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Questions tagged [sentence-structure]

Questions concerning the types of words and phrases which are grouped and ordered meaningfully to express a statement, question, or another type of sentence

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21
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference in use between 以及, 和 and 与?

I have a book with the following lesson titles: 中文以及中国 聚会和饮食 交通与环境 Why are these terms connected with 以及 / 和 / 与, why not always use 和 for example? Are there any rules for proper use of these ...
13
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3answers
5k views

Using 的 at the end of a sentence

I'm looking for confirmation of the way I'm parsing a sentence with 的 at the end, and I'd appreciate some background or other examples of this usage. I found this sentence on tatoeba.org: 我一定會去看他的。...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the difference in use between 完 and 了?

If I understood correctly, both 完 and 了 can be used to indicate a completed action, so what is the difference in use? How do we properly use 完 in a sentence? Which contexts would be valid?
10
votes
2answers
330 views

Why is it possible to replace 都 with 也 in 什么都没有?

I know 也 only as "also", but I see it now and then used in ways difficult to understand, especially in some negative statements. Why is this so? Does 也 also have some meaning not mentioned in ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the meaning of the sentence 字了一?

I ve found this sentence between two other sentences in an article about the scholar wang li: 中国语言学家、诗人。字了一。广西壮族自治区博白县人 I understand both sentences before and after 字了一, but i am clueless what this ...
8
votes
4answers
633 views

What is an idiomatic way to say “This is not good” in Mandarin?

The title mostly covers the question, but some elaboration might help. In English, there is a common construction of ideas whereby the speaker makes a statement about an action or event, and follows ...
8
votes
3answers
418 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 ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Is there a significant difference in meaning between “欢迎你到中国来” and “欢迎你来到中国”?

I've asked quite a lot of native speakers about this and the general consensus seems to be that there is no significant difference in meaning between "欢迎你到中国来" and "欢迎你来到中国" (and similar sentences), ...
8
votes
2answers
381 views

Is 再过[时间] the most common way of expressing “in [amount of time], something will happen”?

I ask after encountering the following sentence in Tatoeba: 再过两、三个月,你就能说得一口流利的英语了。
8
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3answers
355 views

我也住在這裡 or 我也住這裡

I'm quite confused with using 在 in a sentence. I learned that it usually indicates a place or a location. I'm trying to say "I also live here". I thought that since I'm referring to a place, maybe I ...
7
votes
4answers
714 views

What is 人 doing in 你现在人在哪里?

I got this sentence in my "daily exercise" newsletter, and I really don't understand what's 人 doing there? Doesn't it mean the same when 人 is removed? Could this simply be a typo?
6
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5answers
703 views

Could you explain the structure of this sentence?

The sentence 我吃饭的时候看了一本书。 apparently has two verbs (吃 and 看), but I can’t see how the two actions are correlated. Could anyone explain that?
6
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4answers
850 views

How to indicate plurality/singularity

I'm aware that basic Chinese grammar tends to lack distinction between the plural and singular forms of many nouns. For example, 我的朋友是中国人 could either mean "my friend is Chinese" (singular) or "my ...
6
votes
5answers
428 views

What is 和 used for in this sentence?

I know how to use 和 to link one or more nouns or noun phrases, but in this sentence I don't understand what purpose does it serve at the beginning of the sentence? 和西方人过圣诞节差不多,这是一个全家团聚的节日。 (This ...
6
votes
3answers
467 views

Clarification on 得 usage

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
71 views

Function of 开了 in 我开车开了半天了

I am currently studying Basic Mandarin Chinese by Cornelius C. Kubler and encounered the following sentence in Unit 8 Part 4: 我开车开了半天了,我们换个人开,行不行? Without 开了 the first part of sentence makes sense ...
6
votes
1answer
446 views

Connotation of 吗 questions vs. affirmative/negative questions

Is there any difference in connotation/region/modernity/etc. between questions ending in 吗 and affirmative/negative questions? For example, does: 你很累吗? connote something different than: 你累不累? And ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

which do I use , 喜欢不喜欢 or 喜不喜欢?

