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反而 (Grammar Point)

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Hi, I'm just wondering how to use 反而. I've looked at the allset learning articles on this, and one article says that in the second clause, if there is a noun then 反而 is after the noun. Example (from allset learning wiki): 我帮了她 ,反而她生气了 。- NO 我帮了她 ,她反而生气了。- YES But, the allset learning article on 反而 and 却 says the opposite of this: "反而 can be placed before or after the subject. 却 can only be placed after the subject."

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A Google search for:


她反而生气了 shows 8 pages of results

反而她生气了 shows 2 pages of results, most of which seem to be copies of the article you mentioned

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from my experience, 反而 can be used before or after, depending on what is being refuted and where the emphasis should lie, but as it is most often used to show difference between expected and actual outcome when interacting with another person or thing, the subject most often appears before the 反而.


If the 反而 is used before the 她 as in your sentence above, it would take the emphasis away from what I did and what she did, and actually emphasize the 反而, perhaps even in a sarcastic way (feel free to correct me if my feeling is wrong, I am not a native speaker)

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I have a question regarding the pronunciation of this word, I always have heard people say "fan2er3" (I mostly talk to 东北人), but in the dictionary I only found fan3er2. So I would know if this not orthodox spelling is also common in other parts of China.

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I've only ever heard fan3er2 in Hubei, but it's quite flat in tone, not as exaggerated as the standard fan3er2 you hear on TV. I asked my wife and she says that she's heard people from 东北 say fan2er3, definitely a dialect preference

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Interestingly enough, I have actually heard my teachers say fan2er3 on occasion, and they are not only Harbin natives, but also teaching foreign students Chinese.  Perhaps they accidentally slipped back into the way they speak outside of class.  Of course if we are speaking and we say fan2er3, they will pull us up on it. 

As far as the grammar goes, we were taught either way is fine.  That being said, I've definitely noticed the more common way (in my limited experience) is to put it after the subject. 

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I would like to answer these two questions about both the pronunciation and usage of the word 反而. 


Its pronunciation in Mandarin is fan3er2. As you have heard in daily lives, some speakers with obvious dialect accents may pronounce this word in a slightly different way, which may be influenced by their first language (if the dialect can be regarded as so). Apprantly, the pronunciation of one specific word will affect the result of figuring out it in the real communication, like the listener may understand you are referring to another word. However, the context where the communication happens help a little when the listener tries to understand your words. 


As for the usage, my opinion on the position of this word in the sentence is depending on the topic that the speaker would like to emphasize. Firstly, this word is an adverb of indicating a turning point so that it has a relatively flexible role in the sentence. Then, the speaker needs to measure whether the subject 她 or the turning point 反而 is the topic of their topic of the sentence as well as the communication. In fact, this word 反而 is usually placed after the subject in communication. 


However, I haven't figure out the difference between 反而 and 却 on their positions, as 反而 can be placed before and after the subject while 却 can only be placed after the subject pointed by the poster . 

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