Talk:Chinese grammar

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Is this article in need of clean up? August 31, 2007[edit]

I apologize for being negative, but in my humble opinion, this article could use a lot of work. Having said that, I don't want to discount the hard work that has been made and all the great effort that has been put in by all the contributors of this article thus far. There is certainly some very good content in this article and all the individuals who have contributed to this article deserve thanks. But I think this article can be a lot better. I wish I could do something to improve this article, but I do not have sufficient expertise; I am only an elementary to pre-intermediate learner of Chinese. Perhaps this article could use some good clean up. Also, I wonder a bit about the quality and accuracy of some parts of this article. For example, I noticed one blatantly false statement, which said, "'Monkey' (and certain other animals) and 'pencil' are both '隻/只 zhi' nouns." In other words, the statement said that the words for monkey and pencil both take the same measure word. This is blatantly false. The measure words for monkey and pencil merely have the same pronunciation. They are not the same word. I have since deleted that sentence, but I am a bit concerned by it because it is a mistake that only a very novice learner of Chinese would make. Can we solicit the help of some experts for feedback on the article as a whole? I think this article has the potential to be great, but I think a lot of work will be needed. 15:01, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

This article needs to supply more detailed translations to the examples used. It seems to be written under the assumption that the person reading already understands Chinese to some degree. For example, the sentence 妈妈来了 is discussed at length without ever supplying a translation at all. Later, the article seems to expect the reader to understand the difference between 没 and 不. These are just two examples, but I feel the article would be much more helpful if it took into account that not all readers understand Chinese. LeeWilson (talk) 22:33, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

2 January 2006[edit]

I have a problem with the Mood section. 呢 does not mean or imply "pending", but rather is an interjection similar to the Japanese yo — in the example sentence provided, the idea of "pending" is provided by 還 rather than 呢, which would more likely indicate that the speaker is providing information. It is possible, for example, to say "發生什麽事?" (what happened) - "他撞倒了燈柱呢!" (he knocked over the lamppost!), where 呢 could not possibly mean pending, but rather providing the new information that he had knocked over the lamppost, and even with an overtone of surprise, shock, disbelief, or more generally exclamation. That bit needs editing, IMO. --Denihilonihil 14:36, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

呢 is often used as you say, but it can also mean pending. Two possible usages. JMCorey (talk) 23:25, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

I am preparing to edit this soon... Colipon 04:58, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)

May I suggest that those slashes just before the simplified versions don't look very good -- well, at least on my browser, the slash comes out too close to the initial simplified character (I don't know if it is a problem with my browser). I might suggest including also pinyin after each sample sentence, probably done most easily if someone knows a webpage to produce it automatically :)

I added a little information but failed to find the secret of how to input Chinese characters correctly. P0M 06:26, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)

P0M: I erased my last remark. Now that I can see the Chinese I see how Taoster modified the text. Wouldn't it make sense to have the traditional as well as simplified "ma"? Kou3+ma2 is definitely wrong, and I had replaced it with the correct traditional form at one point, but that disappeared too,

FYI, the Traditional and the Simplified characters are nearly identical aside from the 馬 simplification on the latter. Notwithstanding, 嘛 is used exclusively in colloquialism. It is not used as an interrogative particle in Mandarin, however, it can be used as a substitute for shenme. -Taoster

I don't know if it improves the readability, but I put characters on top of the pinyin. I think doing this is useful, but would like some feedback before attempting more.

All Chinese dialects share a similar grammar system

I am afraid this is not the case.. For instance, Cantonese and Mandarin grammar differs significantly from each other. — Instantnood 22:21, Jan 28 2005 (UTC)

Well, they're quite similar, in the same way you see similar grammars among the (say) Germanic languages. -- ran (talk) 02:28, Jan 29, 2005 (UTC)
All Chinese dialects share a similar grammar system, different from those employed by other language families.