I know that 喜不喜欢 and 喜欢不喜欢 have the same meaning, but in a sentence, which would look more appealing or make more sense in the sentence? In other words, which one is grammatically correct?
5
votes
3answers
404 views

Errors and Unnatural Language in a Translation Challenge

I was recently challenged to translate the following sentence from English into Chinese: You should stay away from that bar. A friend of mine went there before, and he ended up in the hospital after ...
5
votes
3answers
985 views

Sentence structure “I'm [doing something] because [reason]”?

I am familiar with the sentence structure "因为。。。所以。。。," but what is the correct way to say "I am [doing something] because [reason]"? For example, "I am asking this question because I am clueless." ...
5
votes
2answers
779 views

连。。。。都 structure

I've been studying Chinese for about 9 months now and I am a little confused as to how to rewrite this sentence using the 连。。。。都 structure. I've included what I've done but it just does not seem right....
5
votes
4answers
236 views

What is the subject in this sentence part 有时间到我家去

there is this sentence in a dialog: 好 , 我走了 , 有时间到我家去 . 再见 ! (from my beginner text book) I do understand the translation. Well, I'm going, if you have time, come to my home. Goodbye. However, ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How to say: “I have been studying Chinese for 4 years.”

How can I most accurately say the simple sentence: I have been studying Chinese for 4 years. This is a very simple phrase, and I am surprised at myself for not being confident in which one of the ...
5
votes
3answers
139 views

What does the second "幅” mean in the following sentence?

...真是一幅"幅"美丽的山水画... VS ...真是一幅美丽的山水画... I am having some problems figuring out why there is a second ”幅” in the sentence and what it means? If I took out the second "幅” what would the meaning then be ...
5
votes
3answers
385 views

How to explain the structure of “将在外,军令有所不受。”

In my own opinion, this sentence should be "将在外,军令不受". I can hardly imagine any use of "有" and "所" here. Could someone explain the structure of this sentence?
5
votes
1answer
128 views

Role of 在 in this sentence

I was using a text editor in Chinese, when I tried to exit without saving the currently opened file it showed me this sentence: 您要在关闭文件前保存吗? What is the role of 在 here? Is it related to the usage ...
5
votes
2answers
150 views

How do Chinese people say it when they are proud of someone?

This is not a question about the literal translation of the sentence: "I'm proud that you are my dad." The question itself is more like: what do Chinese people say when they want to express their ...
4
votes
3answers
643 views

Is this sentence ambiguous out of context?

My newsletter says this sentence 我五分钟后就回来。 is translated as "I'll be back in 5 minutes". I am curious to know whether this sentence could be translated as "I came back 5 minutes ago", or does it ...
4
votes
8answers
602 views

Why is 我找不到 correct and 我不能找 wrong? Which grammatical point am I missing?

I was recently corrected by a Chinese friend. He said it's incorrect to say: 我不能找 He said the right form is: 我找不到 Which sentence structure pattern is this following. Is it used with only ...
4
votes
2answers
752 views

What does the phrase “足矣” mean?

I saw this phrase recently in a post online. The whole sentence is 人生得一知己足矣. I think 人生得一知己 means "getting a BFF(?) in one's life". (The only meaning of the word 知己 that I know of is BFF, but please ...
4
votes
6answers
477 views

Usage of 了 and 以后

For the sentence 'I watched a movie after I had food', are the following translations equivalent? Additionally, is the 3rd translation incorrect (is the ...了...以后... usage valid)? 我吃了饭看电影。 我吃饭以后看电影。 ...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

How to say “it is actually something that does something”?

I'm just wondering how to say "it is actually (insert noun) that really (insert verb). The context is this: 有些人说,梦想点亮未来。我不同意。 Then I want to say: 其实我觉得是注意点亮未来。 Is my use of 是 correct? Thanks ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

A more direct translation for “I [verb] [x] more than [y]”

I don't know how to directly translate a sentence like this: I [verb] [x] more than [y] I would usually translate it like this: [x] 比 [y] 更 [some adjective that captures the same meaning as the ...
4
votes
3answers
225 views

Can I use 在 with 一边… 一边?

我一边吃饭,一边做作业 I do homework while eating 我一边在吃饭,一边在做作业 I'm doing homework while eating Is the second sentence correct? Can I use 在 or does 一边...一边 already imply that the action I'm talking about ...
4
votes
2answers
255 views

Grammar behind “你的脑子进水了”。

What's the grammar behind the sentence 你的脑子进水了? Because 你的脑子 here is the object into which 水 the subject entered, right? Shouldnt it be the other way round then? I am a bit confused. For example "I ...
4
votes
1answer
407 views

How to tell when one word starts and another word ends?

