Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
freefall

usage of 由

Recommended Posts

freefall

This is what my book has to say on the subject:

Sentences with "bei" and sentences with "you" are similar in form. When translated into english, a sentence with "you" is often changed into the passive voice. But the meaning of the two sentence patterns in different: a sentence with "bei" expresses that the subject of the sentence is a receiver of the action, while the preposition "you" indicates the doer, and there is no passive meaning to the sentence.

Uhh, wtf? wtf wtf wtf?

Then it gives this example,

今天的会议由王老师主持。 or 由王老师主持今天的会议。

and this,

这副对联被我写坏了。

and says that you can't replace 被 with 由.

Can anyone give a better explanation? I don't understand when to use one and when to use the other. Also, in the first two sentences, how does the switching around of the order work? In my pocket dictionary it says that 由 can be a preposition or a verb, so is it a prep in the first and a verb in the second?

I really don't know how to thank all of you who answer questions here. It is a great thing to check back and get answers. May you rest in peace in the highest plane of heaven or at least be reincarnated into something nice and not a slug or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

againstwind

Hey,freefall

I find you often ask detailed questions on grammar which are good but hard to explain.:mrgreen:

In fact, I think you have indicated the difference between 被 and 由 more or less:

a sentence with "bei" expresses that the subject of the sentence is a receiver of the action, while the preposition "you" indicates the doer, and there is no passive meaning to the sentence.

I'll try to give some information.

a)

As a preposition, 由 is used to introduce the doer and combined with nouns. The receiver of the action is put before 由 as the subjective:

今天的会议由王老师主持。

or put after verb as the objective:

由王老师主持今天的会议。 (normal order is 王老师主持今天的会议.)

B)

And as a preposition, 被 is also used to introduce the doer. Meanwhile, the subject of the sentence is a receiver of the action.(Just as what you said.) BUT, please pay attention:

The verb in 被 sentence pattern usually expresses 'done' or the result of actions. Besides, unlike 由,in 被 sentence pattern the receiver of action can't be put after verb as the objective.

So we can explain why you can't replace 被 with 由 in 这副对联被我写坏了。Because 坏了 gives us the result of the action 写.

And it is unacceptable if you use this sentence 被我写坏了这幅对联. (X)

More examples :

I was waken up by the thunder.

我被雷声惊醒了。 √

我由雷声惊醒了。 x

(醒 is the result of 惊.)

Your words were probably misunderstood by her.

你的话可能被她误解了。 √

你的话可能由她误解了。 x

(了 is a symbol of done.)

As for your dictionary saying that 由 can be a preposition or a verb.

When it is a verb, it resembles 'let be' or 'to depend' , I guess.

e.g.

信不信由你。 Believe or not, it depends on you.

别担心他,由他去吧。 Don't care about him. Let him go.

In the rough, that's it. Hope you haven't been confused.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
freefall

Thanks againstwind for the good info. I find it curious that 由 as a preposition can be placed at the beginning of a sentence with the verb directly following the prepositional phrase. This does not seem to be possible with any other prepositions I have seen in the Chinese language. Is it the only one or am I just missing something?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
djwebb2004

Traditionally in Chinese the passive was rarely used, or only used to talk about negative events, eg 被杀了. Contact with the west, and a large number of translations from Western languages, have meant that the 被character is used more than before, including in some sentences with no negative connotation, and particularly in certain types of journalistic translationese. The 被 can actually be missed out or replaced by something else, eg 他的钱包给偷了.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quest

X [to] let(由) Y verb / let(由) Y verb X

X by(被) Y verb'ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
againstwind
find it curious that 由 as a preposition can be placed at the beginning of a sentence with the verb directly following the prepositional phrase. This does not seem to be possible with any other prepositions I have seen in the Chinese language. Is it the only one or am I just missing something?

Er...This is a GOOD question!

But I've no idea either.:conf Can't give you a perfect answer.

Chinese grammar is as complicated as other languages, sometimes you can't even know how to confirm when it is a preposition when it is a verb.

跟我去北京。

Is 跟 a verb or a preposition? Hard to say.And is this one like the situation you said? But it is different from 由王老师主持今天的会议.

You seems to be quite interested in universal grammar anyway.:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...