Questions tagged [particles]

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

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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: ...
MrVocabulary's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
740 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: ...
coobit's user avatar
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2 votes
5 answers
395 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 ...
Ahmed Mamdouh's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
coobit's user avatar
  • 2,073
6 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
amorimluc's user avatar
  • 749
4 votes
6 answers
658 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 ...
Puco4's user avatar
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16 votes
3 answers
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 ...
HAL's user avatar
  • 1,084
11 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
Olle Linge's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Puco4's user avatar
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6 votes
7 answers
898 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 ...
The_Sympathizer's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
326 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 ...
Gijs Schröder's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
348 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 ...
musicnothing's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
144 views

很 as a filler word?

Beginner's question here. If I understood correctly, all descriptive words in Mandarin can work both as an adjective and a "descriptive verb", which would be equivalent to the construction &...
swrutra's user avatar
  • 169
5 votes
2 answers
258 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 ...
loredana castagna's user avatar
5 votes
7 answers
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。 ...
Blaszard's user avatar
  • 5,434
4 votes
1 answer
458 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 ...
oscarah's user avatar
  • 109
4 votes
1 answer
232 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 ...
Puco4's user avatar
  • 2,142
4 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
MickG's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
282 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 ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
  • 16.4k
3 votes
1 answer
218 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 ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 766
3 votes
3 answers
402 views

了 vs 是...的 as "factuality markers"

I'm a proponent of 了 as 'factuality marker' (that is it has nothing to do with 'perfectivity or completness of action'. See post: How exactly do time and "tense" work in Mandarin REALLY? for ...
coobit's user avatar
  • 2,073
3 votes
5 answers
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 ...
O Connor's user avatar
  • 629
3 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Blaszard's user avatar
  • 5,434
2 votes
2 answers
572 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 ...
taciteloquence's user avatar
2 votes
6 answers
273 views

Why not put 了 after 看到 and how to understand that the action is completed in 我在报纸上看到一篇关于她的新闻?

听说,我在报纸上看到一篇关于她的新闻,他现在已经是一个有名的作家了。 When should I not use 了? It's especially strange because the 了 at the end means a change in state, right? But I have seen explanations that it also refers to some ...
Tatiana's user avatar
  • 405
2 votes
2 answers
242 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 ...
coobit's user avatar
  • 2,073
1 vote
6 answers
222 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 ...
Wojciech's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
148 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:...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
  • 16.4k
1 vote
5 answers
292 views

Change- and unchange-of-state 了: During which time in a person's life is it correct for them to say 我三岁了 (I am 3 years old)?

我三岁了 I [am] three years of age This breaks apart as follows: 我 (wǒ) = me 三 (sān) = three 岁 = years of age 了: I understand 了 here is the change-of-state 了: prior to turning 3, I was not 3, so that ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
  • 16.4k
1 vote
1 answer
48 views

Is each 的 in 有的 and 好的,到时候会有人接机的 a modal particle?

In next extract from a text while reserving a hotel room there are some final 的. 1: 请问你们旅馆有没有免费接送服务? 2: 有的。请问你们星期三几天到? 1: 早上六点40分到达海南国际机场。 2: 好的,到时候会有人接机的。先星期三见。 In the last ..example ...
ANTXON's user avatar
  • 667
1 vote
5 answers
312 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 ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
  • 16.4k