Questions tagged [grammar]

Questions about the grammatical rules governing Chinese structure and composition.

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69 views

Is there a pattern for when you need to include 去 for future tenses?

For example, I was talking to one of my friends, and he said that 我会吃饭 means something more like "I can eat," than "I'm going to eat" so you should say 我会去吃饭. However, I've seen ...
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How is 了 being used in 没有了职务?

没有了职务,王建男像是从捆绑状态中被释放出来,一身轻松。 HSK6上 Standard Course, chapter 14, page 136 (original) This violates the rule of thumb: we don't use 了 in conjunction with 没 (see e.g. A verb negated with 没 / 没有 cannot ...
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When to properly use 是

While I was studying Chinese, I came across three sentences. I couldn't find out when 是 should be used. The sentences were as follows: 明天星期六。 5 月25 号是星期天。 今年是2021年。 I couldn't know why 是 was not used ...
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How are the sentences 我第一次挑战这么高难度的手术 and 这么高难度的手术我第一次挑战 grammatical? Where are the verbs?

挑战 我 第一次 这么高难度的 手术 A HSK5 past exam question is given above; the task is to reorganize the sentence fragments into a grammatical sentence. My (incorrect) answer was: 第一次这么高难度的手术挑战我。 I was hoping ...
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111 views

Tag Questions with 是不是

I read somewhere that you can make tag questions by adding 是不是 to the end of the sentence. The example sentence was: 您是李老师,是不是?You are Teacher Li, aren't you? But if the sentence doesn't have the verb ...
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52 views

Placement of 就 after time nouns

I have this sentence: 您好,我的手机从前天开始就不能上网了。 Normally I've seen 就 come after the time noun, so I'm wondering why this sentence isn't: 您好,我的手机前天就开始不能上网了。
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What is the appropriate word order for “I want to eat in a restaurant in Beijing”?

A couple of days ago I was wondering about the word order of the translation I want to eat in a restaurant in Beijing. With my rather limited knowledge of Chinese (and its grammar), I thought the ...
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成 as a result complement

I have these sentences from my textbook which I mostly understand, but I'm confused about the usage of 成. ”有银行通知我去面试,所以就穿成这样了。“ ”我们和上次那个公司的生意终于谈成了。“ "当别人请你帮忙时,对那些自己很难办成的事情,最好还是先想清楚。如果最后事情没办成,...
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How can I make sense of 落家里 within 张东把钥匙落家里了?

The following problem is from a mock exam question from HSK5级应试指南; we're meant to arrange the sentence fragments into a grammatical sentence: 钥匙、落、把、了、张东、家里 (image) I didn't get this answer correct (...
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How do we parse the grammar of 没找到满意的房子前,……?

没找到满意的房子前,我「临时 / 暂时」借住在朋友家里。 (image) 标准教程HSK5上,138页 The above sentence gives an instance when both 临时 and 暂时 can be used. However, I'm confused about the time period considered in the first part. ...
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Expressing “it is there” 是在那儿 vs 在那儿

Dear fellow community members, I recently encountered the wording 是。是在那儿 to express "yes. it is there" as a response to the question "是在这儿吗?" . I was wondering if this is correct? ...
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Use of 是 and 很 to express “I am not well”

Dear Chinese Language community users, I have the following question. During my learning I encountered the answer 我不是很好 in response to 你好吗?I was puzzled because I thought the correct negative answers ...
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Is “你什么名字? ” correct?

Tatoeba contains this sentence: 你什么名字?. Usually the phrase "What is your name?" is translated as "你叫什么名字?". Is "你什么名字?" correct?
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Can I put 我觉得 at the end of a sentence instead of at the front?

For example: I feel that Chinese is difficult. 我觉得中文很难。 But can I also say: 中文很难我觉得。 ?
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Why is it 搬运工人把电视机从楼上搬了下来 and not 搬运工人从楼上把电视机搬了下来?

An HSK5 exercise is to arrange these words to make a grammatical sentence: 搬运工人 把 从楼上 电视机 搬了下来 HSK5 应试指南,170页 This is my attempt: My answer: 搬运工人从楼上把电视机搬了下来。 ✗ Textbook: 搬运工人把电视机从楼上搬了下来。 ✓ I'...
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在 … 之余 : It looks like there is a grammar point using 之 in that construction (found on archchinese). Who can explain that point?

On the website "archchinese" there are a few expressions using 在 followed by a part of sentence ending with 之余, 之前, 之后, 之际 : 在 … 之余 在 … 之前 在 … 之后 在 … 之际 Anyone can give a few explanations ?...
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When is it okay to omit the localizer (e.g. 上、下、中、里)in the standard 【Subject + 在 + Location + Localizer】sentence pattern?