Your comments come with two problems. The sentence in the article imples Chinese languages is an exception. Are Germanic languages another exception? How much should we accept for similar? Are German and English grammars similar tho there are some differences? — Instantnood 09:26, Jan 29 2005 (UTC)

The comment is simply there to explain that since all Chinese dialects share a similar system, most of the things explained in the article (aspect particles, topic-comment, mood particles, measure words etc.) apply in principle to all Chinese dialets. -- ran (talk) 15:07, Jan 29, 2005 (UTC)

Similarities and differences among grammar systems of the dialects[edit]

But in my opinion I think it is necessary to write something about the differences in grammar among different languages. — Instantnood 17:19, Jan 29 2005 (UTC)

Sure, go ahead. -- ran (talk) 17:51, Jan 29, 2005 (UTC)

All Chinese dialects share a similar grammar system

Should it be changed to all Chinese spoken varieties? — Instantnood 09:27, Jan 29 2005 (UTC)

Sure. -- ran (talk) 15:07, Jan 29, 2005 (UTC)

I am not exactly sure what Instantnood is trying to say. As with a very large number of other phenomena, languages are related together on a tree structure. Languages are different from lots of other things like the genetic connections among all human being in that it is at least not clear that Chinese and the Indo-European languages did not spring from totally different origins. I.e., some people say that there is no proof that humans didn't invent language more than once. Researchers are currently trying to puzzle out whether there is some innate structure in the human brain that ensures that all languages will follow some basic rules (even though they may play with those rules in such different ways that it is hard to see how they could be the same at some root level). What is pretty clear is that languages like German and English are twigs on a common branch -- even though they do some things in ways that are irritatingly different for speakers of one language who must learn the other language. Similarly, all of the spoken languages of Chinese share many commonalities even though they do some things differently. I'm told, for instance, that in Cantontese one says "I give money you," rather than "I give you money." Little differences like that are nothing compared to the fact that no Chinese language has tense as that concept is understood in English, German, Latin, French and the other Indo-Europeans languages. Instead, they use aspect. To find parallels to aspect that are even remotely helpful, people look to Russian, a language that is viewed by most English speakers as much "different" from English than is German. But all of the Chinese languages have that way of marking -- not time-- but answers to questions like, "Did you do it (as you were expected to)?" "Have you done it (within some time period, implied or explicit)." Zhao Yuan-ren has written a great deal about aspect as used in various Chinese languages/dialects (whatever you prefer to call them).

To me it would make sense to say something about the ways in which all forms of spoken Chinese are similar, e.g., that they all use two basic sentence formats: Topic-Comment and Subject-Predicate, that Subject-Predicate sentences position their verb after the subject and before objects, predicate nominatives, etc., and so forth.

Then it would be interesting to catalog some of the main differences. Knowing Mandarin fairly well and having only a smattering of Taiwanese I couldn't do more than mention the hearsay evidence I have on "subject + verb + indirect object + object" vs. "subject + verb + object + indirect object" mentioned above. Offhand, I can't think of any way in which Taiwanese sentence structures depart radically from Mandarin sentence structures. But listing whatever differences are to be found (and about what percent of the Chinese population uses the less common form) would give the general reader some idea of both the degree of similarity and the degree of dissimilarity among the tongues of various places and groups in China.

Some commonalities among all Chinese languages trace all of the way back to wen yan wen, e.g., the use of zhi1 (e.g., "Wu2 zhi1 you3 Kung3 Ming2 ru2 yu2 zhi1 you3 shui3.") in wen yan wen and the use of "de" in Mandarin, "eh" (not sure how to romanize it) in Taiwanese, etc. That grammatical item makes a good context with English in which the "stacking order" of modifiers goes the other way, and it would be easy to demonstrate graphically why speakers of one language may have difficulties adapting to the rules of the other language. P0M

Translation errors/issues[edit]

"Swim[ming] I am the best." This translation to a sample grammatical sentence is imprecise. It should be something like "Swimming, it is my forte."

