City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
0 like 0 dislike
15 views
asked Dec 2, 2020 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (17,790 points) | 15 views

1 Answer

0 like 0 dislike
Note the active and passive relationship between the bǎ and bèi structures. In fact, they are both narrative sentences with a subject and predicate construction. In the former, the subject is the initiator of the action in the verb whereas in the latter, it is the recipient:

Active voice:

消防员把小女孩救了出来。

xiāo fáng yuán bǎ xiǎo nǚ hái jiù le chū lái 。

The firemen rescued the little girl (from the house).

Passive voice:

小女孩被消防队员救了出来。

xiǎo nǚ hái bèi xiāo fáng duì yuán jiù le chū lái 。

The little girl was rescued (from the house) by the firemen.

If the focus is more on the result than the action, the two subject-predicate sentences, active or passive, can be re-worded respectively as follows:

Active voice:

消防员把小女孩救出来了。

xiāo fáng yuán bǎ xiǎo nǚ hái jiù chū lái le 。

The firemen rescued the little girl (from the house).

Passive voice:

小女孩被消防队员救出来了。

xiǎo nǚ hái bèi xiāo fáng duì yuán jiù chū lái le 。

The little girl was rescued (from the house) by the firemen.

As can be seen in the second pair of sentences the aspect marker 了le that indicates completion of action has now given way to the sentence final particle 了le which emphasizes the newly emerged result.

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.
answered Dec 2, 2020 by Ariel (17,790 points)

1,162 questions

1,454 answers

13 comments

7,418 users

1,162 questions
1,454 answers
13 comments
7,418 users