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Tony24

Adverb position

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Tony24

Hi everyone!

I need help with the position of 只 

I only want to speak with you 

我只想跟你说

我想只跟你说

I’ll quickly tell you about my problem.

I really don’t know where to put chinese adverbs in chinese sentences, especially when it comes to modal verbs.

I’ve read lots and lots of articles, exercise books etc ... but I still can’t understand that!

Will you help me?

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Put the adverb before the verb. 

 

https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Beginner_Guide_to_Chinese_Grammar#Word_Order 

 

 

Quote

Adverbs are words that modify verbs and adjectives. In Chinese, the adverb always goes before the verb or adjective. Instead of saying "I run also," proper grammar in Chinese would be "I also run." It's very consistent in Chinese. 

 

Therefore, in your example: (It's not a great sentence. Too much ambiguity.) 

 

20 hours ago, Tony24 said:

I only want to speak with you = 我只想跟你说

 

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Zbigniew

Don't forget that "manner adverbial phrases" do come after the verb, e.g. 你们都考得好。("You all did well in the exam".)

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889

As always, consider first not word-for-word translation but your underlying meaning. Cf:

 

-- I want a brief chat with you, it'll take just a sec.

 

-- I've only one desire in the whole world, to speak with you.

 

-- I want to speak with you, and nothing more, I promise.

 

-- I want to speak with you, not anyone else.

 

-- I alone want to speak with you, nobody else does.

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mungouk
2 hours ago, 889 said:

-- I want a brief chat with you, it'll take just a sec.

 

-- I've only one desire in the whole world, to speak with you.

 

-- I want to speak with you, and nothing more, I promise.

 

-- I want to speak with you, not anyone else.

 

-- I alone want to speak with you, nobody else does.

 

Yes, exactly.

And how would you write those in Chinese so as to differentiate the nuances? 

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Publius
11 hours ago, mungouk said:
13 hours ago, 889 said:

-- I want a brief chat with you, it'll take just a sec.

 

-- I've only one desire in the whole world, to speak with you.

 

-- I want to speak with you, and nothing more, I promise.

 

-- I want to speak with you, not anyone else.

 

-- I alone want to speak with you, nobody else does.

 

Yes, exactly.

And how would you write those in Chinese so as to differentiate the nuances? 

我有几句话要跟你说。

我只想能跟你说说话。

我只是想跟你谈谈。

有些话我只想跟你说。

只有我愿意跟你说话。

respectively.

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Zbigniew

My stab at it (just beaten to it by Publius):

-- I want a brief chat with you, it'll take just a sec.

 我想和你说几句话,就几句。

-- I've only one desire in the whole world, to speak with you.

我在这个世界上唯一的愿望就是和你说话。

-- I want to speak with you, and nothing more, I promise.

 我就想和你说话,不作别的,我保证。

-- I want to speak with you, not anyone else.

 我想和你,而不是别人,说话。

-- I alone want to speak with you, nobody else does.

除了我,没有人想和你说话。

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889

The point is that in spoken English we can -- and very very often do -- use verbal stress to indicate the meaning. Cf:

 

I only want to SPEAK with you.

 

I only want to speak with YOU.

 

Very different meanings in English!

 

Offhand, I don't THINK Chinese has the same feature, but use of stress to differentiate meaning is so instinctive to a native English speaker, I'm sure I carry the practice over when speaking Chinese.

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mungouk
On 8/4/2019 at 11:38 AM, Tony24 said:

我想只跟你说

 

So how about 我想跟你说...

 

Would that be grammatically correct, and does it have the meaning of I only want to speak with you (and nothing else)....?

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陳德聰

Mm... But Chinese does use stress to change pragmatic meaning.

 

[只]想跟你說...

I just want to talk with you, that's all (nothing more)

 

[只(是)想]跟你說...

I just want to talk to you, but it's not like I absolutely must, I guess

 

我只想跟你[說]...

I just want to talk with you, not some other activity

 

我只想跟[你]說...

I only want to talk to you and not someone else

 

[我]只想跟你說...

I want to tell you something, coming from me and not somebody else

 

In all of these situations you absolutely can use just stress accent to make contrastive focus happen.

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