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yedafu

why there is a 的 here?

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yedafu

someone ask me to explain why there is a 的 in this sentence: 上海是个很好的地方。

and other then told him that 很好地方just doesn't sound right to me, i didn't have a grammatical explanation.

can someone give me a grammatical explanation for this?

thanks!

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歐博思

You could blow their mind and tell them 上海是個好地方 is ok :mrgreen:

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889

Make it negative and you almost have to drop the 的: 上海不是个好的地方 sounds awkward, unless perhaps you're really emphasizing 好的. Smoother to make it 上海不是个好地方. But 上海是个不好的地方 sounds fine.

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Beelzebro

In general, 的 is usually included between an attributive and a noun, but if the attributive is a single-syllable adjective then 的 is often dropped as in 上海是個好地方. However, if you include a degree adverb such as 很 then you definitely cannot omit the 的. See here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_adjectives#Attributive_(before_nouns)

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Publius

Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar

Chapter 4 Adjectives as attributives and predicatives

Quote

 


4.4 The descriptive indicator 的 de
The presence of the descriptive indicator 的 de in an adjectival phrase depends on factors that are different for quantifying and qualifying adjectives.
Quantifying adjectives are not generally used with the descriptive indicator 的 de when they have no more than a quantifying capacity. For example:
    许多人    xǔduō rén    many people
    广大读者    guǎngdà dúzhě    a large number of general readers
    大量信息    dàliàng xìnxī    a large quantity of information
    个别地区    gèbié dìqū    individual areas
    些许礼物    xiēxǔ lǐwù    a few presents
    全部开支    quánbù kāizhī    total expenditure
However, when a quantifying adjective has a more descriptive than quantifying function, it does incorporate 的 de:
    无数的事实    wúshù de shìshí    innumerable facts
    许许多多11的人    xǔxǔduōduō de rén    a very many people
11 All reduplicated forms in Chinese are in fact of a descriptive nature.
With qualifying adjectives, on the other hand, the presence of 的 de depends on whether the adjective is monosyllabic or polysyllabic. Generally speaking, monosyllabic adjectives have greater collocational restrictions and hence greater structural bonds with the headwords they qualify. They are therefore often placed directly in front of their headwords without 的 de:12
    红砖    hóng zhuān    red bricks
    短裤    duǎn kù        shorts (lit. short trousers)
    近路    jìn lù        a short-cut (rather than a detour)
    热水    rè shuǐ        hot water
    新书    xīn shū        a new book/new books
    高个子    gāo gèzi    a tall person (lit. tall build/stature)
    怪脾气    guài píqi    an odd/eccentric temperament
    新房子    xīn fángzi    a new house/new houses
    好天气    hǎo tiānqì    good weather
12 Where the collocation is loose and/or the noun is long, it is possible for a monosyllabic adjective to occur with 的 de, e.g. 新的自来水笔 xīn de zìláishuǐbǐ
a new fountain pen.
On the other hand, di- or polysyllabic adjectives usually require 的 de:
    肥沃的土地    féiwò de tǔdì
            fertile land
    幽静的环境    yōujìng de huánjìng
            quiet surroundings
    幸福的生活    xìngfú de shēnghuó
            a happy life
    美丽的焰火    měilì de yànhuǒ
            beautiful fireworks
    凉爽的风        liángshuǎng de fēng
            a cool breeze
    蔚蓝的天空    wèilán de tiānkōng
            a blue sky
    茂密的树林    màomì de shùlín
            a dense forest
    平易近人的老师    píngyì jìnrén de lǎoshī
            an approachable teacher
    无穷无尽的力量    wúqióng wújìn de lìliàng
            boundless energy/strength
    一个聪明伶俐的孩子    yī ge cōngming línglì de háizi
                an intelligent, quick-witted child
All phonaesthetic or reduplicated forms, because of their inbuilt descriptive nature, are also usually followed by 的 de:
    清清的河水    qīngqīng de héshuǐ
            a clear stream
    蓝蓝的天        lánlán de tiān
            a blue sky
    圆滚滚的卵石    yuángǔngǔn de luǎnshí
            smooth, round pebbles
    白蒙蒙的雾气    báiméngméng de wùqì
            white haze
    绿茸茸的草地    lǜrōngrōng de cǎodì
            a lush green lawn/meadow
    弯弯曲曲的小道    wānwānqūqū de xiǎodào
            a zigzag path
    火热火热的太阳    huǒrè huǒrè de tàiyáng
            a burning hot sun
    一个老老实实的人    yī ge lǎolǎoshíshí de rén
            an extremely honest person
Monosyllabic adjectives, when modified by degree adverbs, become more descriptive than restrictive, and therefore have to include the indicator:
    很大的房子    hěn dà de fángzi    a very big house/very big houses
    很脏的衣服    hěn zāng de yīfu    very dirty clothes
    很高的评价    hěn gāo de píngjià    a very good appraisal
However, when disyllabic adjectives qualify disyllabic headwords, if the consequential quadrisyllabic rhythm forms a tightly knit expression, then the indicator may often be dropped.13 For example:
    公共场所    gōnggòng chǎngsuǒ    public places
    首要任务    shǒuyào rènwu    the primary task
    根本问题    gēnběn wèntí    the fundamental problem
    关键时刻    guānjiàn shíkè    the critical juncture
    保守势力    bǎoshǒu shìlì    conservative forces
    耐心指导    nàixīn zhǐdǎo    patient guidance
13 This does not imply that the indicator 的 de must be omitted. It is still grammatical to say 首要的任务 shǒuyào de rènwu ‘the primary task’, etc.
In adjectival predicatives, which, as we have seen, normally incorporate a degree adverb or complement, 的 de is not usually present:
    这个孩子很高。        zhèi ge háizi hěn gāo
                This child is tall.
    这个学生非常聪明。    zhèi ge xuésheng fēicháng cōngming
                This student is very clever.
    那儿的生活写意得很。    nàr de shēnghuó xièyì de hěn
                Life there is extremely enjoyable.
However, this is not always the case. In the three examples above, the adjective is evaluative, conveying a comment or judgement, but it is also possible for the adjective to be descriptive rather than evaluative. When this is so, 的 de is likely to be present:
    那个人老老实实的。
    nèi ge rén lǎolǎoshíshí de
    That man is an extremely honest person.
    太阳火热火热的。
    tàiyáng huǒrè huǒrè de
    The sun is scorching.
    河水清清的。
    héshuǐ qīngqīng de
    The water in the river is crystal clear.
    英国的草地一年到头绿莺莺的。
    yīngguó de cǎodì yī nián dào tóu lǜyīngyīng de
    Lawns in Britain are pleasantly green all the year round.
    他整天忙忙碌碌的。
    tā zhěngtiān mángmánglùlù de
    He is busy doing this or that all day long.
Quadrisyllabic adjectival idioms, whether evaluative or descriptive, in a predicative position uniquely take neither 很 hěn nor 的 de:
    那个孩子聪明伶俐。    nèi ge háizi cōngming línglì
                That child is intelligent and quick-witted.
    河水清澈见底。        héshuǐ qīngchè jiàndǐ
                The water in the river is crystal clear.
 

 

 

tl;dr: Chinese syntax has semantic, pragmatic, and prosodic constraints.

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