Questions tagged [grammar]

Questions about the grammatical rules governing Chinese structure and composition.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
8
votes
3answers
830 views

Is 不 A 不 B a grammatical structure like 又 A 又 B?

I ran across 不知不觉 the other day. If I use MDBG to look up c:不*不* I see there are many idioms with that format. Can I use it with any verbs (?) or is it only part of fixed expressions?
7
votes
3answers
681 views

Why is 得 in 多得做不完?

My understanding of 的-地-得 is the same as what's here: 的-地-得, when do you use which? -- which is summarised as: “地” usually appears before the verb while “得” appears after the verb. However, I found a ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

A Golden Rule for When Chinese Repeat a Word Twice X Twice? 热热闹闹

I have come across several times reading Chinese that they repeat words twice and then again. For an Instance what is the difference between 热闹 and 热热闹闹 ? what is the grammar meaning when words get ...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

What is the semantic relationship between the verbal phrases of a serial verb construction?

The general syntax of a serial verb construction sentence type is: S VP1 VP2 VP3... wherein S stands for Subject and VP for verbal phrase. As far as I know, the sequence of verbal phrases express an ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Talking future tense: 将,要,将要, 会, 将会

I have been looking at various explanations and definitions all over the Internet, but they seem mutually exclusive and quite chaotic. One explanation I got is that 要 generally means “going to”, or ...
1
vote
1answer
909 views

When should I use “很” before an adjective? [duplicate]

Very early in the process of learning Chinese as a foreign language we are taught: 我是好 is incorrect because 是 is only used before nouns and 好 is not a noun. 我很好 is the correct way to say the former 很 ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does the construction of 要是…的话 mean “if”?

I know other words like 如果 also mean "if", but why would 要是...的话 mean "if"? An example sentence: 要是你喜欢汉语(的话),你该听中国的音乐。 If you like Chinese, you should listen to Chinese music.
9
votes
7answers
1k views

Is it correct to say “在手机”?

Would it be correct to use the phrase "在手机”/“在手机上” etc. to express that I am doing something on my phone? For example, could I say 我听音乐在我的手机上。 Or can 在 only be used for my actual physical location?...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How to correctly use “多” to say “more than”?

I know a similar question has already been answered but I still have a lot of doubts. To my understanding if a number is ≤9, you need to put "多" after the measure word (or after the name if it doesn'...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

When to use “们”

In Chinese, using "们" after a noun is, in some sense, equivalent to adding an "s" after an English word. Yet I find the rules in Chinese of using 们 to be very puzzling; I am a native speaker yet I ...
9
votes
3answers
953 views

Indefinite article vs numeral: use of “一” (yī)

Sometimes, when the English has an indefinite article ("a", "an"), the Chinese translation has a numeral ("一", yī). So, for example, "I want to buy a ticket" sounds like "I want to buy one ticket". ...
8
votes
4answers
480 views

That mystical 就 again

Here is a sentence: 厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳 Below are my translation variants. Bold letters should be a 'jiu' english analog here. The mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace scared Harry the most. ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is 得 in 你还记得我吗?

I have read the sentence: 你还记得我吗? But I can’t understand the meaning of 得, here. I don’t think it belongs to the rules explained here
7
votes
2answers
287 views

Doesn't 被 mean “by”?

I've always thought of 被 as "by." I understand the following phrase means "deducted 10 points" but I don't understand the structure. 整整要被扣十分
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How to say “I prefer x over y”?

For example: I prefer eating fried rice over fried chicken. How to say that in chinese? How about this? 我较喜欢吃炒饭比炸鸡 我炒饭比炸鸡较喜欢吃
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Complement of result:完 or 好

I‘m currently learning how to form the complement of result and what are the translations of some common compound verbs. My book makes this examples: • 看完=to finish watching • 写好=to finish writing • ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is it SOV (and not SVO) in 我可以跟她约会?

Chinese is supposed to be (Subject-Verb-Object) SVO right? (as I learnt, of course) then why in this sentence 我可以跟她约会 does 约会 mean "to date"? It's a verb I presume, why is it (Subject-Object-Verb)...
5
votes
6answers
437 views

Can I say 没 to negate future events?

