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anonymoose

我很为她高兴 or 我为她很高兴?

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anonymoose

Another word-order question...

Which is correct,

我很为她高兴

or

我为她很高兴

?

A google search gives 2470 results for the first, and only 2 for the latter, so it's fairly conclusive that the correct version is 我很为她高兴, but it seems strange to me - surely the 很 should go directly before the adjective...? Can anyone explain the grammar behind this?

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HashiriKata
Can anyone explain the grammar behind this?

"为她高兴" should be considered an integral unit here, and so if you want to intensify it, put the intensifier in front of it. Easy, isn't it? :mrgreen:

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anonymoose
"为她高兴" should be considered an integral unit here, and so if you want to intensify it, put the intensifier in front of it. Easy, isn't it?

Not really. Can you explain why?

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roddy

Yeah, I don't understand either. I can see 我很为... being more common, but I'm surprised that 我为她很... as good as doesn't exist.

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HashiriKata

I can't do it well, but will try :mrgreen:

Due to the meaning that is used/ intended in the context, the relationship between 为她 and 高兴 is so closed that they almost form one word with the meaning "pleased-for-someone", which is quite different from the relationship between the normal "为某人" and "做某事" (do something for the benefit of someone). The former (为某人高兴) is more like a set phrase with a set meaning, an idiom if you like, whereas the latter (为某人做某事) is clearly seen as formed by two components put together. If you examine the meaning of 为 in 为某人高兴 and in 为某人做某事, you'll see that 为 means different things in the two phrases, and that is the reason for 为某人高兴 being seen as one unit whereas 为某人做某事 as two. Seen as being made up of two units, the units in 为某人做某事 can move around quite freely (some other units can get in between). For, 为某人高兴, seen as one unit, other elements should therefore NOT get in between, which explains why you don't see many "为她很高兴".

(Not quite the same but a similar process can be seen in the difference between 我家 and 我的书: one can be seen as one word whereas the other is a combination of words put together, and so we don't normally see 我的家 and 我书.)

Edited by HashiriKata

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jiangping

It does sound pretty odd to me too, though I think HashiriKata is right: it basically means that the 很 is modifying the whole 为他高兴 phrase, rather than just 高兴.

It's like if you were gonna say "I'm not happy for him", it'd be 我不为他高兴.

Edited by jiangping

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HashiriKata
it basically means that the 很 is modifying the whole 为他高兴 phrase, rather than just 高兴.
Precisely! Here's another phrase similar to 为他高兴 and you can see the modifier goes in front of it, and not in the middle: 不必为我担心!

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anonymoose

I can understand the logic of HashiriKata's explanation, but I don't think it fully covers the grammatical phenomenon going on here. A google searches bring the following results:

11500 hits for 很为她高兴

195000 hits for 为她很高兴

2480 hits for 我很为她高兴

5 hits for 我为她很高兴

Just putting a 我 at the beginning reverses the relative frequency of the two versions.

There must be some other grammatical principle governing these constructions.

Also, if 为她高兴 were the only set phrase like this, then it would be understandable. After all, it creates a nice four-character group that chinese likes. However, there are several other examples on the net where the recipient is a much longer phrase, for example:

我也很为你的老板高兴有你这样出色的员工 (from here)

这个学期,你的学习有了一些小进步,老师很为你的进步高兴。 (from here)

Conversely, there are also examples of 为___很高兴, for example:

经过一段时间的监督,我的吸烟量在逐步减少,我为此很高兴 (from here)

女儿长大了,知道自己洗自己的衣服了,而且还帮妈妈做饭,为父很高兴 (from here)

So what is special about the phrase 我很为她高兴 that precludes placing 很 before 高兴? Or is it simply a matter of habit? I doubt that, because the google results wouldn't be so one-sided if this were the only reason.

:conf

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echo_zkl

Hehe, I found myself in this thread...I was such a grammar geek (of course, English grammar). Always bothered by all those slight differences. And when I turned to my friends, they would comment like that, "hey, that's just the way in which native speakers say, bear in your mind, that's it!" :conf

195000 hits for 为她很高兴

If you look closely, you would notice that they're not all in the same structure. For example, there's one link showing "以为她很高兴“。See, it's a totally different story, 以为 她很高兴。Besides don't forget that Chinese people speak poor Chinese as well.

我很为她高兴 just sounds more natural to me. But now and then I make a slip of tongue and it might be like this 我为她很高兴.

我为此很高兴

That's natural. And sometimes, we also say 我很为此高兴;我很为此自豪;为此我很高兴。。。

为父很高兴

Actually it's为父 很高兴, meaning "as your father, I'm happy for you." And it's wei2 instead of wei4.

Edited by echo_zkl
typo

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HashiriKata
I don't think it fully covers the grammatical phenomenon going on here.
I think you're right and I hope we'll come up with something more satisfactory. Meanwhile, let me make clear that what I said above is a tendency, and not a rule. Precisely with this in mind that I gave 我家 and 我的书 as analogous examples: the majority of people will say 我家 and 我的书 but this is not to say that 我的家 and 我书 don't exist.
If you look closely, you would notice that they're not all in the same structure.
I agree with this, and I think if we just simply use internet statistics as a means to prove a point, the superficial result may lead us away from what we're actually looking for: every occurrence of "为她很高兴" counts as a counter-example of "很为她高兴", and so does every occurrence of "因为她很高兴"! :wink: Edited by HashiriKata

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