Questions tagged [grammar]

Questions about the grammatical rules governing Chinese structure and composition.

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Distinguishing 忙 and 盲 from spoken Chinese

All words in Chinese are one syllable words or compound words of one syllables. This leads to an incredible amount of homonyms in Chinese. Take ''yi'' for example. There seem to be hundreds of ...
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What's the difference between classifiers and measure words?

The terms classifier and measure word are often used interchangeably, with the latter being (reportedly) more common in language courses. They both translate to 量词 (literally "measure word") ...
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"时间过的好快" Is this sentence correct?

I found this sentence in a very short history ; 时间过的好快!, but i think maybe the person that wrote the sentence made a mistake and change 得 for 的. Cause in this case 得 should be used as a "verb ...
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2answers
225 views

What is the shi and the de in a shi..de construction?

A sentence like 我喜欢的人是小明。What is the role of the shi and de in this sentence? Would the shi be considered a copula? And is the de a possessive marker?
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Arrange 叶子 / 落下来 / 一片片 / 从 / 树上 to form a sentence: is 一片片叶子从树上落下来 the only correct option?

This is 排列成句 ("form a sentence") exercise from a Chinese textbook about measure words: 量词 训练大全, p.26. I infer from the Internet (e.g. here) that a (the (?)) correct answer is: 一片片叶子从树上落下来。...
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How do you express: Hello Jack and Jill

I want to start an email with: Hello Jack and Jill I'm thinking something like: Jack , Jill 你们好。 I feel there is something wrong with: Jack 和 Jill 你们好。 What is the best way to express this?
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What exactly are the meaning/function of 的 and 了?

In my experience, not 1 single 对外汉语教师 can explain these two words, the most popular-used, to the students, unfortunately, including myself. Can anyone explains is this sequence: 1. basic/fundamental ...
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开始和起来有什么不同?to start + verb

When used with another verb 开始 and 起来 both convey the meaning: to start doing something. Are they synonymous in that specific usage?
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Difference between 不 and 没(有) in the past tense

As far as I know, the negative form of a verb is formed by adding 不 to the verb. 没 is used only with the verb 有. On the other hand, there is no present/past modification in Chinese. Hence, the ...
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Is it possible to topicalize quantifiers in Chinese?

So I know you can topicalize proper names, you could say something like 小明,我喜欢他。or something like 书,我买了。 I want to ask if you can do the same for quantifiers - 很少人,很多人,每个人,没有人 for example.
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Subject + predicate as topic and prepositional phrases

I found this sentence while doing some listening practice: 长时间看电脑,对眼睛不好。 At first, I didn't understand why 长时间, expressing duration, is at the beginning of the sentence acting as topic 长时间看电脑, since I ...
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The measure word for 本子: 一个本子 or 一本本子

The word 本子 means "notebook". So by analogy, it is deduced that the measure word for it, must be 本 just like 一本书 But in Chinese learning materials, I see this word coming with the measure ...
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Using a verb as a noun in Chinese

In the sentence, 他学习很好。 What is the grammatical category of the word 学习? Is it used as a verb or as a noun? And what's the difference of the sentence above with the following: 他学习的很好。
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what this mean - 丑八怪 , can any 1 teach the exact latest chinese words with meaning

I have a gaming group in which this term "丑八怪"is being used a lot along with the 眼皮底下, anyway all the letters look similar.
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How to distinguish between verb forms in Chinese?

I am working on translating English to a constructed language, and am looking at Chinese for inspiration. I am currently on the sentence: He wanted to rest. In English, this is very different from: ...
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Can you use 或者 to express alternatives between more options than two?

In all the examples I have come across, 或者 is always used to express the conjunction or between two options in statements. My question is if you can still use it between three or more options. That is,...
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Why 是 is in 所以山门中是冷请了些 ?

In 所以山门中是冷清了些。 why 是 is used between a noun as 山门中 and an adjective as 冷清 ? If for that purpose (connect nouns an adjectives) we have 很 .
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Does this 希望能帮得你 have the same meaning as 希望有帮上你的忙?

Within the context of this: 谢谢你,你真是帮了大忙。 This line was from a native speaker. 不客气, 希望有帮上你的忙。 This line was also from a native speaker. 不客气, 希望能帮得你。 This is the one I formed.
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Exact meaning of 都 in 刚刚你的担忧,我都听见了?

