Making Sense of Grammar
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Where should auxiliaries be placed in Chinese sentences?

asked Jan 2 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (19,380 points)

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Chinese auxiliaries normally occur in front of verbs. However, they are not movable. For example, the auxiliary 能 (n´eng/ to be able) in the following sentence cannot be moved:

                 他能說流利的中文

                 t¯a n´eng shu¯o li´ul`ı -de zh¯ongw´en

                “He can speak fluent Chinese.”

Furthermore, an auxiliary like n´eng (能) can occur all by itself to answer a question.

             Q: 你能說中文嗎?

                  n´ı n´eng shu¯o zh¯ongw´en ma

                  Can you speak Chinese?

             A: 

                  n´eng

                 “(Yes, I) can.”

Reference: Chinese: a linguistic introduction by Chao Fen Sun

answered Jan 2 by admin (19,380 points)
edited Apr 25 by admin
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