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Questions about my grammar book...


SeekerOfPeace
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I'm having a hard time understanding my Chinese grammar book.

Could anyone simplify the following sentence:

"In fact the degree adverb 很 'very', unless it is

emphasised, does not really mean 'very', and its integration into an adjectival

predicative is more often than not to counteract an implication of contrast.“

I'm seriously considering buying another book.

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Could anyone simplify the following sentence:

"In fact the degree adverb 很 'very', unless it is

emphasised, does not really mean 'very', and its integration into an adjectival

predicative is more often than not to counteract an implication of contrast.“

Ok, this is "my speak":

If you see 很 + Adjective, then (in normal circumstances) ignore 很 in your interpretation.

However, if you see Adjective without 很 preceding it, the use of the Adjective in this way often implies some comparision of the Subject with something else/ someone else.

A simple example:

他唱得很好 : He sings well (no need to say "very well")

他唱得好 : He sings better (as compared to someone else's singing)

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To give you an example. One of the first if not the first sentences/patterns introduced in Spoken Standard Chinese, vol 1, Huang and Stimpson was something like this, (pardon the pinyin, I'm on a computer without an ime installed, and in any case SSC did not have hanzi.)

pattern A

Q: lu4 chang2 ma? (is the road long)

A: lu4 hen3 chang2. (yes the road is long.)

note: the prefered answer in this case was not lu4 chang2.

compare with the answer to this, also in lesson 1.

pattern B

Q: lu4 chang2, he2 chang2? ( which is longer, the road or the river?)

A: lu4 chang2. ( The road is longer.)

This was lesson 1, as I recall there was no discussion of

its integration into an adjectival predicative ... counteract[ing] an implication of contrast.“

integration into an adjectival predicative

If I recall from 8th grade diagramming sentences,

"The river is long." has "The river" as the subject, and "is long" is the predicate. "long" would be an adjective in the predicate. "integrating hen3 into an adjectival predicative" would be sticking hen3 into the predicate to modify the associated adjective, i.e. "is very long", or "hen3 chang."

"more often than not counteracting an implication of contrast", means that when you say, "lu4 hen3 chang2", the hen3 means you are answering in the context of something like pattern A, rather than pattern B( note pattern B implies a contrast).

its integration into an adjectival predicative is more often than not to counteract an implication of contrast
a phrase that will live in infamy. I can't help thinking that the target audience for that grammar book is other grammarians.
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