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Question about word order for verbs


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Dajia hao,

I have a quesiton regarding the word order for verbs.

Please see the following sentences.

1. Wo zhu zai Beijing.

2. Wo zai IBM gongzuo.

3. Wo zai BCLU xuexi (hanyu)

My question is - in sentence 1 above, the verb is after 'wo', but in 2 and 3 above it is at the end. Is there any rule for this, or is it just the way people speak? Because I have heard in some tape the following sentence:

"Wo zai Beijing zhu." This seems to conform the sentence pattern in 2 & 3 above.

Thank you for any clarification.

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That's how Chinese works.

Your question made me search the internet and I found this explanation:

It says although "there isn’t a nice, general rule that decides whether or not 在 should go before or after the verb", "with verbs that indicate position, movement or placement" it comes after verb.

In sentence one 住 indicates position, so it comes before 在. →(1)我住在北京。

But in sentences two and three (I may be wrong here) 學習 and 工作 tell what you do, and the responsibility to indicate place falls on "IBM" and "BCLU." →(2)我在IBM工作。and (3)我在BCLU學習。

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I'd say this is one of those times when oversimplifying grammar actually mystifies something that is not really all that difficult to grasp. Even though I'm having trouble thinking of counter-examples, I live my life pretty comfortably just assuming that in most cases it holds up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You can say 住在、站在、坐在、躺在 + place because these are single-syllable verbs. Here the place is a kind of object for a place resulting from the action of the verb.

If you put 在 + place before the verb, it's an adverbial, and the verb has two syllables. If you put 在 + place before a single-syllable verb that has no object, you have to add 者 to the verb to make it sound balanced, except if it's in the imperative mood.

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