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Problems with final 的 - "a case of"

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I'm studying from "Oh, China" (Princeton University Press), and I've encountered a strange pattern in unit 7. I thought that the final 的 in "学校的宿舍也是男女同住一层楼的,也有合用厕所的" were part of the structure "是...的" typically used to emphasize who, when, where etc. an action takes place. However, in the grammar notes, the authors write that:

"是 and 的 can go together at either end of a predicate to give the sense of "is/are a case of". Here, the school's dormitories are "a case of" men and women living together. Sometimes, 是 is omitted and 的 does this job alone. In the next clause in the text, for example, the final 的 suggests there "are cases" of using the same toilets".

Then I thought I could rewrite the original sentences by adding 事/情况 after the final 的 and solve all the problems. However, the authors add in the notes that: "的, in the line "我们常在一起的", is basically the same 的."

Well, it makes no sense to me to say "我们常在一起的事/情况". Maybe I could translate this final 的 as "it happens that...", but I'm not so sure.

Does anyone know this structure? Thank you for your help! ;-)

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I will be brave and make an attempt to help you.I do not 

know if it will only confuse you, so please ignore it if 

it is not correct on the point you raised.


I have consulted my Grammer source and the only area that raises the point  is in Verb Phrases as follows:


1. Without looking at the shi...de construction, the 的 at the end of the sentence  may be used as a part of the Verb Phrase (VP) with an absolute adjective which 

contains a copula sentence 是 .  Those absolute adjectives cannot occur as the sole element of a VP may be nominalized with the particle de to occur in the VP of a copula sentence.


This is part of Intransitive Verb Phrases. I will quote 

my grammer source: Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammer by Charles Li and Sandra Thompson (1981)

UC, Berkerley Press. Chapter 4 pages 141-146





This is the closest part I was able to find. 


2. Where the de is part of the shi...de constrcution Part 20.3 of Chapter 20 applies. It confirms that the shi may

 be omitted and still retain the shi...de construction.


I do hope that this can help you reach the correct

 conclusion to your question.


If I have strayed from the point, please someone with 

better grammer skills help.  


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@gwr71, if you were wondering about the odd spacing: this is full-space typing. On the language bar, you can see a small full moon/half moon shape for full shape/half shape. Change this back to 'half shape' when typing English and your spacing will be normal again. This is changed with shift+space, so sometimes it happens accidentally. I hope this is useful.

  • Like 2

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I'll be honest, the formatting in the post above hurts my eyes so I didn't read it.


I'm not going to give you a technical grammatical explanation, but something a little more intuitive.






For each of these cases, the 是 。。。的 construction wraps around an adjective to provide more information about the subject - in each case the bit in brackets at the start.


So, imagine the following dialogue (with a use of 的 I hope you are comfortable with):


A: 哪个车是你的?

B: 红色的。


Now, let's imagine a slightly different dialogue, but using your sentences:


A: 你们学校宿舍怎么样?

B: 我们学校宿舍是一层楼的。


I think your confusion is arising in: 我们常在一起的事/情况.  Here, the 的 changes from indicating an adjective (possessing a quality), to be being fully possessive.  Consider:




The first 的 shows the car belongs to me, while the second one indicates its colour.


Man, this post isn't clear at all, so sorry if it's made you even more confused.  Just to be clear:


我们常在一起的: We are (of the case) of having been together for a long time.

 我们常在一起的事: The issue of us having been together for a long time.

  • Thanks 1

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Dear Lu,

The problem is that I used the chinese pr font to write the characters and didn't  revert to standard english. It was a mistake which I will not repeat in the future

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Something Funny, thank you for your explanation! Now it's clear! :wink:

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i am experimenting with writing chinese characters. I was encouraged by an Administrator in this forum to do writing. I messed up.

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