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Question about an example I saw for the use of 和 to link nouns.


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I was looking at the A1 lessons of the Chinese grammar wiki. I was reading the article on the conjunction character 和 which is usually used to link nouns. The article gave a short example of how this dynamic works in English terms and what to do and not do in terms of applying this in a sentence.




Bad example: I went to the store and bought some gum.


(Don't use 和 (hé) for this "and"! "Went to the store" and "bought some gum" are both verb phrases, not nouns.)



Good example: I like to eat cucumbers and cheese.


(This one is good! "Cucumbers" and "cheese" are both nouns, so you can use 和 (hé) here.)




I'm confused though. In the incorrect example how is "went to the store" a verval phrase, but in the correct sentence below  "like to eat cucumbers" isn't? Both are stating actions in the phrase with a noun at the end. I don't get it.


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In the Good example, the 和 is linking two nouns of the same verbal phrase. Think of "eat cucumbers and cheese" as verb1(noun1+noun2).

There is only one phrase here, and 和 is being placed in between two consecutive nouns, which is totally fine.


In the Bad example, "went to the store and bought some gum" would be verb1(noun1)+verb2(noun2).

There are two phrases here, and 和 is being used to connect the two of them, which is something it just can't do. There are plenty of other particles for that.


The cool thing is, in Chinese, you can just throw a comma in between two verbal phrases and forget about using any extra particles.

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In English and most European and Semitic languages, there is a word that can be used to link almost any two things of like nature.  Because of this, we think of "and" as something basic to languages.  In fact, many languages do not have such a multipurpose word and some may not have any such word at all.


Imagine that the original meaning of 和 was something like "with."  That would help explain why saying something like "I bought cucumbers with cheese" is natural in Chinese, but saying I went to the store with bought some gum" is not.  "With" cannot link verb phrases in English or Chinese without somehow changing them into nouns.

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