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 (34,480 points) | 38 views

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When a monosyllabic adjective is used attributively for the purpose of making a distinction, 的de is needed. This means there are at least two of the same item in the situation.

家里有两个苹果﹑两个桃子。妈妈上午把大的苹果给了我,所以下午就给我小的桃子。

jiā lǐ yǒu liǎng gè píng guǒ ﹑liǎng gè táo zǐ 。mā mā shàng wǔ bǎ dà de píng guǒ gěi le wǒ ,suǒ yǐ xià wǔ jiù gěi wǒ xiǎo de táo zǐ 。

There were two apples and two peaches at home. My mother gave me the bigger apple in the morning, so she gave me the smaller peach in the afternoon.

(大 and 小 are both monosyllabic; 大的 and 小的 are used because ‘big’ and ‘small’ are used to distinguish the two apples and the two peaches.)

(Situation: A photographer is arranging a group of people to be in a photo.)

高的人站后面;矮的人站前面。

gāo de rén zhàn hòu miàn ;ǎi de rén zhàn qián miàn 。

Taller people stand at the back; shorter people stand in front.

(高人 and 矮人 would be incorrect.)

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.
answered Mar 8 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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