Questions tagged [grammar]

Questions about the grammatical rules governing Chinese structure and composition.

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Difference between resultative complement and complement of state

In "New Practical Chinese Reader 2", it introduces two complements for Chinese verbs, in two different chapters. The first one being, complement of state, like 他跑得好。(He runs well) The second ...
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Why must we say 我可以从你那儿借钱吗? instead of just 我可以从你借钱吗?

我可以从你借钱吗? Can I borrow money from you? At some point in our language learning journey, we learn that 从[person] is considered a grammar error in Chinese (despite the equivalent not being a grammar ...
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这段课文写对了没有? 请你们检查一下。谢谢

Please help me to check if my text for the video is correct. 大家好! 我是_, 我来自俄罗斯, 今年20岁。 目前还是一个_大学外国语学院的学生。 我是一个渴望知识的人, 学得很认真和努力。 我家不太富裕, 我从中学工作和帮助解决金钱问题。 从那时起,我试图了解金融和经济学是如何运作的, 觉得很有意思。 在我上学期间, ...
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Structure for the phrase 尾班車開出前5分鐘

In this phrase: 尾班車開出前5分鐘, is meant to signify “5 minutes before the departure of the last train”. I find the structure a bit strange for me. In my mind, I would have thought of something like: ...
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On what basis are word classes in Chinese defined?

Since Chinese words are non-inflecting, word classes in Chinese have to be defined based on syntactic behaviour: "verbs" are words that behave like verbs in a sentence (i.e., can fill the ...
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Is it possible to have 里 and 上 placed after anything else that a noun?

Is it possible to have 里 ('in') and 上 ('on') placed after anything else that a noun (for instance after a verb)? I can think about only: _这里, 那里, 哪里 (two determinants and one pronoun) _往上
, 向上, 
以上, 
...
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meaning of the phrase 听你的 and purpose of 的

What does it mean to say 听你的 when someone tells you to do something. And what is the purpose of 的 in this structure?
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Are the words 心里, 街上, and 夜里 nouns or prepositional phrases?

Are the words 心里, 街上, and 夜里 nouns or prepositional phrases[1][2]? - I can not tell if 心里 means 'heart', or 'in my heart'. It is possible to have 心里 or 心 in front of a verb, giving the impression that ...
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Is it grammatically incorrect to use 问 with the prepositions 向 or 对?

The grammar surrounding 问 seems to be a gap in my knowledge. Using "two objects" seems okay: 我问了他一个问题。 他问那女孩:“你结婚了吗?” But judging from a lack of examples online, using the prepositions 向 ...
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Reading older Chinese magazines

I'm at a stage where I'm able to read novels, including the ones by Zhang Ailing, Bai Xianyong and the like. I have now reached the point where I need to start venturing into (somewhat) early 20th ...
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刚下完雨的地面尚且带着潮湿的水责. Grammatical and translating problam!

刚下完雨的地面尚且带着潮湿的水责. Well, first of all, do you see the above sentence? Honestly, for example, I know what each of these characters position(grammatically) is in the sentence (except for this part 尚且带着), ...
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Using 了 about future events

I've come across some sentences, in which the particle 了 is used about future events. 晚上我们请他们去吃了北京烤鸭。 下个月我就回美国去了。 现在该去海关办你的事儿了。 I don't know what kind of 了 is this? Is it 了1, marking the completion ...
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Is 会不会 in 你会不会修我的电脑 okay?

Please, is this sentence grammatically correct? A:请问,你会不会修我的电脑 B :对不起,我不会修电脑
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In the example sentence, “我不知道他什么时候会再来的”, is “的” purely for emphasis?

There is a related question which I read, under which someone answered that the 的 makes it feel more natural. Is there a grammatical reason for the character, or is it a matter of emphasis?
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Function of 行 in this statement (cantonese)

I am reading a Cantonese statement: 我日日都開行冷氣。 What is the function of 行? For me, it would have been perfectly fine as 我日日都開冷氣。 As in, I turn on the a/c everyday. Please give insights. Thanks
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了 with verbs like 不要,该,得

I wonder what's the purpose of 了 in combination of "must, have to" verbs. Here are some examples: 我得把今天的练习做了。 I know without 了 it would mean "I must do today's exercises". But I ...
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What is the function of 埋? (Cantonese)

In this sentence: 做乜唔叫埋我? What is the function of 埋? I understood this sentence to be: "why didn't you call me?" (perhaps to an outing or a party). What is the difference with the sentence &...
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Why is this sentence 「我沒來以前那個事你說給他了嗎?」 grammatically correct?

from DeFrancis' Beginning Chinese Reader p. 329 – Lesson 26, Exercise 2, Item 13 The sentence translates as, "Did you tell him what happened before I came?" Please provide example sentences ...
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verb+了1+object, incomplete sentence

I'm studying New Practical Chinese Reader 1. In the "Particle 了1" section, it reads: "If the verb with a “了” takes an object, this object usually has an attributive, which in many cases,...
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How to analyze phrases like 爐子裡的煤球很多 : postposition + 的

According to Paul (2015: 95), 裡 lǐ, 後 hòu, etc. are postpositions. But in that case, how come do we have the subordinator 的 de just after a postposition, in sentences like 爐子裡的煤球很多 or 房子後的人特別吵 ? ...
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Is there something like a reflexive verb in Chinese?

