Questions tagged [particles]

A tag for discussing the nuances of particles. Including 的, 了, 吗, 过, 吧, 个, 着, etc.

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5
votes
3answers
536 views

Why does 他吃了饭 sound incomplete?

As I study usage of different aspects markers in Chinese, I started to realize that my problems with those markers come from simple fact that: "I don't see any use in them." Reason for this is: ...
9
votes
3answers
547 views

Why there is no 的 after 你 in 你国家的医院好吗?

I got a translation of “Are hospitals in your country good?” from a native speaker of Mandarin as: 你国家的医院好吗? Why there is no 的 after 你? It is after a pronoun for instance in such a sentence: ...
6
votes
2answers
688 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
785 views

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 have the following sentences: 你是哪一天出生的? (sentence 1) I'm trying to understand why 的 is being used in this sentence. I know it is used to express possession, but I'm not sure that's the case is ...
4
votes
6answers
570 views

What is 了 doing in 这个表快了+time?

I am confused about the 了 in the sentence: 这个表快了五分钟。 Zhèɡe biǎo kuàile wǔ fēnzhōnɡ. This watch is running five minutes faster. Clearly there is no change of state. Is it for completion? I don't ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

When to use “他的太太” and when “他太太”?

I've read the two different sentences, of which one uses "他的太太" and the other uses "他太太". How can I tell the difference between the two? For example, in the following sentence: 现在他想他的太太。 现在他想他太太。 ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Do 之 and 的 come from the same word?

In modern Chinese 之 is thought of as the literary genitive particle and 的 as the colloquial. In most reconstructions of Old Chinese 之 looks very similar to the way 的 is pronounced now. For example in ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the difference between 了, 著 and 到 when used as verb complements?

I need help with sorting out the difference between 了, 著 and 到 when used as verb complements. I have learnt most of my Chinese in Taiwan and in my experience, Taiwanese people don't use 著 as a verb ...
7
votes
3answers
940 views

What is 吗 doing in 你有什么事吗?

In a Chinese lesson, I came across these sentences: 你有什么事吗? Nǐ yǒu shénme shì mɑ? 你有什么事? Nǐ yǒu shénme shì? And both were translated as: What's the matter? I don't understand 1. Without 吗, I ...
6
votes
7answers
678 views

How exactly do time and “tense” work in Mandarin REALLY?

I am trying to figure out what the most proper way for one to say something simple like if someone asked, "How do you know that?" and then I say, "I read it in a book". Now what I'm wondering about is ...
3
votes
3answers
286 views

What is the grammatical reason for 的 at the end of short responses such as 好的, 是的 and 會的?

I've always been curious about this: What is the grammatical reason for 的 at the end of these short responses? Q: 這樣好嗎? A: 好的。 Q: 你是美國人嗎? A: 是的。 Q: 你會彈鋼琴嗎? A: 會的。 Can someone shed some light on it ...
4
votes
3answers
191 views

When 了 has the same verb before and after it, is it reduplication combined with 了1?

Some sentences that I have seen contain the pattern "verb + 了 + verb". An example of this is: "他們碰了碰杯子。" [1] Since in all examples that I have seen the verb before and after 了 is the same, I ...
7
votes
3answers
712 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

啊,诶,喔,哦:compare and contrast

The characters in the title are, FWIK, all exclamatory sentence-final particles, though I'm not too sure about ei. So I was wondering what the difference was between the three. Is there a difference ...
3
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
334 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
163 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
125 views

了 with two verbs: What's the difference between 我去厨房找了饮料喝 and 我去了厨房找饮料喝?

In one of my stories I wrote: 我去了厨房找饮料喝。 A student at Nankai changed this to: 我去厨房找了饮料喝。 Question: What's the difference between 我去厨房找了饮料喝 and 我去了厨房找饮料喝? I just want to say something like "I ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

How does someone train using 了 correctly?

I'm really bad at 了ing: Nankai students say I'm bad at this. My teacher says I'm bad at this. Even Tang Ho mentioned my abuse of 了. Moreover, I'm sure I'm not the only one who is really bad at 了ing:...
5
votes
2answers
176 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
324 views

What is the meaning of “一把把” on "他更是一把把她的书包给枪了过去“?

I think that I understand the overall meaning of the sentence: He forcibly stole her bag and ran away. But I'm not sure about that part (一把把), neither its meaning nor its grammatical function (I'm not ...
4
votes
2answers
408 views

How to use 了 as a modal particle?

I'm having a hard time understanding when to use 了 as a modal particle (instead of as an aspect particle). For example, what is the difference between the following two sentences. 现在几点? 现在几点了? ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Meaning of 的 and 之 when both are used in the same sentence

I’m reading a text in which 的 and 之 are sometimes used in the same sentence, in seemingly equivalent or exchangeable function and position. But I’m sure the author had good reasons to choose the ...
3
votes
3answers
205 views

Are too many 的s for multiple adjectives a problem?

This is from my talk slides (which I'm revising): 每一个PLR(r,s,n;m)是具有m个顶点的n着色的Kr□Ks的诱导子图,例如:... (I have some students here helping me debug this.) I'm concerned about the three 的s being excessive ...
3
votes
2answers
203 views

Why does 了 change in 突然父亲嘘(了)一口气?

The sentence is (1) 突然父亲嘘了一口气 and (2) 突然父亲嘘一口气 I would have understand them if it's not the for the "突然" part. My take: (1) "Suddenly father exhaled (once)" (like "ooooh" and then maybe ...
3
votes
1answer
654 views

What is the difference between 穿 and 穿上?

I found the following sentence: 我正在穿上毛衣。 In this sentence, can you rephrase it as the following?: 我正在穿毛衣。 If you can rephrase it as such, is there any difference between 穿 and 穿上? I also ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Can the 的 particle ever function without “nominalizing”?

From my answer in What is the meaning of 的 in “有一天你会明白的”? and according to Charles N. Li, Sandra A. Thompson - Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar, I believed the function of the particle ...
2
votes
3answers
507 views

When to omit the modifying 的?

他给她买来了一个戒指。 He gives her a ring that he bought. I assume that this sentence should need 的 before "a ring that he bought" to be modifying, as below. 他给她买来了'的'一个戒指。 So I think 的 is somewhat omitted. ...
1
vote
6answers
110 views

Why is 的 at the end of phrases such as 那是他们的 and 钱他们的?

I'm confused with the possessive particle 的, it was explained to me as 's in English and "of" something. Like, Y的X becomes X of Y. 那是他们的。 他们的是那。 Here are two sentences that from that logic ...