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Making Sense of Grammar
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What is the difference between adverbial modifiers (time/ location) in Chinese and English?

asked Apr 10, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (23,690 points)
edited Apr 13, 2018 by admin

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The default sequence in Chinese is ‘subject – adverbial – predicate – object’. ‘Adverbial modifier’ here refers to the supplementary elements which indicate degree, status, time, or location. While in English, if the adverb is used to modify the verb, it should be placed after the predicate verb and after the object if there is one. And if the adverb is to modify frequency and evaluation, it should be in between the subject and predicate verb.

She reads aloud in the open every morning.


As for the reason why Chinese and English has the default time adverbial position in such different places can be contribute to the cognition manner, as people speaking English often express more direct to put the most important information forward, and less important information like time, place and manner which is conveyed by adverbials come later. While Chinese usually act more implicit, we pave the way for the important information to come out. This also explains why English put time adverbials at the beginning as in Chinese when it is to be emphasized.

answered Apr 10, 2018 by admin (23,690 points)
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