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Songyi

chaining adjectives together

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Songyi

I've asked several Chinese friends in the past and they all look thoroughly confused so maybe someone can clarify for me as I haven't found an explanation. Is there a formula for chaining together series of adjectives? For example, in English, we would say a big, black rubber ball.

I was trying to write back to a friend saying that receiving an email from them was a wonderful surprise, but then changed it to "happy unexpected event", which is where my question comes from. Could someone help me with both ways of saying what I'm trying to convey?

My attempts are below the English

1. Receiving your email was a wonderful surprise.

接到你的信是一个奇秒的惊奇。

2. Receiving your email was an unexpected happy event.

接到你的信是一件不想高兴的事。

Thanks for your help.

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againstwind
Is there a formula for chaining together series of adjectives?

Yes, there is.

From the farthest to the nearest to the headword, usually the sequence should be:

1. possession, such as 我的、他的、她们的、谁的、X的

2. time or location, such as 今天、春天、去年、早上

3. measure word, such as 一个、多少

4. predicate phrase (expressing some action)

5. character, such as 新的、旧的、好的、坏的

6. metal, texture, usage and extent, such as 皮的、橡胶的、塑料的、红(色)的、小的

e.g.

我们今天下午要举行的那个全校运动会什么时候开始?

他是一个新来的文科学生。

这是她的一件刚买的新的红色的羊皮大衣。

那是一个黑色的大橡胶球。

As you see, the measure words seem flexible. And the order of NO.5 and NO.6 adjectives are not immovable either. This is the problem: the formula for chaining adjective, which expressing character metal, texture, usage, extent and so on, seems not, correspondingly, as fixed as English.

As for your two sentence, if I have to translate them into Chinese as your given expression:

1. Receiving your email was a wonderful surprise.

I suggest '收到你的信是一个奇妙的惊喜。'

2. Receiving your email was an unexpected happy event.

I suggest '到你的信是一件意想不到的高兴事'.

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