Surely "swimming is my forte" would be “游泳是我的拿手”. “游泳我是最拿手” is literally "Swimming: I'm the most proficient". — Chameleon 14:11, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The original sentence uses "swimming" as a topic or focal point. The speaker is looking at a range of activities that s/her participates in, selects swimming from among them, and then pays himself/herself a compliment, indicating that (among his/her companions, schoolmates, or whatever group the social context of the sentence indictes) the speaker has an advantage. That's different from saying that it's his/her forte. "Forte" refers to the strongest capability of all the capabilities of the individual being characterized. A situation in which an individual is explaining his/her capabilities relative to his/her "in group" is a little uncomfortable in English. I think it's possible to toss off the Chinese (Youyong, wo zui nashou!) in a light way in Chinese, suggesting by yu3 diao4 and tone of voice that it's no big deal even if I have the best capability. I think in English the adept speaker of English might somewhat self-deprecatingly say, "As for swimming, I guess I'm the pick of the litter." (Comparing himself/herself to a puppy.) If you say "I am the best," you put yourself into competition with Olympic champions.
What is the image behind the expression "na shou"? "I've got a handle on that"?P0M 21:02, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Since 拿 basically means "to grasp", I'd say it is easy to see 拿手 náshǒu as referring to someone with "a good grasp" of a discipline or being "an old hand" at it. — Chameleon 21:38, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  • I would like to modified how the translation should be presented. For example in the first sentance instead of
(yuàn)(zi)() (tíng) (zhe) () (liàng) (chē)。 [院子裏停著一輛車。]
In the courtyard is parked a car. (A car is parked in the courtyard.),

I think we should have it:

(yuàn)(zi)() (tíng) (zhe) () (liàng) (chē)。 (院子裏停著一輛車。)
[courtyard] [n. suf.] [inside] [park] [v. attah.] [one] [unit measure] [car], fully translated: A car is parked in the courtyard.

Doing it this way shows the distinctive sentance structure of mandarin Chinese comparing with romantic languages.

Also, a lot of sentances sound funny in chinese as well. Take the previous posting on 游泳我是最拿手 for example. The sentance is more rounded and complete if it is said 我最拿手是游泳, couple with the full translation: "Swimming is my forte." and the translation by characters I mentioned. The sentance contrast will be so much better. If no one objects, I would like to go ahead and change all the sentances translations. --Ndhuang (talk) 11:22, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

  • I think "游泳我最拿手了!" or "我最會游泳了" would be more native :) -- (talk) 10:51, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Markup used[edit]

I was mistaken in my question, silly me. That's not what I was looking at! Laundrypowder 02:21, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Modal particle[edit]

Citation: Another category of devices unique to Chinese are the modal particles, used to express mood, or an expression of how a statement relates to reality and/or intent.

This statement is not correct. German language uses modal particles frequently as well, so Chinese language is not unique in this aspect. See German modal particle for more information. --Abdull 20:04, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't know exactly how to make the characterization more apt, but as someone who knows a little of both languages I don't think the comparison is apt. German "modal particles" are more like the final "la," "ya," etc., i.e., particles that indicates something about the speaker's subjective reaction, whereas "le" at the end of a sentence typically indicates a change of status that would need to be indicated, somehow, in a good translation. P0M 22:51, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Traditional and Simplified[edit]

This article lists both types of characters (in almost all cases), but the order is not very consistent. I'd suggest putting everything in simplified and traditional characters in brackets behind. Simplified is most used in China itself (at least as far as I have been able to see, so unless someone has a good reason to do it the other way around, let's make that default here.

Article Title[edit]

I feel a much more precise title for this article is Chinese Syntax, not grammar. A redirect from this article there would be in order, too. I'm Linguist, though, so the titles may a bit pedantic.

Clay 16:19, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Syntax is part of grammar. the study of grammar is composed of morphology and syntax. --Voidvector (talk) 20:24, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Bad example[edit]

In the mood section, the example for 2 meanings of 了(le) isn't appropriate, because the 2 alternative explanations for the phrase "妈妈来了!/Māma lái le!" aren't correct. The phrase "妈妈来了!/Māma lái le!" only mean that "Mother has come", and is definitly different from "妈妈要来了!/Māma yào lái le!", which only means "Mother will come". As no definition of "perfective le" or "inceptive le" is given, it wouldn't be possible to understand any difference between the two. As much as I know, 了(le) does either indicate the end in a phrase or slightly modify the tone of the phrase. In either way, it is not possible, in most cases, for 了(le) to alter the meaning of the phrase significantly. su88 06:04, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Sorry, I come from taiwan(So, I'm a native speaker of Chinese^^)."媽媽來了!" mainly mean "Mom is coming soon!", but "要" just emphasizes "soon" or "be going to" in this situation.("媽媽來過了" is more appropriate for perfective )"了" is more like "!" than "has been" :)-- (talk) 11:04, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Another bad example, and this time in the Topic prominence section. The last sentence there, ie. the one glossed as meaning "I'm the best at swimming" does not exemplify the topic-prominence principle. As the word "swimming" comes first, it's clear that this is not meant to be given information that is commented in the sentence but instead, it is an example of focusing a part of the sentence in order to, for instance, to contrast it to other implied options, which in this case would be other hobbies or sports the speaker does. I am no expert of Chinese languages (but I am a student of linguistics and am familiar with the cross-linguistic notions of topic prominence and focus fronting) so I've left the text as it is, but I hope someone would look at it. -Oghmoir 19:37, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