I was wondering whether the Chinese language has a reflexive verb construct. I know for example I wash myself, "我洗自己", can be thought of as a reflexive verb (if I am mistaken here and this ...
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What is the function of 得 in 我聽日仲有得面試添 in Cantonese?

I would like to ask about the function of 得 in this sentence: 我聽日仲有得面試添。 I understood the sentence as: "Tomorrow I still have an interview (additionally, on top of something else that might not ...
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Usage and grammar points involving 嚟講

I would like to request for some insights on the usage of the phrase “… 嚟講”. I have heard this being used in so many ways, one being “對我嚟講” as speaking for myself. What could be other possible uses ...
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Where's the causative 'gets stained' in 近朱者赤,近墨者黑?

Steve Lee translates 近朱者赤,近墨者黑 as He who stays near vermillion gets stained red, and he who stays near ink gets stained black. I matched the Chinese words to the English. 近 = near 朱 = vermilion 者 = ...
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"Pure" adjectives vs. adjectives derived from verbs? 清楚 or 高兴 versus 快,多, etc

BLCU's Chinese Grammar for Foreigners states: 地 must be used after the adverbial modifier composed of an adjective which is converted from a verb. For example: 他清楚滴地回答了我们的问题。 大家高兴地唱起歌来。 Why are ...
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What is the semantic history of 会?

According to BCLCU's Chinese Grammar for Foreigners, auxiliary verbs cannot be followed directly by nouns. This makes sense with most auxiliary verbs, but there is one glaring exception: 会 when ...
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Placement of 都 in a sentence with 每

The following dialogue is from the book HSK Standard Course 2: A: 你每天几点起床? B: 我每天六点起床。 Where would 都 be placed in A and B respectively? After 天 or after 点?
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Is 极了 a result complement or a verb suffix?

My guess: 极 is a result complement that has been grammaticalized in its -了 form to become a sort of suffix on its own. My reasoning for this guess: it was probably originally a result complement ...
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Why is 看 all the way in the back in 有好戏看了?

I saw this sentence and was wondering why 看 is placed behind everything in 有好戏看了? Is it supposed to be verb linking as in "Have drama and watch"?
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Is there a practical difference between resultative complements and potential complements?

In the answer to this question, a user who is now inactive says: in most cases, resultative complements are the same as potential complements. The main difference is that you put 得 or 不 between the ...
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Why are measure words omitted after specifiers and before some verbs?

这(个)是我的,this is mine: Before 是,normally I would omit 个 这没有道理, this doesn't make sense: Before 有 I would find 个 strange. Although maybe that is because 有道理 is an abstract concept. If I was talking ...
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What is the underlying grammar structure behind 峨眉山的景色非常的迷人和秀丽, and how would we generalize it?

This Reddit post brought up a Digi Mandarin article talking about how you can connect verbs and adjectives using 和, which contradicts other grammar sources. I was particularly tripped up by the ...
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How would you translate: Be sure to bring enough water

够,enough, is a kind of adjective that can only be used as a predicate, not as a modifier. 水够了 is "The water is enough" -- here it is used as a predicate. We cannot say, however: 够水, using 够 ...
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The sentence 「你們中大有語言學這科嗎?」 doesn't seem to be grammatically correct

Unless I'm mistaken, this sentence translates to "Does your Sun Yatsen University have this course in linguistics?" From DeFrancis' Beginning Chinese Reader p. 271 – Lesson 23, Exercise 3, ...
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Nuance between the two words for orange , cheng se and ju se

I am aware that chengzi is an orange and juzi is a tangerine. From these we get two words for orange colour, chengse and juse. I lived in Beijing for a few years and reflecting back I don't recall ...
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What is wrong with 于是 in 宝宝的口味跟成人的口味有着很大的差异,于是给宝宝烹调食物时一定要符合他的口味,做到色香味俱全,并且要经常花样翻新?

