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HashiriKata

With 到 and Without 到 ?

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HashiriKata

The following sentences, ones with 到 and ones without 到, mean basically the same but there may exist some subtle nuances between the two versions. But what are the differences, and are there indeed any? Could the more advanced and native speakers please tell us if they feel any differences among the pairs cited below? I'm sure as usual there will be different opinions and personal preferences but all will be useful to know.

你明天到学校去吗?/ 你明天去学校吗?

他到外国去工作。/ 他去外国工作。

请你到我家来做客。/ 请你来我家做客。

这个周末我们到长城去。/ 这个周末我们去长城。

李明到武汉去了。/ 李明去武汉了。

他们到哪儿去了?/ 他们去哪儿了?

Thanks,

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semantic nuance

Hi HK,

As a native speaker of Chinese, I think both patterns are the same to me.

I don't know any grammar. Just an instinct from native sense. As you can see, 到+place 去/來 = 去/來+ place. Try to make some more sentences to examine if this rule fits.

Hope it helps!:)

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tanhql

你明天到学校去吗?/ 你明天去学校吗?

both sounds weird. 你明天有去学校吗 or 你明天有没有去学校 sounds better.

他到外国去工作。/ 他去外国工作。

请你到我家来做客。/ 请你来我家做客。

这个周末我们到长城去。/ 这个周末我们去长城。

in english, 'he went to work overseas' and 'he went overseas to work'. is there a big difference? the same applies for the above. the differences are too subtle it's almost negligible.

李明到武汉去了。/ 李明去武汉了。

他们到哪儿去了?/ 他们去哪儿了?

*李明到武汉去了

*他们到哪儿去了

李明去武汉了

他们去哪儿了

the four above sounds they are on the way. (the ones with asterisk are arguable; they may also mean to be reached destination)

李明到武汉了

他们到哪儿了

(without 去)

the two above sounds they had reached their destination.

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ratfink

Ok, as a non-native speaker, these just seem to function as offering more emphasis to going to or arriving at the location, specifying the actual location, and maybe w/in the context injecting more of an attitude or something. Here is what my instinct (or over active imagination) tells me:

你明天到学校去吗?/ 你明天去学校吗?

seems like you are emphasising more that you will actually being going to the school, as though it was out of the norm. (version 1:in my imagination a mother who actually has to go to the school, version 2 kids debate whether or not to go to the school at all)

although seem like 你明天要到学校去吗?sounds better

他到外国去工作。/ 他去外国工作。

again emphasising the fact that it is abroad. (as in people bragging)

version 2, just casually mentioning it, oh yeah, he's working abroad..

请你到我家来做客。/ 请你来我家做客。

Seems like come to my home (as opposed to someone elses' (hehe) or somewhere else I suppose)

这个周末我们到长城去 (as in, this time it's to the great wall, as opposed to where we have or might be going)。/ 这个周末我们去长城。Ok, so yeah, that's nice, have fun...

李明到武汉去了。/ 李明去武汉了。same as above

他们到哪儿去了?(once again angry mother yelling at kids, wants to know where they went/what they where up to, maybe they weren't suppose to leave/ 他们去哪儿了?(Oh, there not here, retorical questions, is where they went really that important...)

but, hey, once again, I repeat non-native speaker disclaimer here...

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Koneko
你明天到学校去吗?/ 你明天去学校吗?

他到外国去工作。/ 他去外国工作。

请你到我家来做客。/ 请你来我家做客。

这个周末我们到长城去。/ 这个周末我们去长城。

李明到武汉去了。/ 李明去武汉了。

他们到哪儿去了?/ 他们去哪儿了?

Well' date=' the line of demarcation between 到 and 去 is quite easy to differentiate.

你明天到学校去[sic. 来]吗?

Are you coming to school tomorrow?

你明天去学校吗?

Are you going to school tomorrow?

他到外国[sic.我国']去[sic.来 or just omit 去]工作。

He came to work in this country.

他去外国工作。

He went to work in a foreign country.