AgreeRiskiest (talk) 19:25, 2 October 2008 (UTC)


According to an editor, there were incorrections in this section, so I'm hiding it until someone else can fix it. FilipeS 01:13, 29 November 2006 (UTC)


Are these words (referring, as far as I know, to grammatical cases) really appropriate for Mandarin? All varieties of Chinese are almost completely isolating languages. Are these terms used in reputable Chinese grammars? Strad 03:05, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Subject-Predicate pair used as a predicate[edit]

I dimly recall I've read something about being able to use subject-predicate pair as a predicate for a sentence to describe property of a component of an entity. Something like 'I eyes-are-blue'. Can someone elaborate on that? Sorry, if this is only a misunderstanding from my part.


Just wanted to show my appreciation to those who worked on this article. The information there is very informative and helpful. You certainly manage to explain the subtleties of word order and perfectives/imperfectives better then my Chinese prof does. Basser g 06:42, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Perception of grammar in Chinese[edit]

The article doesn't really cover a common perception held by Chinese people that Chinese language does not have grammar. This is somewhat covered in the Chinese version of this page. --Voidvector (talk) 20:29, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Sorry to reopen this topic so long after the original posting; I just noticed it. Anyway, I agree that it's worth at least mentioning; the question is whether we can find a reliable source for it. Of course, I personally in my time over there have frequently encountered that "中文没有语法!" tidbit of wisdom, but I wonder if any reliable sources have documented it... Politizer talk/contribs 04:22, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Knock-knock. We know it's not true, so is it really worth mentioning if nobody claims this? Some people's perception about the grammar is inflection. So, if Chinese doesn't have inflection, they assume, it doesn't have the grammar. Perhaps, worth mentioning that Chinese words don't have inflection and even identifying the parts of speech is impossible by the word shape. It has both positive and negative aspects from a foreign learner's point of view. --Anatoli (talk) 04:50, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
People talking to Chinese native speakers will get told that Chinese has no grammar. Then they read an English Wikipedia article talking about Chinese grammar. The contradiction is obvious. It seems obvious that we should address it. (talk) 07:22, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't think thats necessary. Maybe there can be a separate section on the Chinese language page about the perceptions of the language. But "old-wives tales" about the grammar don't deserve a mention in this section. (talk) 12:54, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. Most people think their native language doesn't have grammar. It's only the languages they've learnt that have grammar. Kanguole 14:05, 28 November 2012 (UTC)


moon —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:21, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Mood section[edit]

I as a non chinese speaker have trouble understanding the mood section. The two examples give -le and -ne endings which appear to be different words. But the article says: "The perfective le and the inceptive le are two different words. ... The fact that they are now written the same way in Mandarin can cause confusion." This does not match the example given of "inceptive -ne". --Pepsi Lite (talk) 01:04, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

The comparison is not between -le & -ne, but between the perfective -le in the "Aspects" section and the inceptive -le in the "Mood" section.Riskiest (talk) 19:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Chinese translations of grammatical terms[edit]

note: Please also see the above section, posted at the same time as this one.
Merged sections now.

Regarding these edits [1][2][3]: Let's have a quick discussion here about whether or not to include these translations, before this becomes an edit war. I am also going to leave notes at WikiProject China and WikiProject Theoretical Linguistics.

