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现在的规定有点儿太复杂了吧,真应该好好简练一番。

This sentence is from the HSK6 Standard Course textbook (上册 p.36; photo of original). I have an issue with:

CC-CEDICT: 简练 (jiǎn​liàn​) terse / succinct

This seems to be an adjective and not a verb, but in

好好……一番

it looks like we can only add a verb. ChatGPT gave examples such as 好好休息一番, 好好学习一番, and 好好商量一番 which are all verbs, and was unable to give an example of 好好 + adj. + 一番.

Question: Is 好好简练一番 grammatical?

I feel like it should be 简化 which is definitely a verb. I'm yet to find any example sentences in which 简练 functions as a verb.

4 Answers 4

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现在的规定有点儿太复杂了吧,
The current regulations are a bit too complicated/complex,
真应该好好简练一番。
(I/we/one) really should shorten them somewhat.

Why does this usage seem strange? The word-classes of Western Grammar are only recommendations, not unalterable facts.

deep, wide and narrow you might think of as adjectives:

He should deepen the hole.
She should widen her reading.
He should narrow the doorway.

Maybe you think of 解决 as solve, but how about in this sentence? Does 解决 look a little like a descriptor?

非常简练的解决方案。
very simple 的 solve formula

Or the murderous Macbeth:

“With his surcease, success: that but this blow
Might be the be all and the end all.”

the be all? the end all?

Are 'be' and 'end' verbs? Was Shakespeare illiterate?

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  • I fully agree with your main message. I just want to clarify that be and end actually are verbs in english, and so is everything else you mentioned like narrow or widen. At the end of the day the english equivalent parts of speech are just recommendations, guidelines not rules. Chinese is a topic comment language, and context can turn a verb into a noun or a noun into an adjective etc etc etc. ( ◠‿◠ )
    – zagrycha
    Jan 11 at 2:18
  • Just because Chinese grammar is not as well understood as English does not mean every "rule" can be bent based on context. For this particular question, I have never seen 简练 used as verb in the sense of "simplify", nor have anyone around me. Jan 11 at 16:58
  • The word 'grammar' comes from the Greek word γράμμα gramma, meaning 'that which is drawn, written character'. Chinese is a marvellous, proud ancient language. It just seems to me that some linguists want to force the Chinese language to obey English grammar rules. I object to that! I believe Western linguists should look more closely at Chinese and learn from this proud old language!
    – Pedroski
    Jan 11 at 17:46
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No it's not. There are 1448 sentences in BCC corpus (文学+报刊) containing "简练". A skim through them reveals only a single sentence that uses 简练 as a verb.

语言简练是天津话的一大特点,有一些本来不是两个字的话,天津人也能把它简练成两个字。

The acceptability of 简练 as verb here is clearly influenced by the "语言简练" mentioned earlier.

Therefore, using 简练 as verb is not generally accepted.

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Is 好好(地)简练一番 grammatical?

Though it is not a good fit for this sentence, but, "Yes, 简练 can be used as a verb to mean "挑选/擇训练" - 《礼记.月令》:「天子乃命将帅,选士厉兵,简练桀俊,专任有功,以征不义。」" https://www.zdic.net/hans/%E7%AE%80%E7%BB%83

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If you accept 簡練 and 精簡 are the same type of word (adj) then you have to accept 簡練 can be used as a verb.

精兵簡卒 = 精簡(v)兵卒

簡文練字 = 簡練(v)文字

精簡 = to make refined and simple

簡練 = to make simple and refined

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