In 李芳,实不相瞒,刚刚你的担忧,我都听见了。 What is the real meaning of 都? Cause i think it can have the 都...了 pattern wich means "already" so the sentence can be translated as :李芳 ,to be honest i already ...
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1answer
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How to more carefully explain how coverbs work in Chinese?

I learned that Chinese uses coverbs instead of prepositions. But it's not 100% clear to me what the difference is between coverbs and prepositions, as the Wiki page and several sites are hand-wavy, ...
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55 views

Purpose of 者 in (noun)者,所(verb)也 structure

I've recently learned that 者 is used to nominalize an action, whereas I used to think its purpose was just to assign an action to an actor and reference the actor. But I'm going through Fuller's book, ...
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What does 中国爱丽一枚 mean?

I don't really speak chinese (except very, very basic stuff), but I try to understand this: 中国爱丽一枚~glad to see you! A chinese person wrote this in a profile in a pen pal app. I'm really confused, ...
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What's the meaning of 伐 in this sentence?

The sentence is : 好徒儿你就饶了为师伐。 The general meaning, is as i understand in a very literally translation “good apprentice ,you just forgive the teacher / 伐 ” The original translation (the one that comes ...
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1answer
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Using 二 before measure words instead of 两

We often read in grammar books, that before measure words one should not use 二. Instead, we should say 两 Hence, 二本书 would be incorrect. One should say 两本书. But I have come across two cases in genuine ...
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How do you know when 很 means 'very' or connects nouns and adjectives?

So, a textbook i purchased has 很 used in the sentence “我很好” but states it only means "I'm good", yet, in the vocabulary section, it expresses that 很 means "very". How are you able ...
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Grammar on 给 Gei x Ji 给

Does anybody know what is the rule for using 给 (gěi) or 给 (jǐ)? I’m a HSK level 4 student and only now I’ve met “jǐ” in a sentence: 有的时候这只猴子给自己和其他人找了很多的大麻烦! At first I read 给 as “gěi” but both the ...
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who is the author of 行狀 in the phrase " 其祖考所撰行狀"

Here is a sentence I have a problem with: 再昨招宋炳夏商量,又更審其祖考所撰行狀... I just want to make sure whether the obituary (行狀) was composed about the deceased grandfather (祖考) or by the grandfather of 宋炳夏? (EDIT)...
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Position of 也 in a sentence

In 你应该也吃不下番茄了吧? Why 也 isn't right after 你?Cause generally 也 is the closest adverb to the subject like in 你们也都不 where the adverbs 都 and 不 are after 也 . And as an adverb it would be place before 应该 ...
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1answer
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When is it okay to say 在……的时候 instead of 当……的时候?

I always see 在……时/的时候,but whenever I try to use this phrase, natives tell me to say 当……时/的时候 instead. Examples of 在……时/的时候 from natives: 如果我在讲话的时候用到这些词的话…… 在阅读某些文章的时候…… 我觉得在我给你发了修改的文章时说会更好一点。 在上班时…… ...
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Correct understanding and use and of the words in 全都是用爷爷的番茄,生菜和黄瓜做的。

In the sentence 全都是用爷爷的番茄,生菜和黄瓜做的。 全都是 is a adverb to say without exception. 用 is a preposition to say "with" 爷爷的番茄 , is the object 生菜和黄瓜做 ,is the other part of the object and 做的 , is the ...
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Difference between 事儿 vs 东西

What is the difference in meaning between 事儿 and 东西. As far as I understand both mean "thing". All help is appreciated.
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Why is 有 used in 我最喜欢的科目有艺术,中文和化学?

I was studing how to say school subjects in mandarin and I saw this sentence: 我最喜欢的科目有艺术,中文和化学 (My favorite school subjects are art, chinese and chemistry) Why the use of 有 in this sentecence? Could I ...
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What does 所 in 十目所視 do?

What does 所 in 十目所視 do? Is it some kind of grammar here? This is the definition of 所 from my dicitonary: 所 所 suǒ actually; place; classifier for houses, small buildings, institutions etc; that ...
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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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Please help me change these sentences using 不止

I'm not sure what I changed are correct or not. 我看陳太太那麼老,恐怕不會只有70歲吧? -> 我看陳太太那麼老,恐怕不止70歲吧? 愛闖紅燈的,並不是只有騎摩托車的,開車的也一樣。 -> 愛闖紅燈的,不止是騎摩托車的,開車的也一樣。 王小姐家不但她能幹,她兩個姐姐也是女強人。 -> 王小姐家不止她能幹,...
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1answer
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Confusing structure in 这一个是要给李芳的

这一个是要给李芳的。 I understand by the context that it is referring to a gift(礼物)for 李芳. And the sentence is translated like "this one is for 李芳." But why is 要 in the sentence? Cause if it has the ...
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Are these sentences interchangeable?

