, not the other way around -- lightning always comes before thunder

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闪电常常伴随着雷鸣。 Lightning is usually followed by thunder.

The English sentence would be incorrect if we swapped "lightning" and "thunder".

You are correct, but for this case, "followed" shall be translated as "跟随" rather than "伴随". Note that for the former, the occurrence of events A and B could be sequential (such as one must after the other) and need not be simultaneous, so the reverse may not be true. However, for the latter (a companionship), A always occurs/presents together with B, so the reverse is true - A accompanies B = B accompanies A.

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