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Questions tagged [syntax]

Questions regarding the rules for the formation of sentences.

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Is there a dictionary that includes 搭配

Is there a decent dictionary that includes 搭配, or words that the searched word cannot be used with? I use Pleco, but one of my largest complaints with it is there is really no baseline for how the ...
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2answers
65 views

The correct way to parse “就打赢了” in this sentence

I was reading an excerpt from story, and I'm having a discussion with my friend over the correct way to parse this line said by a certain character, let's call him 1, about character 2. ...
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2answers
179 views

Translating a quote about Zhuge Liang

"淡泊名利才能显示出自己高尚的志趣,保持心态平和宁静才能在思想上达到高远的境界。这是诸葛亮表达自己作为一个读书人志趣清高的名言,被历来的读书人所推崇。尽管不少人汲汲于名利焦头烂额,但其照样可以请人将此言书写悬于客厅,以显示自己志趣的不同凡俗." I've been trying to 'block' this according to its syntax units, but I keep ...
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Interpretation of Embedded Questions as Relative Clauses

When an embedded question is used as a relative clause, does the embedded question still have an interrogative function, or does it become purely descriptive? E.g., 你看了大卫给谁的书。 Is this: You read ...
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89 views

Is phrase 他活说得好快 grammatical?

I've been collecting memo sentences to distinguish between 活 and 话. The root phrase is 他话说得好快 and I know it's grammatical, because it's given in a courpus. What interests me is the grammaticality of ...
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1answer
107 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 ...
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214 views

How many different types of adverbials exist in total?

At first I learned: The most frequent sentence pattern in Chinese is S V O e.g. 你 打 我 Next I learned: There are fixed places within this pattern, where one can put adverbials,namely ...
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180 views

Boundary-shifting wordplay (or mishearing) in Chinese?

In English, ambiguity (mishearing, or intentional wordplay) can be created by boundary shifting. Do you have anything like this in Chinese? Thank you. HH (written space -shifting) notable -- no ...
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1answer
101 views

爱、采 ( A trivalent verb takes 2 objects )

(my 1st post) Could someone give me a sample sentence containing 爱 taking 2 objects? I'm guessing it's << I'd love him to [do ...] >> type of construction? Thank you. HH (from Wikipedia)...
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837 views

How do I say “share with me” in Chinese?

I'd like to know how to form a sentence such as, "He shared this information with me," "She shared her recommendations with me." I believe the "with" here is not 跟,和 or 与, since the "sharing" action ...
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1answer
129 views

Chinese grammar: type of word that is not a part of syntax analysis

I remember my teacher giving an official name for words that are not a part of syntax analysis or not being considered in syntax analysis. For example: 如果把义放在后而把利摆在前 "If you put justice last and put ...
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1answer
267 views

Are both 他游了三个小时泳 and 他游泳游了三个小时 fine?

I've learned about separable verbs, 离合词. I learned that separable verbs such as 游泳 must be divided into the verb (游) and the object (泳) when particles like 了, 过, 着, etc. are attached to the verb or ...
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843 views

The correct usage of 大约 vs. 差不多

I am a bit confused by the appropriate use of 大约 and 差不多. I have learned to use 差不多 in many cases where I am talking about an approximate amount, value, extent, etc. of something, or speaking about ...
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1answer
393 views

What is the phrase for “sounds like” as in “it sounds like your dad is getting better”?

At first I thought I could use 听起来, but if I'm not mistaken this is only used for actual sound, not "you just told me your dad is back from the hospital, it sounds like he's getting better each day". (...
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1answer
430 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 ...
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4answers
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Can “未” modify descriptive adjectives?

Can “未” modify descriptive adjectives (in either classical or modern Chinese)? I've previously asked about the correctness of the phrase "未長未短", but I think 長 and 短 are used as verbs (instead of ...
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3answers
2k views

What is the difference between 看来, 看起来, and 看出来 ?

Please help, I'm not getting this, 听来我不懂! Could you please use examples in your answer?
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3answers
208 views

What's the Least Awkward Way To Say “I am Not A Native Chinese Speaker” In Chinese?

Usually I end up saying 我并非/不是以中文为母语的人,(...so please forgive my mistakes). Is there any way to avoid the awkward-seeming "以中文为母语" construction here but still get this point across, without saying ...
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How does inserting 起来 into 请客 as in 请起客来 changes the meaning?

请客 is a verb-object-verbal phrase (联合词), therefore it is able to seperate both parts and put further structures in between. I read I could put 起 in between together with 来 at the end to form a so ...
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5answers
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What can be put between the both parts of a separable verb?

I only know, that a verb which is made up of a verb and object, can be separated and further structures can be put between. For instance: 发愁 , wherein 发 is the verb and 愁 is the object, can be ...
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How to say “Please, go in front of me” when standing in a queue?

Imagine You stand in a queue in a super market and you want to let the person behind you in front of you. I have tried to translate it these ways: 请,在我前 去 吧 (putting only an adverbial in front of ...
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391 views

Do nested complements exist in Chinese?

I came across this sentence: 她看清进来为何人时,吓得说不出话来。, the second clause looks to me like a nested complement. i analyzed it this way: 吓得 (说不出话来) --> outer complement 说(不出话来) --> inner complement Am ...
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3answers
1k views

What is the function of the complement 下来 in 买下来?

I know 下来 so far as complement for verbs of motion, e.g. 跳下来,走下来,攀下来,掉下来. In them, the first character of the complement conveys the meaning "downwards", the second the point of view of the speaker "...
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2answers
309 views

What is the difference between 写完 and 写得完 ?