宝宝的口味跟成人的口味有着很大的差异,于是给宝宝烹调食物时一定要符合他的口味,做到色香味俱全,并且要经常花样翻新。 HSK6 H61218 Q.59 This is a HSK6 practice exam, 语病 ("faulty wording") question. Ref. changes 于是 to 所以, and my teacher also says ...
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What grammatical structure is this? 他以疯子而闻名。

I want to say in Chinese "He is known for being a lunatic." I asked Google, and it translated the sentence to "他以疯子而闻名." I tried to understand how Google arrives at this ...
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1 vote
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What's the grammar error in 西藏温暖的阳光、巍峨的雪山、雄伟的冰川无一不是吸引游客来的?

西藏温暖的阳光、巍峨的雪山、雄伟的冰川无一不是吸引游客来的。 HSK6 H61328 Q.55 This is a HSK6 语病 ungrammatical sentence. I can't tell what the problem is here; it seems like a 是……的 grammar structure. This post says to delete 来. ...
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What are the answers to the HSK6 语病 ("faulty wording") questions on the 22 publicly available HSK6 exams?

[This is a work in progress. You can consider this a first draft now. It still needs some proofreading.] There are 22 publicly available HSK6 exams. Since I'm studying this topic for my upcoming ...
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5 votes
5 answers
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Optional measure words

I've seen many times that some nouns are used with and without measure words. Is it optional to use measure words with certain words? The most notable ones I have come across, 星期 下星期,下个星期 一星期,两个星期 ...
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Does the HSK6 exam paper H61218 question 54 (语病) have a correct answer?

This is a HSK6 语病 question, wherein precisely one sentence is ungrammatical in some way: 昨天我从火车站出来的时候,天下了大雨。 鲸的体形像鱼,但却是用肺呼吸、胎生的哺乳动物。 伤害人的话语就像泼出去的水,一旦说出就永远无法收回。 有个成语叫“熟能生巧”,这里的“巧”其实就是不断重复练习的结果。 HSK6 ...
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Why is 近两年来,这些志愿者积极投入到各项环保活动 ungrammatical?

近两年来,这些志愿者积极投入到各项环保活动。 HSK6 H61007 The above is given as an ungrammatical sentence, but it's not clear to me why. There are two inconsistent HiNative corrections: 两年来,这些志愿者积极投入到各项环保活动。 近两年来,...
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Precisely how is 新中国发行的人物邮票大多以我国古今名人为主 ungrammatical?

新中国发行的人物邮票大多以我国古今名人为主。 刘云, 新汉语水平考试,HSK6级攻略,阅读, 2011, p.15. The above textbook HSK6 病句 (faulty sentence) question is considered wrong, and I've determined that it's considered wrong because it ...
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Different purposes of 的

What's the purpose of 的 in these sentences? 马大为给女朋友小燕子的一封信 奶奶问我,是不是自己来的医院? 你有什么不懂的, 在百度上都可以找到答案. Also, what does 小燕子 mean in the 1st sentence? Is it a proper noun?
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2 votes
2 answers
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What does 她又自杀又下跪地被送上了飞机 mean?

后来据说阿紫自己跑去医院打掉了孩子,她的家里人为了断绝她和仲嵚的来往,想办法把她弄去了法国,在亲戚家开的餐馆做帮厨,她又自杀又下跪地被送上了飞机。现在想来,这应该是这个故事里最圆满的一种解脱。 仲尼, 谢谢你曾来过我的世界, 2017, p.19 (photo of original). I don't get what the part in bold above means. Google ...
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Is 应该9点多吧 a correct way of saying "after 9 o'clock"?

I'm reading a random book from the library, which contains: 阿紫:“昨天晚上他几点出去的,你知道吗?” 我:“应该9点多吧,和一个很像僵尸的人一起出去的。” 仲尼,谢谢你曾来过我的世界, 2017, pp.11-12. I'm skeptical that 应该9点多吧 is grammatical. Clearly it ...
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Which is the best sentence?

Between the three sentences, which is better, and also, are all three grammatically correct? 我把地图放在房间。 我放地图在房间。 我在房间放地图。
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Context-based classifier usage

I've noticed that many Chinese people would use 个(個)instead of the proper classifier for many situations in daily conversations (e.g. 一个歌, rather than 一首歌). Based on my current knowledge, 个(個)may be ...
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2 votes
2 answers
223 views

In the sentence "您的外卖可能会晚到一会" what is the function of 到?

您的外卖可能会晚到一会。 In the sentence above i think 可能 and 会 could be translated as "probable/possibly be", 可能 being an adverb and 会 used as an auxiliary verb to indicate future tense, but then what ...
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4 answers
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Can the view of non-linear grammar of Classical Chinese be corroborated?

I'm not sure how non-linear grammar is defined. The search results seem to all come back with programming languages. That being said, I learned it from from a video of a college course by 万献初 Link. ...
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