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Pravit

Maybe we can add this to xuechengfeng's list? Or perhaps there's already an entire thread about this I haven't seen. But I'm curious when it is appropriate to use the subject + 把 + object + verb construction. Is it OK for me to ignore it whenever I speak? Or are there some sentences where you must say it like this, or else it will be incorrect?

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xuechengfeng

Thanks for the question. I'd like to see this also.

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Yuchi

By ignoring it, do you mean ignoring the sentence structure you gave us, or "把"?

edit:

I think I know what you mean?

Ta ba wo de gou sha le

他我的狗杀了

Ta sha le wo de go

他杀了我的狗

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xiaocai

是的,在这种结构下,几乎都能将宾语"还原"回去,同时省略"把"字.

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roddy
是的,在这种结构下,几乎都能将宾语"还原"回去,同时省略"把"字.

Trans: Yes, in this structure you can almost always put the object back in its original place and omit the 'ba'

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cutty

用把字的句型好象是叫"把字句"吧,还有个"被字句",字的顺序改变了,不过仍然表达相同的意思.

他杀了我的狗.

他把我的狗杀了.

我的狗被他杀了.

我感觉这三句依次下来好象语气有加强,第一句好象是比较轻描淡写,第三句更象血泪控诉.不知道是不是?

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skylee

And ... 他把我的狗給殺了。 (well, 給 is not a must.)

把 -> Link

(Coll. also *[bai3]) used before direct object, followed by v.t. (+object+v.t.): 門關上 close the door;

similarly, 人殺死,錢搶走 kill a man and rob his money;

故事講完了 finish telling the story;

錢看得太重 think too much of money;

東西丟了 lose s.t.;

事情忘了 forget s.t.

給 -> Link

人家倆人一拉手,就毀了 when they two work together, you are done for.
沒留神他的書裹抹過來啦 inadvertently had his books mixed up in ours and took them away.
人都傷了 you have offended so many people.
打了 he was beaten up (“given a beating”).

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Jose

One easy rule is that the object after 把 must have definite reference. This means that whereas in the case of "he killed my dog", the use of 把 is optional, if you were to say "He killed a dog", you can only say 他殺了一隻狗 (not *他把一隻狗殺了).

As for cases where the use of 把 is unavoidable, I think this often happens with sentences like:

我把那本書放了在桌子上 (not *我放了那本書在桌子上)

I've put that book on the table

他想把那本書翻譯成英文 (not *他想翻譯那本書成英文)

He would like to translate that book into English

In these cases, which usually involve prepositional complements in English ("put sth ON sth", "translate sth INTO sth" ), Chinese grammar doesn't allow units like 放在 or 翻譯成 to be split by the direct object, so the only way to accomodate it is by means of a 把 construction.

把 is fairly colloquial. In formal written Chinese 將 is used with exactly the same meaning.

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skylee
我把那本書放了在桌子上 (not *我放了那本書在桌子上)

I've put that book on the table

他想把那本書翻譯成英文 (not *他想翻譯那本書成英文)

He would like to translate that book into English

I don't see a problem with the * sentences.

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cutty

好象确实是比较别扭,应该没有人那么说的.

Quote:

我把那本書放了在桌子上 (not *我放了那本書在桌子上)

I've put that book on the table

他想把那本書翻譯成英文 (not *他想翻譯那本書成英文)

He would like to translate that book into English

I don't see a problem with the * sentences.

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Jose
I don't see a problem with the * sentences.

Sorry, then. I'm always a bit wary of answering these posts about grammar since I know that my grasp of it is pretty shoddy. :oops:

But what happens if the object is a long expression?

Compare:

他把那本非常有意思的法文小說翻譯了成中文。

他翻譯了那本非常有意思的法文小說成中文。

Are both sentences correct here? The second one sounds a bit awkward to me. Can we perhaps say that the longer the object the more adequate a 把 construction is?

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Pravit

Thanks for everyone's replies, guys. If I understood you correctly, cutty, you're saying that the different structures do not change the meaning so much, yet the first sentence seems a bit bland and the third one seems to be of more of an accusative nature? What about the second one? Why exactly would you choose to use this construction instead of the "standard" one?

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anonymoose
我把那本書放了在桌子上 (not *我放了那本書在桌子上)

I've put that book on the table

Not about 把, but rather the positioning of 了, I have the feeling this sentence would more frequently be written:

我把那本書放在了桌子上

Any native speakers, what would you say to this?

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Yuchi

Actually both sound awkward (saying it out loud anyway), I recommend omitting 了 altogether.

我把那本書放在桌子上

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Jose

The 把 construction is quite difficult to master and, after Pravit started this thread I've realised that I know even less about it than I thought. I can think of three questions I am not very clear about:

1. To what extent is 放那本书在桌子上 acceptable as an alternative to 把那本书放在桌子上? I thought the first one was plain wrong, but skylee says it is fine, and cutty finds it awkward. Any other opinions?

2. I think Anonymoose is right that 了 should come after 放在 or 翻译成 rather than in the middle, if at all; but Yuchi points out that it is better to leave it out, and a search in Google confirms this:

把书放在桌子上: 1140 results

把书放在了桌子上: 1 result

把书放了在桌子上: 0 results

But then, if we want to express a perfective aspect by using particles like 了 or 过, is there no way to do it with a 把 sentence?

3. I remember reading in Yip Po-ching's An Essential Grammar of Chinese (Routledge, London) that when 把 is followed by a noun without any sort of determiner, as in "把书" the noun is made definite (i.e. "the book") by the sheer presence of 把. This is quite remarkable. We can interpret it as if 把 implicitly contained some sort of "definite article", even if there isn't such a thing in Chinese. I find this a bit confusing, and it prompts a question:

According to this, 我把书看完了 should mean "I've finished reading THE book". What if we rearrange the sentence without 把: Then we would have 我看完了书. Is this latter sentence correct? I feel that because there is no 把, the "definiteness" of the noun would be lost, and to get a correct sentence we should say something like 我看完了那本书. Am I right?

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Pravit

Hrmrmmrmmm....so it's used most often in expressions with prepositional complements? Does it impart any sort of shade of meaning? And BTW, was I correct in translating cutty?

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xiaocai

非常抱歉,如果我用英文的话,可能没有人能看懂我的意思,所以 :oops:

实际上,用“把”表示主动的句型很多,而“subject + 把 + object + verb”只是其中的一种。而例句“我把那本書放了在桌子上”和“他想把那本書翻譯成英文”则不是这种结构。此外,还可以举出如“我把桶里面装满水”和“他把那本非常有意思的法文小說翻譯了成中文”这种难以去掉“把”的结构。不过,还是回到最开始讨论的问题,在“subject + 把 + object + verb”中,是可以把动词提前并去掉“把”的。

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Pravit

It's OK if you don't use English, I need some practice reading Chinese anyway :) From what I understood you said that it's OK to drop "ba" and take the verb to the front in any of these sentences. But what I don't understand is when exactly you would want to use it instead of regular SVO structure.

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skylee

er ... when you want to?

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