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How do you know when will the verb be paired with 对?

体贴 (to be considerate) is intransitive, it cannot take a direct object. So you can be "considerate towards your parents" but you cannot "considerate your parents". In a similar ...
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7 votes
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When to use 住在 and when to use just 住?

I am a native Chinese speaker. We say "住这样的房子" or "住在这样的房子里". These two are both correct, and they mean the same thing. "住在这样的房子" sounds wrong to me."住这样的房子里" may be correct but sounds weird. As ...
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6 votes
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吃 Vs. 喝 in this sentence: 既然敬酒不吃那就吃罚酒

"Drink" is one possible meaning of 吃. From the Taiwan Ministry of Education dictionary definition for 吃 (emphasis added): 口中咀嚼食物後嚥下。有時吸、飲液體亦稱為「吃」。如:「吃飯」、「吃茶」、「吃藥」。 It also has an entry ...
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What are the parts of speech of the words in 车外的阳光格外的刺眼, and why is this 的 correct?

车外: Object + related location/position = place term, n. 的: Aux. term to turn n. into descriptive, usually in possession/belonging relation; or habitually added after multi-character adj. (single ...
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5 votes
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Do I have to include 是 in 你的生日(是)什么时候?

你的生日是什麼時候? (When is your birthday?) is the proper way to propose a question. 你(的)生日什麼時候? is gramatically incorrect but seldom heard when speaking for shortness Also, 你(的)生日是哪一天? (What day is your ...
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5 votes
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verb. "to shoot" (weapon): difference between 射击,开枪, 击中, 射中

射击 is "shooting". 开枪 is "to pull the trigger (on a gun)". So a shooting sport would be called 射击運動, and cover fire is called 掩護射击. 击中 means "hitting". 射中 means "hitting with a flying object". It ...
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5 votes

Are these two form of "I live in..." both correct? 我在意大利住 and 我住在意大利

I actually think these two sentences are slightly different. The first sentence has its emphasis on "住", for example, in the context "我不在上海上学,我在上海住。” The second sentence has its focus on the ...
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5 votes
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Why does the `请` take two duplicate words on its verb occasionally (e.g. `请洗洗你的袜子`)

quotation from 外国人实用汉语语法: (1) the reduplication of a verb implies a short and quick action (2) expresses an attempt or trial (3)expresses a sense of being light and relaxed and the same goes for ...
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  • 2,446
5 votes

What is the phenomenon of putting a verb twice in a sentence called?

I think this apparent phenomenon is more the result of the Chinese propensity for brevity and omission, omission especially of pronouns. I would not say this is unique to Chinese. Both sentences can ...
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5 votes
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Why does 他没看书 use 没 and not 不 in this dialogue?

The opposite of "他没看书" (he did not/has not read books) is "他有看书" (he did/ has read books)- 没(has not) here replaces the adverb 有(has)- to indicate 'absent' of the action The ...
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5 votes

Is the 有 in 你有想要买什么吗 some kind of auxiliary verb?

你有想要买什么吗. It sounds more like Taiwanese usage of 有 to my ear. I found they often put 有 between subject and verb. E.g. 我有去过;我有看过;where I often just say 我去过;我看过. In this case, I'll probably say 你想要买什么? ...
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5 votes

How do I determine whether a Chinese verb is transitive and/or intransitive?

I am not a linguist so I cannot give you a definitive answer, but the concept of "transitive/intransitive" is not native to Chinese language. I think most of the verbs you encounter can take an ...
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5 votes

What is the purpose of 是 in "我应该是感冒了"?

I do not agree that 是 is acting as the copula in the sentence. Because even without 是, the following sentences contain the same meaning and only differ in tone: 我应该是感冒了 我应该感冒了 This answer comes ...
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5 votes
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"食人" in Classical Chinese of the 先秦 period

in the book of mencius 孟子, chapter 梁惠王上: 此率獸而食人也 roughly means This is leading on beasts to devour men. https://ctext.org/dictionary.pl?if=gb&id=12876#s10026702 in the same book, chapter 滕文公上: ...
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5 votes
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Can 同学 really be used as a separable verb?