I am doing some work with scanning Chinese text with my computer and I have run into a problem that I do not have with other languages. Because there are no spaces between characters, I cannot tell ...
4
votes
4answers
676 views

How to use 仿佛 properly?

To give context, this is the sentence: 永远不能忘记的是北京,因为我在那里住的太久了,仿佛树生了根一样。 I am not sure how to render the last bit. I'm guessing it's saying: As if I am a tree, the roots are the same as my life, ...
4
votes
3answers
198 views

“Aren't you both also Americans” in Chinese ?

Nǐmen dōu ye bù shì měi guó rén ma? Is it correct? I am comfortable with this word order. Is it acceptable?
3
votes
7answers
844 views

Should Chinese text be grid aligned in game dialogs?

Title says it all, should I have my text using a variable width font, or fixed width. I didn't know if it is easier to read if its aligned on a grid? So here is my dialog with fixed width, one issue ...
3
votes
3answers
275 views

What is 被 doing in sentence “这种病在三十年前就被根除了”?

I understand that the sentence means something like "This disease was eradicated 30 years ago", but I have no idea what role does 被 have in it? Is the sentence okay if we remove it? Does it convey ...
3
votes
1answer
146 views

Can I use 告诉 to quote what someone has said? Please help!

I'm wondering whether the use of the word 告诉 is restricted to certain places in a sentence. I'm wondering whether this sentence would be correct: 今年初,我的朋友告诉我他这个学期每个星期要打工三十个小时。Is 告诉 allowed to be ...
3
votes
3answers
556 views

Why does 考 precede 中文 in 我下个星期要考中文?

In my Chinese textbook, for a dialogue, one of the lines says "我下个星期要考中文". Why is 中文 after 考, shouldn't the sentence be "我下个星期要中文的考"?
3
votes
5answers
174 views

How to form a relative clause with a 是 in it?

I want to be able to translate sentences with complicated relative clauses specifying that two things are the same in a particular context. For example, "I take classes where the tests are ...
3
votes
6answers
138 views

上的 — How is it functioning in this sentence

In the following sentence, what does 上的 mean? 中国历史学上的夏、商、周属于考古学上的青铜时代。 I translated it as "Archaeologists know the Xia, Shang and Zhou collectively as the Bronze Age." I think I have the gist of ...
3
votes
3answers
410 views

What is the use of 的是?

I have this sentence: "我觉得奇怪的是", which translates to "I feel weird". But wouldn't "我觉得奇怪" suffice? What is "的是" supposed to do in this sentence? From my research, the best conclusion I came up with ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“Topic-comment” structure

Can someone help me with these? I don't quite understand the topic-comment structure, and I have been trying to look it up but I can't find any good explanation with examples. I have to change the ...
3
votes
2answers
61 views

Understanding a line from a song: ‘沾染魔法的乖张气息 却又在爱里曲折’

The below is the partial lyrics of <童话镇>. 总有一条蜿蜒在童话镇里七彩的河 沾染魔法的乖张气息 却又在爱里曲折 川流不息扬起水花 又卷入一帘时光入水 让所有很久很久以前 都走到幸福结局的时刻 The problematic line is this one: 沾染魔法的乖张气息 却又在爱里曲折 It's difficult for me ...
3
votes
2answers
61 views

Are we allowed to omit 在 in 在…里,在…内 structure?

Based on an online dictionary : 在…里,在…内 : Inside or not further than an area or period of time And here are some examples (provided by the dictionary) of how 在…里 or 在…内 is used : Two ...
3
votes
3answers
308 views

Question words at the end or beginning? Shei (very confusing)

So far, question words in Chinese have always appeared at the end.. but with "shei" I saw sentences like "Shei shi nide baba?" So it can be used at the start or end of a sentence? We could say, "Nide ...
3
votes
2answers
103 views

Why is 的 used in this sentence?

你想要什么喝的吗? I've seen 的 used after a verb like this in other sentences. The only thing I could find about 的 after a verb was when it's used with 是.