今年夏天我在北京学习中文。(no localizer, just 在北京) 我刚到美国的时候只能在餐馆打零工。(no localizer, just 在餐馆) 他不在餐馆打工了。(no localizer, just 在餐馆) BUT  我要在CSE上贴我的问题。(在Chinese Stack Exchange上) 他写了一个便条在门上。(在门上) 商店里的服务员对顾客都非常客气。(...
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Adding 了 to 2-syllable Verbs

We know that adding 了 to the verb makes it mean a completed action. Like 我开了门. I opened the door. But if the verb is a two-syllable verb like 关上, 打开,开车 etc, should we add 了 after the 2nd syllable or ...
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The necessity of 的 and 是

Recently, I have been made aware of the following sentences: 这太棒了! 这是太棒了! 这真是太棒了! A native Chinese friend told me that the middle one is incorrect, but that seems very odd to me, because 是 is the “be ...
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What does 大出天下 mean?

It is found in an exhibition of Qin Dynasty held in Xi'an city. The exact words are 秦国35代国君发奋图强,做好了“大出天下”的准备。I have checked the words online for the meaning, but finding no answer.But roughly I think ...
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416 views

Why is 也 used for negation in 你也配?

I haven't seen 也 used on its own for negation yet - is it a popular use? How does it work? Could you give more examples? 🙏
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What is the exact function/purpose of 来了 at the end of sentences like this:

她吃晚饭的时候她朋友打电话来了。 I know it focuses the mind on perspective -- like the action previously stated has come toward the speaker in some way. But what is the exact function? I'd love to start naturally ...
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I do not really understand the word order in these four examples

这个故事发生在上个世纪末. I wonder if 发生 could be placed after 在上个世纪末. Shouldn't time be placed before a verb? 电梯已经可以正常使用了 正常 is an adjective, and adjectives describe nouns? Can't 使用 work as a noun? ...
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What is the underlying grammar pattern behind 同样是 in the textbook 高级汉语口语?

I'm trying to do an exercise from a textbook; it's related to the grammar pattern 同样是……. Unfortunately, the textbook does not give any grammar explanations, and instead gives a single example and ...
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104 views

Question with “ne (呢) to be responded with ”呢"?

I resumed my Chinese studies and got a native speaker to help me. She mentioned that to agree with a suggestion with "ne" (呢), I should respond with it and just changed the tone. I cannot ...
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91 views

What does 头上养马 mean?

I've tried to understand it using context clues from the following but I really can't make sense if it. Is it literal? Some example: 让他头上养马 那怎么还敢在她头上养马? 敢接受莫可可的人,必须得有在头上养马的觉悟。 你是想在劳资头上养马吗!?
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多了 used as “to have”

A carrier pigeon brings a letter. In the sentence ”鸽子的腿上多了一封信”, I do not understand the use of 多了, unless it is used here as a verb meaning "to have", as in "the carrier pigeon had on ...
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What's the purpose of 上 in “王教授给那儿的学生上英国文学课, 他课上得非常好”?

What's the purpose of 上 in the following sentence? 王教授给那儿的学生上英国文学课, 他课上得非常好, 学生都很喜欢她的课 Although I understand 上 can mean "to attend (class)", I don't see how that fits in the above example. ...
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When should directional complements be used? How come there are many times that they aren't used as in “他们要到上海了”?

I understand that Chinese directional complements are used to indicate direction of an action. I understand that when 来 is used after the verb there is some movement towards the speaker and when 去 is ...
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“他演讲得很精彩”, is this sentence grammatically correct?

I want to ask, “他演讲得很精彩”, is this sentence correct or not? Is “演讲” a verb or a noun?
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HSK6 Standard Course: Does the sentence 她的脾气不好,经常不知道为什么突然就生气了 violate the textbook's own grammar rule regarding inconsistent subjects?

The HSK6 textbook has this example of the inappropriate use of a subject. (✗) 他向国家捐献出了一张祖传的字画,具有极高的研究、保存价值。 主语残缺。前一分句的主语是“他”,后一分句的主语是“字画”,暗中更换了主语,致使后一句缺少了主语,应改为“这张字画具有极高的研究、保存价值”。 HSK标准教程6级上,51页。 ...
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Why is 了 placed after the object in “你回英国了吗?” and “我去上海了"?

