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A few questions regarding this sentence.


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Macedonian

So I was just trying to translate this sentence:

有我浩克在,就算是死也会保护公主殿下的?

I don’t need it translated anymore since I get the gist of it, but I have a few questions regarding the grammar of this sentence.


For starters, why is 是死 used in this sentence? I understand that 就算是死 means something like “even if it kills me” or “even if it’s to die,” but shouldn’t 是 only be used to connect nouns (unless it’s a word component)? 死 isn’t listed as a noun in the dictionary I use (Pleco).
 

How does the 是.....的 structure work in this sentence? Just in general, as an HSK-1 learner, I find that the shi...de structure is the most difficult thing for me to understand. I’ve went through several websites and videos explaining it, but I still don’t get the fundamentals behind it.

 

But my main question is, what’s the purpose of the question mark in written Chinese? When I see 难道, I know to substitute it for “could it be” in the sentence, or when I see 呢, I know to substitute it for “on the other hand?,” and when I see 吗, I know to turn it into a yes/no question. But seeing the question mark at the end, I can’t figure out how it impact the sentence, or what it indicates.

 

Thanks for answering my questions in advance.

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Giuseppe Romanazzi

Hi, you asked:

 

1) Why is 是死 used in this sentence?

2) Shouldn’t  only be used to connect nouns (unless it’s a word component)?

3) How does the 是.....的 structure work in this sentence?

4) What’s the purpose of the question mark in written Chinese?

 

Anyway, may I first ask you to provide the source of that sentence? Is it online? I'd be happy to read at least the whole paragraph.

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Apollys

I think the main answer to all of your questions, and hundreds more questions you will have in the future about Chinese grammar, is that most rules are more like suggestions, and especially in spoken Chinese they often are broken.  (The trick is figuring out how to break them in the "right" way, like a native speaker would.  This takes lots of language exposure to develop the proper intuition, but don't worry about practicing it actively.)  You can (situationally) ask questions without using question words in Chinese.  You can (situationally) use the 是。。。的 structure but omit the 的.  (However, I will say I don't think this is actually a 是。。。的 pattern, because if I try to add a 的 it doesn't sound right.  死 is probably a verb or noun here.)

 

So while it's necessary for you to learn these grammar rules and practice using them yourself, you can't let it bother you too much when native speakers break them.

 

Think back to your elementary or middle school teachers who always told you: "No incomplete sentences allowed!  All sentences must have a subject and a verb!"  And then you're reading some famous novel by a famous author who throws this idea out the window and you realize such rules just don't reflect how the world actually works.

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