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djwebb2004

Splittable verb question

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djwebb2004

Hello. The Contemporary Chinese Dictionary indicates which verbs can be "split", eg one I saw recently was to freeload 揩//油. Presumably this means you can say,"他揩过油".Another example is 留学: 我在天津留过学. But is there an easy way to be sure of knowing which verbs can be split and which cannot? For example, is it always where the verb is a verb-object compound? And are all verb-object compound verbs so splittable? Is there a rule of thumb?

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nipponman
Is there a rule of thumb?

Unfortunately no. At least not to my knowledge. There are very few "rules" in chinese which means that you will have to work very hard to pick up all the subtle nuances.

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cjbaker

It seems that you can generally tell by the meaning whether a verb is a verb-result compound, that is, two-syllable verbs that have an action and endpoint are probably splittable. That doesn't help for your example, which isn't a verb-result. It seems to me that many v-o compounds are marginally splittable (for example, both 揩过油 and 告过诉 have some relevant results on google, but there are much more for 揩油过 and 告诉过), and that the definitely splittable ones belong to a fairly small group, so it's safest to assume that new verbs are not splittable. Maybe someone else has a better explanation.

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