In the following sentences, why is 了 placed after the object? 马大为:林娜,早!好久不见,你回英国了吗? 林娜:我没有回英国,我去上海了,昨天刚回北京。 I have looked at a Grammar Wiki page on when 了 can go after the object, but none of the ...
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How to parse 轉所依識?

From the Lankavatara Sutra: sūkṣmamabhivijñānaparāvṛttikuśalānāṃ Bodhiruci: 能轉一切微細識 Śikṣānanda: 能以妙慧轉所依識 Suzuki: to cause a revulsion in the depth of the mind fittingly by means of an exquisite ...
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Distinguishing a verb from a substantive (执着)

In the Lankavatara Sutra, it says: 能舍一切我见执着. Red Pine translates: "who eliminate attachment to a self." Suzuki translates: "to keep themselves properly away from ego centered notions.&...
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What does 的 mean in 你们在哪里认识的?

你们在哪里认识的? Nǐmen zài nǎlǐ rènshi de? Where did you meet? What does the character 的 mean in this sentence?
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Counterproductive - 起到反作用 - how to parse?

I learned that in Chinese counterproductive is 起到反作用 or 起反作用 I'm trying to figure out what the characters or words mean in this phrase. I know 作用 means result or effect here, 反 means opposite. How ...
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what is the use of 前面 in this sentence

That depends on what you're using the computers for. - 那得看你坐在电脑前面做什么 Why do we use 前面 in this sentence. I thought 前面 was infront, why is there a location in a sentence involving use of something? ...
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How the meaning is derived for 得意忘形?

How the meaning is derived for 得意忘形? 得意忘形 déyìwàngxíng grow dizzy with success; be carried away by one's success so pleased as to lose one's sense of measure
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For 得过且过, how the meaning was derived?

得过且过 déguòqiěguò without high ambitions, but getting by I noted down the below meanings from context as below: 得 de obtain, get, gain, acquire 且 moreover 过 to go over The components means over.. where ...
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之 grammar and usage

Reading through the text as below. The zhi below is used to modify 路 of 人生? (way/road/path of life)? what exactly 之 in the two places? “每个人都有自己的人生之路,只有把握时间,勤于奋斗,不畏艰辛的人才能走好这条路。要走好人生之路,首先要懂得珍惜时间。” ...
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Why is 很多 sometimes before the noun and sometimes after the noun?

I have sometimes seen 很多 after the noun and sometimes before and I don't understand what the reason is for it being in different places. For instance, here it follows the noun, "活动": ...
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130 views

why 没出息 becomes useless?

I am going through the word: 没出息. How not ending/ ceasing out become useless? 没 méi not have 出 chū out 息 xi cease Any background or details how it become useless? was it referring to not stopping war/...
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103 views

What does 出人头地 mean?

The idiom 出人头地 chūréntóudì means “stand out among one’s fellows”. How to mix the above four words and arrive at the above meaning?
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How are 连A带B and A着B different

他连说带笑 / 他笑着说 他连唱带跳 / 他唱着跳 Do these sentences have the same meaning? and if I change the position between the two verbs, do they still have the same meaning? 他连说带笑 / 他连笑带说 他笑着说 / 他说着笑
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What is the function of 得 in words like 覺得、記得、顯得、值得、懂得、免得、認得…?

First of all, does 得 have the same meaning in those examples? I'm familiar with 得 in other senses like 得到 and 聽得見, but those meanings seem distant. Is it more related to usage like “我唱得不好”? The main ...
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What is the grammatical difference between 神河and 河神 [duplicate]

神河 and 河神 What is the grammatical difference between the two and when to use? 河神 God River 神河 Is it also God river or is it divine river? Example: "神河"文明,动画《超神学院》和《雄兵连》系列中的文明。 ...
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128 views

How can I answer the question “你什么时候开始学中文的?”

How can I answer the question "你什么时候开始学中文的?" I cannot answer the "什么时候" questions. Can anybody help me please?
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Who cook the soup? Confusion

[我煮汤 = I cook soup, this has confused who cook the soup..can you tell me grammer points how not to confuse with subject and object in this scenario:] I am translating this sentence, 他第一次为我煮汤,...
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102 views

呢 meaning “where”, is it possible?

Is it true that 呢 can mean "WHERE"??? If so, then what is the difference between 呢 and 哪儿??? I've seen those sentences and they made me wonder: "我的杯子在哪儿? - where is my cup?" and &...
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124 views

Wh-questions in Chinese

As far as I could learn through research, wh-questions in Chinese are formed by keeping the wh phrases "in situ", I mean, the wh part is not fronted (like it is in English, for instance). ...

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