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Lesson 21 How to use character “的” in Chinese

Posted by Grace Feng on May 28, 2012

How to use character “的” in Chinese?I’d assume when you’ve followed my lessons to this far, and you’ve learned Chinese online for some time, you might have given it a try to read some Chinese by yourself. Have you ever been puzzled by the usage of character “的”? Have you ever wondered why it appears all over the place?

Remember when we were talking about “Chinese adjectives” we’ve got to know the very important use of “的” character in “turning a noun into an adjective”? Such as “大的” and “小的”.

Also in “turning noun into pronouns”, Such as “我的” and “你的”.

The above are only part of the magic that “的” character can do. There are more. Please look at this:

wǒ huì qù de. wǒ bùhuì qù de.

我会去的.  我不会去的.

I will go.  I will not go.

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What on earth is this “” doing here?! “” is a verb, not a noun?!

Well, at least if you can tell “” is a verb instead of a noun, you’re progressing well :-).

Character “” can be used in willingness statement to emphasize the answer being positive or negative. It is placed at the end of the sentence that is having a willingness word.

It is as if to say “I will go, yes.”

Or, “I won’t go, no.”

There are some Chinese “helping characters” that have no equivalent counterparts in English. To understand them, you have to completely and thoroughly switch your mindset to Chinese. “的” is one of them. I’ve discussed in my previous lessons on another three helping characters in pattern , character  and character .

 

The same function of “” can be used in “…  …” sentence pattern as well:

wǒ shì ài nǐ de.

我是爱你的.

I do love you.

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wǒ shì bù ài nǐ de.

我是不爱你的.

I don’t love you at all.

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The second sentence is grammatically correct, but not recommended to be used this way because it’s too hurtful and too blunt to express meaning like this. :-)

是…的” is used to enforce what you’re saying is true.

For your practice, please try to use “” in different sentence patterns that you’ve learned today. Feel free to share your sentences with me and other readers, thanks…

 

Related posts:

Lesson 2 Personal pronouns in Chinese language - complete guide
Lesson 22 How to express "why on earth did this happen? " kind of questions in Chinese
Reading, Listening and Speaking practice 8

 

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6 Responses to “Lesson 21 How to use character “的” in Chinese”

  1. nothing

    Nathan:

    06-18-2012 7:03 am

    hey! I’m a new reader to this site, and this “de” lesson is exactly the type of grammar i need to work on along with “le” and “ba” it seems these short words are the hardest to pin down exactly what they do.

    As for 的 i know we can say “我的… for things that we own, but with things like friends or body parts do we have to say “我的朋友“ or just “我朋友” or “我的手“ or just “我手“ when to use or omit it is what is confusing to me.. so i find myself just including it when i’m not sure.

    also in sentences like:

    我是学生 if i want to add more do i have to put “我是中文的学生“ or just “我是中文学生“

    thanks for your lessons. I look forward to reading more of them!

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace:

      06-19-2012 8:25 pm

      Hi Nathan,

      First of all, welcome to my site!

      To answer your question regarding 的, if the word after “我的” is people, then the 的 can be skipped. If the word following “我的” is a thing, then you have to keep the 的.

      Both “我是中文的学生“ or “我是中文学生“ are fine. But “我是中文学生“ is more neat. Or “我是学中文的学生“ is more complete.

      Thanks for your encouragement, I will post more lessons for sure!

      欢迎常来, Nathan!

      Grace

      Reply

  2. nothing

    Thomas Doherty:

    08-24-2012 3:20 am

    All lessons after this one crash windows on my PC ??

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace:

      08-24-2012 3:44 am

      Really? I tested all lessons after 21 in IE, Firefox and Chrome, all work for me.

      Well, the only thing I can think of is the estroke tool that I embedded from estroke site requires Java. However, that tool exists in all lessons.

      What browser and version you’re using?

      Reply

  3. nothing

    Beatrice:

    10-30-2013 12:12 pm

    Thanks again for your lessons! I wish you could be my teacher at the university.

    这个名字是著名的。or 这个是著名的名字.

    I find this structure quite complecated to use. Need to practise!!

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      10-30-2013 1:07 pm

      Beatrice, I can be your teacher in this classroom I guess. :-)

      这个名字是著名的。 – correct!

      这个是著名的名字. – correct!

      Or 这是个著名的名字.

      As for which sentence order you should use in your context, it really depends. On a side note, to learn Chinese well you really need to read a lot to develop your feel of the language. Then slowly it’ll become your instinct to choose which word order to use.

      Reply

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