City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Feb 2 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 39 views

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A non-subject–predicate construction is a sentence whose initial constituent is not the subject but is the predicate, or a sentence whose constituent is neither a clear-cut subject nor a predicate.

The following are typical non-subject–predicate constructions.

(a) Subjectless sentences

A subjectless sentence starts with a verbal phrase, although the verbal phrase can be preceded by a time phrase or a location.

(b) Imperative sentences

An imperative sentence is used to give orders and commands or make strong suggestions and requests, etc. The subject 你 or 你们 is implied.

(c) Elliptical sentences

An elliptical sentence is typically used when the context is clear and the meaning can be understood without both the subject and the predicate being present.

The subject of a sentence is omitted when it is the same as the subject of the previous sentence.


Dīng:nǐ de chē shì lán sè de hái shì lǜ sè de?

Ding: Is your car blue or green?


Lǐ:lán sè de。

Li: Blue.

(Both the subject 我的车 and the verb 是 are omitted.)

The predicate of a sentence can be omitted if what is omitted is clear in meaning.


Zhāng:shuí zì yuàn lái chàng gè gē ?


Wáng: wǒ!

Zhang: Who wants to volunteer to sing a song?

Wang: Me! (I volunteer.)

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

[2] Teng, W. H. (2016). Yufa! A practical guide to Mandarin Chinese grammar. Taylor & Francis.

answered Feb 2 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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