I saw this sentence in a book: 明年这个时候你还没有毕业呢 I thought the sentence was wrong at first, but it says the sentence is grammatically correct and that there's nothing wrong with it. As you know, most ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

都 vs 也 in “连。。。都/也” structure

I would like to learn when to use 都 and when to use 也 in the 连。。。都/也 structure. My current understanding is that 都 is often used for positive sentences whereas 也 is generally used for negative ...
4
votes
1answer
206 views

Please explain 要不了多久

Please help me explain how 要不了多久 is translated into "It won't be long" Literal meaning would be "Could not demand how long?" I am not sure how 多久 works in this context.
4
votes
4answers
512 views

Is 个 acceptable for all nouns?

My Chinese teacher says she doesn't care. But for future reference, is 个 acceptable as a measure word for all nouns?
4
votes
1answer
271 views

Can I use a verb+的 construction to imply an item/noun?

I'm often don't which noun to use, but I can think of a verb to describe it. I know that 吃的 (to eat + 的) means food, so I was wondering if I can use it with other verbs as well, like 洗澡的 (to bathe + ...
4
votes
4answers
494 views

Weird usage of 不

In this sentence the 不 in the last few phrases seems to mean the opposite. For example 放不下 seems to mean the same as 放下 in this context. Is the Bu just decorative or is there a special structure here? ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

一…就… vs. 了…就

I have been revising HSK 3 grammar, and came across these two alternatives: 我妈妈一起床,就做早饭 我妈妈起了床,就做早饭 On the basis that my book says that they both mean 'My mum makes breakfast as soon as she wakes ...
3
votes
5answers
976 views

What is the meaning of 的 in “有一天你会明白的”?

From Why is 的 used in 你是哪一天出生的 and 我们什么时候开始的 and 前天你什么时候来的这里?, I understand 的 at the end of a sentence describes an event that happened in the past. However, I am not sure whether I understand the ...
3
votes
3answers
119 views

Adverbs of degree with reduplicated adjective phrases?

Why is it not necessary to use 很 (or other adverbs of degree) to link nouns and adjectives when you reduplicate the adjective, and instead use a 的 after the adjective? For example: 你的女朋友高高的。 她们漂漂亮亮的。
3
votes
1answer
392 views

Difference between 只,之, and 支?

I'm a native speaker but I don't know the first thing about writing Chinese, on Rosetta stone we were shown 一支笔 and 一只狗, whats the difference and where and when do you use each one?
3
votes
4answers
243 views

Is there a dictionary that includes word collocations (词语搭配)?

Is there a decent dictionary that includes word collocations (词语搭配), or words that the searched word cannot be used with? I use Pleco, but one of my largest complaints with it is that there's really ...
3
votes
3answers
304 views

How is【的、得、地】pronunced when talking about the difference in usages of 的·地·得?

When discussing the differences between 的·地·得 usage I've only know the following pronunciation: 的、地、得 die、di、de I can't find a lot to back this up. But, I did find one Tianya forum thread that ...
3
votes
3answers
214 views

Example cases with 了

I'm learning some grammar and there are many rules with 了, to express action completion or change of state. My book examples seem strange for some Chinese people, so I made those small following ...
2
votes
5answers
324 views

What does “了” do in the sentence “呆在家里, 这样你就能接电话了”?

In the sentence "呆在家里, 这样你就能接电话了", I can't see why "了" is used in this sentence. I study Chinese these days, and I think that I can just say "这样你就能接电话", but in this ...
2
votes
2answers
238 views

Using SHI4 for noun and adjective, exceptional rules

I have noted the confusion for using "SHI4" and too struggle to grasp the difference. Common rule for learners is that Noun + Adjective is never linked with "SHI4". As in "He is tall" etc. However, ...
2
votes
2answers
247 views

Mandarin: different ways of asking if someone prefers A to B

This question is similar but doesn't address this question of comparing different ways to express the notion of preferring A to B. Are all these ways valid grammar for asking if someone prefers A to ...
2
votes
3answers
898 views

Difference between 能 and verb + 得了(de liao3)

I remember once being told that there are differences in usage and meaning between 能 and verb + 得了. 他能来。 他不能来。 他来得了。 他来不了。 EDIT: Maybe my examples above weren't that good. Here are some new ones: ...
2
votes
2answers
142 views

Placement of 了: difference between 吃飯了 and 吃了飯

Do 我吃早飯了 and 我吃了早飯 mean the same thing (I have eaten breakfast), slightly different things? Or is one of them wrong? Which is better? (For context, the second option was marked incorrect by an app ...
2
votes
3answers
158 views

What would the meaning of '之前知道' be? And '之前知道了'?

