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Elizabeth_rb

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Elizabeth_rb

 

Just finished 北京的四合院, and in the 'Cultural Insights' section, found this rather odd:

胡同和四合院是一体的,胡同两边是若干四合院。

Would it change the meaning to say 胡同两边若干四合院?

 

I've sometimes wondered about the difference myself and have just encountered it in 'Practice Makes Perfect - Basic Chinese'.

 

The examples there (chapter 17, p113, under section 'Verbs 有, 是 and 在 indicating existence') are:

 

学校前边有一个书店 - There is a bookshop in front of the school。

学校前边是一个书店 - In front of the school is a bookshop.

 

So, there is a subtle difference in meaning, although the information conveyed is broadly the same.

 

Hope you found that as useful as I did. :)

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Argenia

Sorry, I've been pretty much out of it lately, but still keen to join in.

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roddy

Good to see you back Elizabeth - and Argenia, good to see you joining in. 

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SiMaKe

Elizabeth_rb

 

I agree the difference can be subtle.  In short (from NPCR vol 2), 有 only denotes what exists in a certain place while 是 does also but specifies what that thing is; and 有 is usually a general reference while 是 is usually a specific reference. Also see #27.

 

Having said this, and given your examples, seems like the difference can be a matter of degree so I wonder to what extent this subtlety might sometimes be ignored in practice. 

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Elizabeth_rb

What I thought, too, about this grammar point was that, if you were to 'transfer' the example sentences into questions, the emphasis would be on a different part:

 

学校前边有一个书店 - There is a bookshop in front of the school. ->  哪儿有书店?

学校前边是一个书店 - In front of the school is a bookshop. -> 学校前边是什么?

 

Yes, I know one could ask the questions differently, but here I'm just using examples where the question word is in the same place as the answer.

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Carl Chen

More specifically,

 

Two sentences should be

1. 學校前有一書店

2. 學校前是一書店

 

Two sentences have different meanings.

 

1. 學校前面有一間書店 (There is a book store in front of the school)

It infers many stores in front of the school.

And the book store is one of the stores in front of the school.

 

2. 學校的前面是一間書店 (The bookstore is opposite the school)

It infers that the bookstore is just right across the street of the school.

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Iso

Is there any corner in China (besides Taiwan) where people would use 书店 in their conversations? I've never seen or heard that before.

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Carl Chen

Both 間 and 家 are commonly used interchangeably with no difference in everyday conversation.

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