Anyway, my stance is that they're unnecessary (as per Voidvector's edit summary; they're not even terms unique to Chinese) and that an individual wanting to know how to say these terms in Chinese can look them up (the better online dictionaries, such as and, have most of them) or can use the interwiki links at each of the respective pages on topic-prominent language, serial verb construction, etc.; the 中文 interwikis on those pages all go to Chinese WP articles that have those terms (that's how I learned a lot of the Chinese grammar terms when I first started being interested in Chinese linguistics). Politizer talk/contribs 22:12, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I think that only terms that are exclusively used to describe the Chinese language should have Chinese translations here, such as "measure word" and the like.--Danaman5 (talk) 23:03, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
That's a good idea. Technically "measure word/classifier" is not exclusive to Chinese...but it is probably far more common in Chinese than other languages (as evidenced by the fact that just about anyone learning Chinese knows about measure words, whereas other people usually haven't heard of that term unless they've got a couple years of linguistics training) that might be ok. Politizer talk/contribs 23:09, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Let's expand this rather short article, rather than removing my edits with Chinese terms. Most textbooks and reference materials do that - provide the Chinese terms for grammar words.
It makes sense for all languages, even more for Chinese, where English and Chinese terms are often much harder to link. It makes a discussion or teaching process between Anglophone and Chinese grammarians or teachers/students easier. Bilingual terms are more likely to be found by search engines. Anyway, the benefits are obvious.
The section of complements is very short, I am planning to expand it and yes, the terms need the Chinese translations. If this article has been on your watchlist for a long time, it doesn't mean there is no room for improvement. I am asking for your cooperation. Let's help to make the article better, don't start the edit war.
I am open for a discussion about the format - using tags, simplified/traditional/pinyin, inline or on a separate line, etc.

--Anatoli (talk) 23:22, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I have moved my previous post as the first answer to avoid duplication. It doesn't have to be specific to Chinese to be included in the chapter. As I said, most university references provide bilingual terms. Check Japanese, Russian, Arabic grammar articles. E.g. Japanese "pronoun(代名詞 daimeishi)". So do individual articles about Chinese grammar points. There is a consensus there. Chinese grammar article deserves more attention and more information.
Chinese grammar pages are scattered, in my opinion, adjectives, particles, etc. could be joined to one article, or at least have a short section with the link to the main page, if you think they need separate articles.

--Anatoli (talk) 23:33, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I would agree with Anatoli's arguments for the usefulness of having Chinese names for grammatical constructions and parts of speech. Maybe it's not the first priority to add them, but it certainly makes no sense to remove them where they are supplied. True, they can be looked up in a dictionary... but then most of the content of any Wikipedia article can be looked up in a suitable reference book somewhere! Vmenkov (talk) 01:56, 30 January 2009 (UTC)


The current disambiguation at the top of the page isn't very useful; being told to "look at so-and-so page" without being told exactly where isn't very helpful. I suggest moving this page to "Standard Mandarin grammar" or "Grammar of Standard Mandarin", having "Chinese grammar" redirect there, and having a "Chinese grammar (disambiguation) page. Alternatively, "Chinese grammar" could be the disambiguation page branching off into the rest of the grammar articles. Thoughts?– DroEsperanto(t / c) 01:41, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Changing the title of this page wouldn't change the dablink at the top; all that would happen is the text "Chinese grammar" redirects here would be added to the beginning, but there would still be similar dablinks at the top. Creating Chinese grammar (disambiguation) might be useful, but personally I think the Chinese languages page already pretty much serves that purpose; someone looking for Wu grammar, Yue grammar, Hakka grammar, etc., can find all of them there already. As for naming, unfortunately "Chinese" is standard shorthand for "Mandarin" in most of the world (including China itself) so "Chinese grammar" will always have to redirect here, even if the formal title of this page is changed to "Mandarin grammar". Unless, that is, someone wants to write a new article on the grammatical features that are common to all the Chinese languages...but we already have that article, more or less, at Chinese languages.
Admittedly, the treatment of Chinese languages on Wikipedia is a mess, and I left a similar message along those lines at one of these talk pages (I don't even remember where anymore... Chinese languages, Sinitic languages, Varieties of Chinese, or something like that). But a reorganization of them should probably be discussed and conducted in a top-down fashion, with an eye for all of the articles, rather than just taking care of one article at a time in an ad-hoc manner. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 06:26, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Example glosses[edit]

Can someone with a better understanding of Chinese grammar add some more detail to the examples? Interlinear glosses as seen in e.g. bǎ construction are very helpful in understanding how each part of the sentence fits together. By contrast, the examples here simply jump from Chinese to the idiomatic English translation, which isn't much help to someone who isn't already familiar with the language. (talk) 06:26, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

