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anonymoose

How is 让 in this sentence to be understood?

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anonymoose

I read this sentence somewhere:

这个世道让我怎么接受呢?

From the context, I guess this means something like "How can I accept the world like this?", but I don't really understand the grammar here. Is 让 functioning like the passive 被?

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muyongshi

No it's not 被 constructed sentence....the 让 means to allow, or let. Your translation is correct but think of it in terms of how can I let myself accept this world. Even though that's not the best translation but it shows the 让 in the sentence.

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Josh2007

muyongshi, rang4 and gei3 can be used to make passives like bei4. there is a section in Intermediate Chinese by Routedge on this. As far as I know the sentence does mean what OP say meant.

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muyongshi

I know 让 can mean 被. I am saying in this sentence it does not seam like it is a passive. I believe the 让 is acting as an active verb and not passive construction.

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skylee

The usage is very common. 令, 叫 and 教 may also take the place of 讓. I don't really know how to translate it but these are extracted from my blog -

酒店裏有一個很美麗很美麗很美麗的花園,人好高興。

那場全祼廝殺戲完全不能激起任何遐想,可是慘烈程度卻人幾乎不忍目睹。

人同情。

那餐廳叫Santa Croce,改這樣的名字怎不人想起威尼斯呢

這,真是人如何是好呢?

簡直是人倒抽一口涼氣的不解之謎。

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muyongshi

It just seems to me that if we insert 被 into said sentence the meaning is different and to me it sounds really funny. I'm willing to be wrong but no one has said why it is a passive sentence.

I use 被,让,叫 all the time and personally have no problems with them. But for me looking at this sentence it does not seem that it is passive. I'm not a grammar expert 但语感较强. So, if it is a passive structure please elaborate on how it is...

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frankcupid

让 has many meanings e.g. 让我走吧(let me go), 我让他来做(ask him to do),我让车撞了(be hit) etc.

i agree with your translation. we must find the subject which lets me accept the world.

if the subject is the world, there is no doubt that the 让 is initiative. how does the world let me accept it.

but i think the world here should be the object but not the subject, so which or who is the subject? i say none. the speaker just wanna complaint. i can say it to you, to myself, to sky,to god, or to nothing. when there is someone listening to me, i can say 你让我这么接受这个世道? in general, no one here, i just wanna complaint 让我这么接受这个世道. i put 这个世道 at the end, because it's the object of accept.

this sentence ask how to accept, not how to let me accept but we cannot say 这个世道被我怎么接受 which means how is the world accepted by me because this sentence ask how do i accept the world, not how is the world accept by me, different emphasis.

personal opinion

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anonymoose

Thanks for the replies.

The reason I thought it may be a kind of passive is because (in my mind) the sentence could be translated as "How is this world to be accepted by me?".

As for Skylee's examples, I know 让、令、叫 etc. can be used to mean "make"

酒店裏有一個很美麗很美麗很美麗的花園,教人好高興。

The bar has a very beautiful garden which makes people happy.

那場全祼廝殺戲完全不能激起任何遐想,可是慘烈程度卻讓人幾乎不忍目睹。

That naked fighting game cannot arouse any fantasies at all, but rather the extreme violence makes it hard (for people) to watch.

真讓人同情。

Really makes people sypathise.

那餐廳叫Santa Croce,改這樣的名字怎不教人想起威尼斯呢

That café is called Santa Croce, how could changing to this name not make people think of Venice?

But the sentence I quoted seems different to those above. I don't think it can be translated in the same way. Or can it? Maybe someone else can provide a translation.

Also, what does this mean?: 這,真是教人如何是好呢?

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frankcupid

让 means 被 in the first sentence but cannot be replaced with it.

Skylee's examples show that all the verbs have their own object such as feel happy, watch the game, sypathy (someone not mentioned), think of Venice.

真是教人如何是好呢? i think it should be 真是教人如何是好? or 教人如何是好呢?

如何是好 means how shall i deal with it.

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chenpv
这个世道让我怎么接受呢?
A rhetorical question with both inversion and subject omission, IMHO.

Quoted Sentence:这个世道(这)让我怎么接受呢?

Original Word Order:(这)让我怎么接受这个世道呢?

让 here means 'let, make' not the 'be + verbed' structure.

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frankcupid

宾语提前才用被动语态, 如果是“这让我”的话, 那“这”又指代什么呢?

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chenpv

As I stated above, it is NOT the passive voice, but structure inversion. :wink:

这 does not necessarily have to refer to anything, since it is not definitive.

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muyongshi

Still have two totally conflicting answers. Two definitively saying it's not passive and 2 definitively saying it is (I'm not sure how to count implied responses :mrgreen: )

If it can't be replaced by 被 how is it passive???? I agree with chenpv 100% still. It's not passive.

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Quest

Subject omission, the subject is 你。It can be a generic you.

Topic prominent structure:

这个世道,(你)叫我怎么接受呢?