请你到我家来做客 is similar to 请你来我家做客。

Please come and visit me, and be my guest.

(Why is this sentence is acceptable, whereas 他到外国去工作 is not so okay? This is because you are INSIDE and you invite your guests from OUTSIDE to come and visit you. Of course, you can also say 他到外国去工作 in Chinese and I shall explain this later)

这个周末我们到长城去 is also quite similar to 这个周末我们去长城。

When you say the first sentence, you give your audience this impression that you are closer to the place than they are. In the second sentence, neither of you are close to that place.

李明到武汉去了。/ 李明去武汉了。 are similar to the overseas examples.

他们到哪儿去了?

Where have they been?

他们去哪儿了?

Where have they gone?

In English, we normally say, "Do you want to come with me?" even when the speaker is still inside with his audience. However it should be "要不要跟我一起去?" instead of "要不要跟我一起来?" in Chinese but you wouldn't say "Do you want to go with me?" in English (Although it should be "go"). Hence, you see why 他到外国去工作 is okay if you can think laterally.

K.

PS: The usual rules apply:- I am not 100% certain; these are just my own subjective views. :mrgreen:

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Mugi

I'm not a native speaker either, so please treat my comments with caution.

However, I tend to agree with ratfink's comments. 到...去/来 puts the emphasis on the place. That emphasis can then change the nuance of the sentence depending on the situation.

Also, the 到...去/来 pattern is much more common in northern Mandarin speaking areas than southern Mandarin areas. In non-Mandarin speaking areas the pattern doesn't have an equivalent in the local dialects (at least not in Cantonese, Hakka or Hokkien; not sure about Wu or other dialects), so southerners speaking Mandarin very seldom employ it.

你明天到学校去吗?/ 你明天去学校吗?

both sounds weird. 你明天有去学校吗 or 你明天有没有去学校 sounds better.

Spoken like a true Singaporean :)

Both of these suggestions are grammatically incorrect in standard Chinese. "有+verb" is commonly used by SE Asian Chinese and Taiwanese - probably influenced by Hokkien, where 有+verb is sound grammar, although I'm fairly sure only for describing things in the past. With the second suggestion, it needs to be put in the past, e.g. 你昨天有没有去学校? or even 你今天有没有去学校?

As for the legitimacy/naturalness of the other sentences, hopefully the likes of skylee or Quest will weigh in.

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HashiriKata

Thank you all who have replied. It's very interesting to the differences people feel about the structures, which just reminded me of another pair I encountered right at beginning of my study: 我住在北京。 // 我在北京住。 I don't see (yet) any conclusive difference in this pair either but I suspect that in a wider context, one version may be a better choice than the other ??

Anyway, please post what you think. I don't think there are right or wrong views in this but it's useful to talk about it and see other people' views...:D

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gato
我住在北京。 // 我在北京住

I read somewhere that it's preferred to keep the subject and verb close to each other in Chinese. But when the prepositional phrase is long, this rule becomes mandatory.

Thus, 我住在北京 is preferred over 我在北京住, but both are probably ok.

But if the prepositional phrase were the much longer "在北京朝阳区大使馆区," then 我住在北京朝阳区大使馆区 would be correct, whereas 我在北京朝阳区大使馆区住 would be incorrect.

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HashiriKata

That's right, gato, it was also what I was thinking of in saying "I suspect that in a wider context, one version may be a better choice than the other." As for "我在北京住", it seems to fit better with sentences such as "我在北京住了两年", where you want to avoid repeating the verb (as in "我住在北京住了两年").

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Koneko
As for "我在北京住", it seems to fit better with sentences such as "我在北京住了两年", where you want to avoid repeating the verb (as in "我住在北京住了两年").

There's no need to repeat the verb, 住, in your example.

我住在北京住[sic. omit this 住]了[sic. place it at the end of this sentence]两年

我住在北京两年了

or

我在北京住了两年

They both mean the same thing actually. But the first sentence emphasizes on the duration; and the second one focuses on the action.

K.

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