I could probably do it when I have some free time. I wrote the bǎ article so I would do the examples here in roughly the same way. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 16:18, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

"Chinese Grammar"[edit]

This article should be retitled to become "Mandarin grammar".Cheezexyz (talk) 01:01, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

See the above discussion under Disambiguation. JMCorey (talk) 23:28, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Typo? (25 March 2011)[edit]

In the Aspects section, re imperfectives, one finds the following sentence:

The two imperfectives may both occur in the same clause, e.g. 他正在打电话 tā zhèngzai dǎ diànhuà "He is in the middle of telephoning someone".

Am I missing something? It seems to say the will use both forms (正在 and 着), but the sentence doesn't actually do that. JMCorey (talk) 23:35, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

This criticism seems correct -- the text appears to be flawed as both forms are not used. -- (talk) 06:08, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

comparable to the similar features found within the Slavic languages or Semitic languages[edit]

What does this phrase in the lede mean? --JWB (talk) 23:34, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

'不要给我拍马屁' does not mean 'don't flatter me'[edit]

'给我' is something like Japanese's 'くれる'(...てくれる) , but with stronger tone (something like Japanese's 'てくれ') . It is unrelated to 'to me'. Here it is just like a simple order.

In this case (A speaks to B) , A could be either flattered by B or not. So, the translation is not right.

Rethliopuks (talk) 10:53, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

About "被"[edit]

The word '被' doesn't simply show passive voice, but also a passive mood (not only passive in grammar, but also in meaning) . In some cases, the passive sense it shows can be very strong. (talk) 09:57, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Europeanization and Dialectization of grammar[edit]

Baihua and may fourth

Rajmaan (talk) 07:05, 5 February 2013 (UTC)


This is perfect acceptable. --刻意(Kèyì) 20:54, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Well, I have a book which claims that it isn't... But we can remove it from the article if it's dubious, it's rather a detailed matter for this general article in any case. W. P. Uzer (talk) 18:28, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
For example: A: 他吃饭了吗? B:他吃[过]了。 A: Did he eat yet? B: He did. ηoian ‡orever ηew ‡rontiers 11:21, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

吧 and 啊[edit]

Okay so given that I'm basically an ABC, I feel like ba and ma have other usages. Either that or my understanding of Mandarin is wrong. Ex. 吧 in response to a question or debate 就用红色的油漆吧? Let's just use red paint, yes? If you reply 好 vs 好吧 I feel the connotation is different. 好 is closer to the English of "Yes" while 好吧 based on my understanding would be closer to "Fine". There is a bit of reservation in the second case. (Although this also depends on the inflection used while pronouncing 吧。 A lower tone represents reservation, while a shorter quick tone represents eagerness.)

Similarly for 啊. It can be used in response to a question to demonstrate uncertainty. 我听所你生病了 I heard you got sick. 我没生病啊? I didn't get sick [to the best of my knowledge]?

Or incredulity 他没生病啊? "He wasn't sick?!"

Although in this case that's somewhat covered by the 'forcefulness' part, but I tend to understand forcefulness differently than what it achieves in this case. I suppose it also has to do with the inflection used when saying the statement. ηoian ‡orever ηew ‡rontiers 11:29, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Bandits killed my father[edit]

What's with this sentence? 土匪把我杀了父亲 tǔfěi bǎ wǒ shā le fùqīn. People keep "correcting" it, but the book I found it in makes a big deal of this sentence and its various transformations. Does it really sound ungrammatical to native speakers? (At least, the version in the book has ta "his" instead of wo "my" - does that make a difference?) Obviously it's not being claimed that this is the normal way of translating "the bandits killed my father", but has the author got it completely wrong about the sentence being grammatically acceptable? W. P. Uzer (talk) 00:11, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

