City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Mar 8 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,470 points) | 78 views

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In a 是shì sentence, the subject is either definite or generic. The subject complement (what

follows 是) can be definite or non-definite (indefinite or generic).

人是感情的动物。

rén shì gǎn qíng de dòng wù 。

Human beings are creatures of emotions.

 (人 and 感情的动物 are both generic.)

那个人是个冷血动物。

nà gè rén shì gè lěng xuè dòng wù 。

That man is a cold-blooded creature.

 (那个人 is definite; 一个冷血动物 is indefinite.)

那个人是我的英文老师。

nà gè rén shì wǒ de yīng wén lǎo shī 。

That man is my English teacher.

 (那个人 and 我的英文老师 are both definite.)

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.
answered Mar 8 by Ariel (34,470 points)

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1,435 questions
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