With a world like this, how can you/anyone ask/make me accept it?

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HashiriKata
Still have two totally conflicting answers. Two definitively saying it's not passive and 2 definitively saying it is
I don't think 让 here has anything to do with the passive, and is only very remotely related to the causative. It's simply a stylistic device with very little content: try dropping this 让 you'll still get the sentence wholely intact:

这个世道(让)我怎么接受呢?

I often see this type of 让 occur with 我们 in sentences such as

让我们再听一遍, which basically means 我们再听一遍!

(I'm not sure I gave the best example for this type of 让 but hopefully some people will know what I mean.)

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Quest
让我们再听一遍, which basically means 我们再听一遍!

(I'm not sure I gave the best example for this type of 让 but hopefully some people will know what I mean.)

Probably not. In this example, 让 is simply "let".

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skylee

I agree with chenpv and Quest.

"这个世道让我怎么接受呢?" means "A world like this, how can you/anyone make me accept it (a world like this)?", which essentially means "How can I accept a world like this".

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anonymoose

Thanks everyone.

I can see now that it is not a passive.

Nevertheless, I still have a question:

Subject omission, the subject is 你。It can be a generic you.

Topic prominent structure:

这个世道,(你)叫我怎么接受呢?

With a world like this, how can you/anyone ask/make me accept it?

If this translation is accurate, then how come the Chinese sentence isn't like this:

这个世道怎么让我接受呢?

After all, in this case, the 怎么 should refer to 让 (how can you make me), and not to 接受 (how can I accept).

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Quest

It was just a translation. They mean the same to me:

how can anyone expect me to accept it!

tell me how I can possibly accept it!

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Josh2007

Chinese sentences can sometimes be parsed in more than one way. However, many of the grammatical categories amount to trying to force Chinese into the grammatical descriptions developed initially for other languages from other languages families.

Let's look again:

这个世道让我怎么接受呢?

怎么 qualifies 接受, as someone has said.

Next: Chinese does not have a true passive. Chinese is not an Indo-European language. It uses verbs where we would use prepositions. In formal Chinese grammar, these are called coverbs - verbs used as prepositions. If you say 衣服让孩子弄脏了, there is no passive there in the strict sense. Chinese verbs are not conjugated, and so there is no passive form of any verbs, and there are no past participles in Chinese. But a succession of verbs and coverbs can give a similar meaning to a European passive, although there is no actual passive in Chinese. What I mean is that 让 started life as a full verb, and came to develop certain prepositional meanings. 给 started life as a full verb, and came to develop certain prepositional meanings. 被: I am not sure of the history of this word, but it is not a true passive either, as it should be used in negative meanings only. If Chinese had a true passive, all transitive verb phrases could be expressed in a passive sentence.

So: we are now in a situation to analyze properly without rushing in with words like "passive". [if it's passive, where is the past participle? English grammar is bedevilled by trying to apply Latin grammar to English; it is even worse to try to impose Latin grammar on Chinese.]

It seems that 这个世道 is a topic, and is fundamentally the object of the sentence (or has an adverbial meaning, eg "given a world like this"), and you could argue there is a missed out subject THIS or YOU. Either: How can this make me accept this world? or Given a world like this, how can you make me accept it? However, as also pointed out 怎么 qualifies not 让, but 接受. 

The one clear thing in the sentence is that the 怎么 means "how to accept it", not "how to make someone accept it". I think this shows the inadequacy of trying to squeeze Chinese in AD 2007 into categories used to explain the Grammar used by Julius Caesar 2000 years ago.

I kill you: active. I am the subject. You are the object.

You are killed by me: passive. Something happens to you, and I am the agent. You could call this the Genuine Passive.

I accept the world as it is: active. I am the subject. The world is the object.

The world is accepted by me: ***formally*** passive in Indo-European languages, but note: nothing happens to the world. I am not the agent of any change in the world. You could describe this as the False Passive. Accepting the world can only really be active in meaning, but in European languages, all sentences with transitive constructions can be turned around and put in the passive.

这个世道让我怎么接受呢? This sentence doesn't mean "how can you make me accept the world like it is?" [=这个世道,你怎么能让我接受呢?) It means "how can I accept the world as it is?". Chenpv says the subject is "this". Quest says it is "non-generic you". In fact, this sentence could be said in good Chinese either way [这让我怎么接受呢?你让我怎么接受呢?], but non-generic you is just a grammatical device, like the "it" that rains in English (it is raining). Or: put it another way: the fact that Skylee says, ""A world like this, how can you/anyone make me accept it (a world like this)?" essentially means "How can I accept a world like this"" shows that trying to determine whether a sentence that is not a Genuine Passive (as described above) in European languages is active or passive amounts to trying to force Chinese into Latin grammar. Because in Latin and most European languages, "A world like this, how can you/anyone make me accept it (a world like this)?" and "How can I accept a world like this?" are not the same, essentially or otherwise.

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