As a native Chinese speaker, I find that sentence completely ungrammatical (and no, the distinction between "his" and "my" isn't of concern here). The correct version would be 土匪把我的父亲杀了 оr 土匪杀了我的父亲. I don't have access to the book you cited, and I can't really tell from the paragraph what "inner and outer" objects are. Could you give more examples? Wyverald (talk) 11:08, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
These kinds of gapless structures are possible (and common) in bei sentences (see, e.g. Lin (2015)), which in this case would be 我被土匪杀了父亲. But I've never seen it in a ba sentence. What's the source? rʨanaɢ (talk) 12:16, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
Audrey Yen-hui Li (1990), Order and Constituency in Mandarin Chinese, page 89ff. You may be able to get a partial view on Google Books. W. P. Uzer (talk) 12:29, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

In any case, another native speaker has essentially confirmed the replies above, so I'll make the necessary changes to the article - again, those with better knowledge are invited to review, expand, etc. W. P. Uzer (talk) 17:16, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

"我被土匪杀了父亲" would be right if any English native speaker could confirm that "I was killed by bandits father" was right.小梨花 (talk) 17:27, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
English grammar is not the same as Chinese, of course. Are you saying that this sentence does not appear correct to you? At the time of the above discussion I asked a native speaker, who confirmed that the original sentence as given above was wrong, but said that this version (which is the one suggested by Rjanag above) was acceptable. Do we need to revisit that conclusion? W. P. Uzer (talk) 18:21, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
I just said it's same in this example. I'm Mandarin Chinese native speaker, neither Cantonese nor Shanghaiese, in Mandarin Chinese, you can say "我被医生杀了神经" but we never say "我被土匪杀了父亲" because "神经" is a part of ”I” but “父亲” not. Maybe in Cantonese it would be right, I don't know, I will look for a source to confirm this if necessary.小梨花 (talk) 18:51, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't know about the exact semantics and pragmatics of that particular example, but gapless bei sentences are definitely possible even in cases where the last noun (corresponding to 神经 or 父亲) is not inalienable possession (part) of the subject (我). For example, constructions like 我被[someone]偷了车、我被小偷偷了钱包 are attested. Neither 车 (bike) nor 钱包 (wallet) is "part" of 我 ("I"). rʨanaɢ (talk) 10:48, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

Is the example with "eat vinegar = be jealous" (following a ba object) definitely wrong as well? The same book that I mentioned above (this time on pages 194-195) gives examples like this. W. P. Uzer (talk) 15:57, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

I can't really gauge if it's right or wrong because the example isn't explained clearly. That is to say, I can't think of any instance in which 吃醋 (be jealous) would be used with 把 (ba), and no example was actually given in the text that I removed. rʨanaɢ (talk) 10:45, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
The examples given in the book are: ni bu neng ba ta (sheng name da de qi/chi name duo de doufu/chi name duo de cu/zhan name duo de pianyi), for which the author gives the translations "you cannot (be so angry with him/flirt with her/be jealous of her/take so much advantage of her)". Do any/all/none of these work? If so, is the presence of the qualifier before the idiomatic noun necessary? W. P. Uzer (talk) 10:54, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
Would have to check with a native speaker. My inclination is to say no, because I've never heard any of them (I would say 'ni bu neng gen ta shengqi' for the anger example; not sure about the jealousy one), but just because I haven't heard it attested doesn't necessarily mean it's bad... Although either way, I don't think any of those examples are really needed to make a point about ba structure, whatever's being shown there is pretty orthogonal to ba. rʨanaɢ (talk) 11:07, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
The point of interest (if the examples are valid) would be that in this case, unusually, the ba object phrase cannot be replaced by a direct object after the verb, because that position is already occupied. Which is admittedly already illustrated by the "peel an orange" example. W. P. Uzer (talk) 11:55, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

zuótiān shì tā mǎi cài de shíjiān[edit]

This sentence sounds extremely weird to me, given the gloss that accompanies it. Besides just being weird to start with, if I had to translate it, I would say it meant something more like "yesterday was his/her grocery-buying day" -- it answers "when does s/he buy groceries?" (habitual), not "when did s/he buy the groceries?". Any other native speakers to weigh in? Perhaps it's simply regionalism on my part? - (talk) 20:02, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

Like in the case discussed above, it's a sentence I found in a grammar book, which I assumed to be a reliable source. I don't know who's writing these books, since native speakers quite often seem to disagree with their grammaticality judgments. It seems we could use some expert/native review of this whole article. W. P. Uzer (talk) 07:30, 16 May 2015 (UTC)