City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Dec 15, 2020 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,470 points) | 43 views

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In a topic-comment sentence the topic may be a noun, pronoun, verb, phrase or clause. The comment usually consists of either a 是 shì phrase, a 有 yǒu phrase, an adjective or adjectival phrase:

他们是运动员。

Tā men shì yùn dòng yuán。

They are athletes.

(他们 tā men pronoun topic, 是 shì phrase as comment)

我有一个弟弟。

Wǒ yǒu yī gè dì dì 。

I have a younger brother.

(我 pronoun topic, 有 phrase as comment)

这儿的空气很新鲜。

Zhè ér de kōng qì hěn xīn xiān 。

The air here is fresh.

(空气 kōng qì noun as topic, 很新鲜 hěn xīn xiān adjectival phrase as comment)

抽烟对健康有害。

Chōu yān duì jiàn kāng yǒu hài 。

Smoking is bad for health.

(抽烟 chōu yān verb as topic, 有害 yǒu hài adjective as comment)

他迟到是不对的。

Tā chí dào shì bú duì de 。

He shouldn’t have been late. (lit. He arrive late was wrong.)

(他迟到 tā chí dào clause as topic, 是 shì phrase as comment)

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.

answered Dec 15, 2020 by Ariel (34,470 points)

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