To say "no" is rather prescriptive. The phrase "同过 X 年学" or simply "同过学" is not so uncommon in real life. Pro-tip for advanced learners of Chinese: nouns can sometimes be ...
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  • 3,633
4 votes
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How to say lived vs. have been living somewhere?

I would say, as a Chinese, that Chinese language doesn't express tenses as explicitly and clearly as English does in most cases. Your translation of the first sentence(我在北京住了六个月) can be taken in both ...
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4 votes

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

Quote from the "Verb" page of the Chinese Grammar Wiki: Reduplication In Chinese, verb reduplication is a common phenomenon. Reduplication indicates one or more of the following: A short, ...
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4 votes
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What is the meaning of 背会?

背会 and 会背 are not the same. 背会 verb + result, memorize/recite it until you know it (by heart) 会背 auxiliary verb + verb, able to recite from memory 我还没背会这篇文章。 I still have not learned this essay by ...
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4 votes
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Why is 的 used in 你想要什么喝的吗?

Here, you could think that "的" converts a verb (i.e. "喝"/drink) into a noun, i.e. something for drinking. But notice the "的" after "是" is different, it is more of an interjection, and does not have ...
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  • 156
4 votes
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Is there a way to respond to 你做什么工作?starting with 我做...?

Because 医生 is what you are, not what you do. You can respond with 我教英语, 我卖面包, 我开出租车, if you want. In most cases, 我是XX sounds more natural if your job has a simple and direct name, such as 医生, 教师, 司机,...
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4 votes

Which online resources (preferably open source / cc) does contain info on which Chinese verbs is separable?

The Pleco app contains this information. It was actually confusing me for a while, but the //'s in the pinyin indicate verb separability. Pleco includes some free dictionaries, but it also allows you ...
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4 votes
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If you can use Chinese nouns as verbs, or vice versa

If you can use Chinese nouns as verbs, or vice versa Many Chinese nouns can also be verbs; and many Chinese verbs can also be nouns-- but not all of them, just like in English Please go into more ...
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4 votes
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Using Dual-Character Verbs When Not Necessary

Some two-character verbs or verbal phrases are constructed as verb-object phrases (seperable verbs), e.g. 吃饭 (eat a meal) and 说话 (speak words). As they already have an object, you usually cannot have ...
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4 votes

What is the difference between 是 and 在?

是 is used when a piece of information always holds true for the subject. 我是美国人。 I am an American. Even though the person’s nationality might change, at the time of speaking, he wants to say that his ...
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  • 1,642
4 votes

What is the purpose of 是 in "我应该是感冒了"?

Let's simplify the sentence to make it easier to identify the role of 是 他死了 -- he died 他(是)死了 -- he (indeed) died 我输了 -- I lost 我(是)输了 -- I (indeed) lost ~ Adding 应该 make it complicated 应该 in 我应该 ...
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吃 Vs. 喝 in this sentence: 既然敬酒不吃那就吃罚酒

The character 吃 is also a variant of 喫 (same pronunciation), where it retains the meaning of both "to eat" and "to drink". This usage is preserved for example in Shanghainese, ...
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4 votes
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In classical Chinese, does 從 always imply the follower is lower in rank?

in the book “殷周金文集成”, the entry 04030, my best understanding of 从 in the 5th column: engaged in (从) the commanding (司) [of] the royal court (王家), outside and inside (外內) the structure of “从司” is ...
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4 votes

Why is 指 repeated twice in 他指了指墙上的画?

I'm surprised this hasn't been covered before here, I'm sure there must be a link somewhere that I was unable to find. This is the V + 了 + V structure. #Grammar 2. 动词的重叠 Reduplication of Verbs (II): ...
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4 votes

What are the parts of speech of the words in 车外的阳光格外的刺眼, and why is this 的 correct?

车外 (outside of the car) 的 (adjective marker) "车外的" (of the outside of the car) is an adjectival phrase that applies to the noun '阳光' ( sunshine) 刺眼(的) is the adjective for '阳光' with 的 ...
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4 votes

In a 还是 question, do I need to repeat the verb?

There is no rule for this and is mostly based on preferences. If the verb for the two actions are the same, you can choose if you want to omit it. However, in China, often one way of expressing is ...
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