City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
+1 vote

What are the semantic differences between passive sentences with agents and those without agents?

asked Apr 18, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (23,690 points)
edited Apr 20, 2018 by admin

1 Answer

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The lack of agent in a sentence could have several reasons. The agent may not be important at all, or is predictable on general grounds. The agent may be unknown to the speaker at this stage of speaking. 

Topic-comment structure:


Pingguo chi le

The apple was eaten.

NP+NP+V structure:


Pingguo Xiaoming chi le

The apple was eaten by Xiaoming.

In Chinese, an agent can be added to the sentence as secondary topic without extra marking. 

answered Apr 18, 2018 by admin (23,690 points)
edited Apr 20, 2018 by admin
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