If someone said '我之前知道【proposition】' would this imply that they knew it before, but no longer do? How about '我之前知道了【proposition】'? What about when the time is specific such as ‘昨天我知道【proposition】’? ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Macau Cantonese, any differences from HK?

Does anyone know how Cantonese from Macau differ from HK if there are any? Any slangs or terms used in Macanese Cantonese that is rarely used or heard in HK? Maybe some sinicised portuguese words? ...
8
votes
2answers
547 views

Why can't 去 or 回来 be used with 在 or 正在 to become progressive

So first off, I feel I should specify I am a beginner at Chinese. In my Chinese class, we were asked to write down a progressive question, using the 在...(呢) format. My question was, 你们没在去吗? which I ...
7
votes
3answers
545 views

How formal is 如何 in the context of 最近如何?

I was told by friend who is a native mainland speaker that "最近如何", or anything using "如何" to inquire about the state of a person, is a very ancient/formal way of speaking. This was quite a shock to me&...
7
votes
3answers
245 views

Is the use of a conjunction between the second-last and last word in a list (A、B和C) a natural Chinese construction?

Is the use of a conjunction between the second-last and last word in a list a natural Chinese construction? Sometimes the construction feels like an Anglicism: I do not hear it in daily speech that ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Difference between 正在 and 在?

I am a beginner in Chinese (Mandarin), and I am following a phone app to learn. However I cannot understand what is the difference between 正在 and 在 ? For example: 你正在干什么? and 你在干什么? The app ...
6
votes
3answers
132 views

How to spot (if possible) if a final 了 is part of an omitted 要 in a 要…了 construction or simply a past information?

There are some examples of sentence 了 that indicate future action which (seems to) have a 要 omitted: 我(要)走了,拜! - I am going to leave, bye! I know context usually helps with the issue of time and, ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between 本来 and 原来?

I was learning in a Mandarin class and I was kind of stumped on the use of "本来" and "原来" when filling in the blanks in a sentence. Here's my attempt to these questions (taken from ...
6
votes
1answer
369 views

what are common contractions in classical chinese?

I am searching for contractions in classical Chinese. for example: 而已 ---contracts-to---> 耳. Liebe Grüsse an die süsse Teresa!
6
votes
5answers
349 views

Why can't 了 be used to indicate a completed action that has yet to come?

了 is a particle that indicates the perfective--the verb has no interior composition. This is different from the perfect aspect in English which focuses on the result of an action in the past that may ...
6
votes
5answers
653 views

Two “question words” in one sentence

One of my teachers asked us the example question: 你有什么安排吗? I asked her why there would be two "question words", 什么 and 吗, when I believed you should only have one question word (in this case, 吗 ...
5
votes
2answers
251 views

Can I omit 之 in 之后/之前/之内?

In Mandarin, if you want to express "three years after" or "after three years", 之 should be used such that it is 两年之后. This is also true of 之前 and 之内 (e.g. 第二次世界大战之前。, 我三天之内一定做得完。). However, now I ...
5
votes
3answers
360 views

Grammar for counting in Chinese (for non-native speakers of Chinese)

I need to write a program that can insert the count of objects into a text - without knowing virtually anything about the Chinese language. While for English this needs to distinguish between singular ...
5
votes
2answers
172 views

他很慢地走: why there is 地 if the adjective is monosyllabic?

I can't use 地 after the adjective if the adjective is monosyllabic (so 他慢地走 isn't acceptable). Then why in this sentence is there 地 after a monosyllabic adjective? 他很慢地走 Is it because I can use 地 ...
5
votes
2answers
200 views

我最近没打过羽毛球 “I haven't played badminton recently”: is the 过 necessary?

我最近没打过羽毛球 Just wondering if the 过 in this sentence can be omitted? Or does the sentence have a slightly different meaning if I remove it?