一。这个布丁很美味真的。 二。这个布丁真的很美味。 Are they both correct and intechangeable?
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1answer
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How many verbs can be used with 到?

I see 到 used with some verbs describing a result, I am wondering if there are a specific number of verbs in the structure V+(de)dao到. Is there an exhaustive number of verbs that can be used with V+ 到?...
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Which question is grammatical? 只有丽丽买了什么?or 什么只有丽丽买了?

I am trying to understand questions that require you to move the question word to the front of the sentence. So I learnt that 只有丽丽买了什么书?is wrong, I have to say 什么书只有丽丽买了? What I would like to ask is ...
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6answers
620 views

Strange case of 了: 他杀了一个人 vs 他杀了那个人

There are two sentences: 他杀了一个人,可是没有杀死。 他杀了那个人,可是没有杀死。 Some people say that sentence 1 is ungrammatical (better say -- illogical), while sentence 2 is OK. Why is it so? Why 那 makes such a big ...
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Is this a proper way of using 虽然?

因为锻炼也是我的兴趣,我可以用你的录像学汉语。虽然我还在汉语水平考试级3 Or does 虽然 always need a 但是/可是?And is the structure of the sentence alright, or does it sound too novice?
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Word order in a question such as "who was the person who bought the cup"?

I passed HSK 1 as a self-learner (using the official coursebook) but there were a few grammar points I could not find in the book (and did not know). I do not know the official name of this grammar so ...
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159 views

Help understanding this sentence “你不会不明白的”

I saw this sentence when I was watching a TV play. I don't understand what it means. The heroine said this to the hero. My brother thinks this sentence means "you don't understand". However, ...
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Other uses of 中

What’s the difference between 办法 and 办法中? I found the latter in: 他告诉我三百六十种办法中的每一种。 But I cannot make sense of why 中 is in this sentence. I read a few answers related to 中 here but I’m not quite sure “...
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"在市中心的这家意大利饭馆很好。" or " 这家在市中心的意大利饭馆很好。" Regarding word order and grammar, are both these sentences correct?

"在市中心的这家意大利饭馆很好。" or " 这家在市中心的意大利饭馆很好。" Regarding word order and grammar, are both these sentences correct? The first sentence comes from some learning material, so I assume it's ...
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901 views

To 了 or not to 了

I'm Chinese learner and as everybody else I'm puzzled by the verbal aspect 了. My research into the subject gave such results: 了 belongs to a class of perfective aspect markers just as many other ...
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52 views

"她从他的邻居那里借了一把铁锹,现在他正在用这把铁锹挖泥土。" What does "那里" contribute to this sentence's meaning?

"她从他的邻居那里借了一把铁锹,现在他正在用这把铁锹挖泥土。" In the first half of this sentence, the speaker uses "那里." I'd love to know how it affects the meaning of the sentence. For example, if we remove 那里,...
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261 views

常用于词典里的用于分项列举的各项之间的分号有什么意义?它的意义是“和”、“或”还是“和或者或”?

《中华人民共和国国家标准》的“标点符号用法”一章(链接:http://www.moe.gov.cn/ewebeditor/uploadfile/2015/01/13/20150113091548267.pdf )讲述着汉语中的各种标点符号是怎么正确地使用的。其中,有分号(“;”),八页里就开始解释分号的几种用法。第九页靠上面的地方有这段关于该符号的第三种用法的文字: 4.6.3.3 ...
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80 views

Position of 不 in a sentence

Is there a difference between these two sentences? 他不在学院学习。 他在学院不学习。
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61 views

Is it grammatical to place the antecedent after the consequent in a conditional sentence?

Is it grammatical to place the antecedent after the consequent in a conditional sentence? Antecedent before consequent 如果你不吃饭的话,你就很饿。 Rúguǒ nǐ bù chīfàn dehuà, nǐ jiù hěn è. If you don't eat, you'll ...

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