According to my textbook 简明汉语语法 the parts after the verb 写 are so called complements, they are strictly differentiated from adverbs. both complements are called: complement of result 完 complement ...
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2answers
190 views

Could you underline the parts of sentence contained in: “她一向忌讳家人向陌生人提及自己的隐事”?

I am quiet weak at grammar, i know some basic chinese sentence patterns like S P O S t p P O t S p P O t p S P O wherein: S(ubject),P(redicate),O(bject),t(imephrase),p(lacephrase) When i look ...
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1answer
113 views

What should one pay attention to when translating english sentences containing adverbials into chinese?

What advice for translation could you give in this context, how would you translate the following sentences containing adverbials: I will go to military-school soon. I will go to military-school ...
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116 views

What is the translation of 托业考试必备 ?

I ve looked up the words: 托 = to entrust (only one possible meaning, i do not know which one makes sense) 业 = enterprise 考试 = test 必备 = essential I can make no sense of this sentence, i even can ...
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265 views

What is important to consider while building an adverbial phrase?

As far as I know, in Chinese, the adverbial phrase is put right in front of the verb and its purpose is to describe the verb. Sentence pattern: S adverbialphrase V O What are the rules to put a ...
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3answers
283 views

if 奥巴马 was a sentence in classical chinese, what would be its meaning? [closed]

if you look up the characters used to transscribe obama in chinese, you get the following: 奥 = mysterious 巴 = to long for 马 = horse a simple sentence pattern in classical chinese is: adv. V O ...
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1answer
81 views

What is the order of different prepositional phrases?

Chinese Syntax is: S V O there are different prepositional phrases, for instance: p.p. that express a place, time, objective, mean ... How do i know the proper order of the different prepositional ...
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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 ...
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1answer
247 views

Is there a serial verb construction in classical Chinese?

Serial verb constructions are several verbs in sequence constituting one single predicate to describe a whole event. Example from Wikipedia: 我(I) 坐(sit) 飞机(aircraft) 从(depart) 上海(Shanghai) 到(arrive) ...
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1answer
266 views

What are the rules for nested sentences?

A simple sentence in Chinese looks syntactially like this: S t p V O. S(ubject),V(erb),O(bject),t(imephrase),p(lacephrase). How do i put a further sentence in another sentence?
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132 views

How is this sentence translated into Chinese “The man, who kissed the woman, who betrayed him with the man, who loved the one, whom nobody knew”?

I do not know the technical term for this kind of sentences, but obviously there is some fractal vibe to it.
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142 views

What is a very comprehensive syntax structure?

the syntax is S V O, one can expand this to include phrases about time and place: S t p V O. What else can be this SVO structure expanded with? How would a maximal structure look like that ...
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1answer
208 views

Where do I put adverbial expressions and other phrases in a sentence?

I know Chinese use the sequence S O V. I also know place follows time, for instance in these ways: t(ime), p(lace) S tp V O tp S V O t S p V O Where do I put further phrases, like adverbial ...
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3answers
169 views

How to use 整 as in exactly

I"m trying to figure out the grammar/syntax behind using "整". I know that it means "Exactly" when used at the end of numbers, but I'm wondering does it come before or after the noun described by the ...
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3answers
93 views

Do people say 有能力 <do something> or 有 <do something> 的能力

I've always been a bit confused about the order of using 有能力 and I'm hoping someone can clarify. Do people say "有能力 do something" or "有 do something 的能力"? For example, could I say "他没有能力写代码?”
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1answer
90 views

Comparing “as A” and “as B”

While poking around the internet, I came across this sentence from a non-native speaker, which sounded off: 她是朋友比爱人更好。 Intended meaning: She is better as a friend than as a lover [for the ...
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4answers
250 views

Possessives in Chinese

I used Google Translate for these sentences but I'm not sure they are correct: Mom 's white dog 妈妈的白狗 My mom's white dog 我妈妈的白狗 And it is possible if I say Mom 's white dog 妈妈的白色的狗 My mom's ...
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4answers
257 views

Using 都 when refering to both subject and objects

I saw this in a lesson: 你都会去吗? In this context, 都 refers to islands, as in "Will you go to all of them [the islands]?" But, when I hear that my brain thinks 都 refers to the subject, as in "Will all ...
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2answers
800 views

How to use 也好. Not meaning 'also good'

My non-Mandarin colleagues have been using 英文也好,中文也好 lately and I assumed from their context they meant both languages are equal in whatever comparison they were making. When I looked it up I ...
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3answers
685 views

How to use 如 to make comparisons or analogies

I see this come up sometimes in idioms, and I find it easy to understand but not easy to use(1) Is it used to spoken comparisons or analogies? Or is it only for literary, formal, fixed expression? If ...
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3answers
594 views

Use of 而 preceding verb

I have only been studying a short while in spare time but have seen quite a few simple sentences in which 而 precedes the verb. Are there any basic ideas about the structure of such sentences? Places ...
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3answers
884 views

Relative clause in Chinese

How do you say "there aren't people I can talk to" ? 没有对他们可以说话的人?or else "the person with whom I had a fight last week is now a friend" and all those sentences that require with/to/etc.?
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Why do the names of some Chinese companies consist of “repeated” words?

I'm referring to the repetition of names such as "Dangdang" and "Renren." Why is this the case?
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3answers
142 views

What syntax is acceptable for classifier + noun + adjectival phrase

I am wondering what the acceptable combinations of classifier, noun, and adjectival phrase are? For example 一本 + 有意思的 + 书 Is it acceptable to say both of the following?: 一本有意思的书。 有意思的一本书。 ...
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4answers
394 views

How to correctly order the words in this sentence?

This is a question from an exercise book that I'm currently working through, to rearrange the given words into the correct order. I believe the format is along the lines of "The person who was [doing ...