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Linguaholic
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the 把 sentence ** Chinese Grammar **


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把-sentences // Chinese Grammar

First of all something rather easy about the character 把  :angel:

The chinese character 把 is used as a measure word for quantifying objects that can be grasped or objects with a handle. Few examples below:

散把刀 (yī bǎ dāo): three knifes

一把椅子 (yī bǎ yǐzi): a chair

一把茶伞 (yī bǎ cháhú): un umbrella

That was the easy part about the use of the character 把。however, I believe that you are talking about a different use of 把, as you said 把-sentences.

I will prepare a nice little text trying to explain to you what this 把-structure is all about and will post it as soon as I'm done.

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well, let's now talk about the other use of 把。

A good way to start this is maybe to first make clear what the normal sentence structure is in Chinese:

It is: Subject (S) + Verb (V) + Object (O)  ----> S-V-O structure.

So, examples for that normal structure would be sentences like:

我喝茶。                      // I drink tea.

我的朋友是瑞士人。 // My friend is from Switzerland.

她喜欢喝啤酒。        // I like to drink beer (this is of course just an example  :laugh:)

The 把-structure, however, follows a different pattern, which is:

Subject (S) + 把 + Object (O) + Verb (V)

Sounds pretty easy, right?

Let's make some examples for 把-sentences:

她把啤酒喝完了。She drank my beer (empty).

他把我的杯子打破了  He broke my cup

我把我的电脑放在桌子上了 I put my computer on the table. (Wǒ bǎ wǒ de dian4 nao3 fang4 zài zhuōzi shàng le.)

So what is the 把 sentence doing? It expresses what has happened to the object. In the first sentence, the object is the beer. In the second sentence, the object is the cup and in the third example, the object is the computer. The verb in the end does describe what has happened to the object. -->somebody drank the beer, someone broke the cup, someone put the computer on the table...

Now, when should you use 把 and when not?This is not an easy question. Often, the use of 把 is not mandatory and you have the choice if you want to make a proper S+V+O sentence or maybe a 把-sentence. Some verbs however, they demand for a 把-sentence like the verb 放。On the other hand, sometimes it is impossible to use a 把 sentence. Remember that you only use a 把 structure when something directly happens to the object. If nothing happens to the object, you can also not use the 把-structure. For instance, this is the case for verbs of let's say emotion like "to love" and "to like".

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Make a comparison with 不如

You can also make a comparison using 不如 (bu4 ru2).

You can say use 不如 like this:

My English is not as good as yours

英语我不如你。 (yǐng yǔ wǒ bù rú nǐ)

I am not as beautiful as you.

我不如你漂亮 (wǒ bù rú nǐ piào liàng)

My father is not as tall as you.

我爸爸不如你高。( wǒ bàba bù rú nǐ gāo )

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useful thread guys  :laugh:

I would like to add that if you want to say that the difference of something is BIG, you can use 得多 or 多了。

I am much taller than him  | 我比他高得多.  (wǒ bǐ tā gāo de duō)

I am much more intelligent than him  |  我比他聪明得多. ( wǒ bǐ tā cóng míng de duō )

I am more beautiful than her  |  我比她漂亮多了. (wǒ bǐ tā piàoliàng duō le.)

She is lazier than me.        |    她比我懒多了.  (tā bǐ wǒ lǎn duō le)

As far as I know, 得多 and 多了 mean exactly the same and are always «interchangeable».

Keep this thread going folks  :karate:

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  • 4 months later...

That's... really cool! It's interesting how Chinese uses sentence structure to put focus on different parts of the sentence, like with the 是...的 structure and the focus it puts on 'how something happened.' Thanks  linguaholic! I'm going to use this to surprise 我的老师 next semester...  :wink:

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You are welcome ssonicblue!

The 把-structure is very useful and it is also a very common in Modern Mandarin Chinese.

This kind of structure already existed in Ancient Chinese. In Ancient Chinese however, you would use the character 将 instead of 把 for this kind of sentence.

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I believe 把 is rather a helping, which it is unnecessary to use in the sentence. I think the sentence still makes sense without the word 把。In Chinese language, there are words that are unnecessary because they don't make a big difference in a sentence. Nice post about this!

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