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"I'm ... in order to ..." grammar structure?


JuliaValensi

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Hello all! 

 

I'm somewhat new to the forum and this is my first post! If I'm doing something wrong/posting this in the wrong area just tell me.

 

My Mandarin skills are pretty weak, so I made a blog and have been chatting with bloggers in Taiwan. I wanted to say "I created my blog so that I could improve my Chinese" in my blog description, but realized I didn't quite know how to saw it. Is there a grammar structure in Chinese to say "I (verb) in order to (verb)?" (for example, I run in order to stay in shape)

 

谢谢

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You can use: 之所以。。。是因为。。。

 

I run in order to stay in shape:我之所以跑步,是因为保持体型(or保持好身材)

I created my blog so that I could improve my Chinese:我之所以开这个博客是因为提高中文水平。

 

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Yes, you can say that, or better 為了提高漢語水平,我開始寫博客.

 

But there may be some nuances. Compare:

 

為了提高漢語水平,我開始寫博客。

In order to improve my Chinese skills, I started writing a blog.

 

我寫博客是為了提高漢語水平。

I started writing a blog in order to improve my Chinese skills.

Or it was with the aim of improving my Chinese skills that I started writing a blog.

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為了提高漢語水平,我開始寫博客

 

Is correct but 'marked'.

 

 

 

我寫博客是為了提高漢語水平。

 

is 'unmarked' and should be your first choice.

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What are the nuances? As far as I can tell, the English sentences mean exactly the same.

 

 

為了提高漢語水平,我開始寫博客。

 

我寫博客是為了提高漢語水平。

 

 

前者重心在「開始寫博客,後者則強調寫博客的目的。

 

 

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What are the nuances? As far as I can tell, the English sentences mean exactly the same.

 

The Chinese topic-comment structure obligatorily requires you to explain what you think the communication is about or what it should be about.  Such structures are not mandatory in English and "topics," "focus," and "emphasis" are accomplished in a number of ad-hoc ways, often simply by intonation not represented in written English.

 

 

為了提高漢語水平,我開始寫博客。

Here, we are talking about ways for me to improve my Chinese.  One written translation that would bring out some of this flavor would be: "What I did to improve my Chinese was to start writing a blog."

 

 

我寫博客是為了提高漢語水平。

Here, we are talking about my writing a blog.  One written translation that would bring this out is: "The reason for me writing a blog is to improve my Chinese.

 

Pragmatically, all these sentences can be interchangeable, but the strict surface meaning is different.

 

 

為了提高漢語水平,我開始寫博客。

In order to improve my Chinese skills, I started writing a blog.

 

我寫博客是為了提高漢語水平。

I started writing a blog in order to improve my Chinese skills.

Changing the order of the English clauses is not a bad why of translating the differences as a practical matter, but it does not suffice to capture the difference in meaning in the Chinese.

 

There are several different intonations and rhythms that you can use for the English that will change the focus of the clauses, regardless of their order.  For instance, oral English has a sentence rhythm rule that requires that all pieces of new information receive a stress of roughly equal time.  The converse is that old information loses its stress and its contribution to the sentence rhythm.  Combining the application of this rule with changes in the intonation allows a speaker to signal either clause as new or old information at will.

 

One way to interpret the two English sentences written above is that the first clause represents sold information and the second clause represents new information.  If you read them with that rhythm and intonation, you will come much closer to showing the difference in the Chinese, but will also be making assertions about the status of the various pieces of information that is not represented in the written Chinese, which routinely distinguishes only between topics (and subtopics) and comments, not between old and new information.

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