Chinese Learning Tips!
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This is Katrina Lee from SMART Mandarin.
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The Basic Usage of 的
的is one of the most common words in Chinese and it’s one of the most annoying grammatical words as well.
For beginners of Chinese, 的 can be translate as the “possession” equivalent to English word “of” or “’s”.
Let’s talk about the basics of 的 in Mandarin!
1. When 的 is following a pronoun or a subject
我的 my - 这是我的书。 This is my book.
你的 your - 那杯咖啡是你的吗？ Is that your cup of coffee?
2. Using 的 as the “of” function in English
这种茶 的 味道很好。The flavor of this tea is very good.
As the example above, if we use a direct translation. It would be
“This kind tea of taste very good.”
这种茶 的 味道 很好
And it’s obvious that Mandarin structure of 的 is very different from English!
In Chinese, we consider “taste” belongs to the “tea”. So in Chinese thinking it would become “ This kind tea’s taste is very good.” With this idea in mind, we can do more similar sentences with 的.
See more examples:
那个牌子的相机很贵。The cameras of that bread are very expensive. or “that brand’s cameras are very expensive” (because the speaker is pointing out that “the cameras under that brand” are expensive)
3. When的 is between an adjective and a noun, using to modify a noun
Example: 聪明的孩子。 Smart kid
聪明 is an adjective the sentence above, but adjectives can’t be used directly modifying the noun like English. Therefore, it is not ok to say “聪明孩子”.
For example: 我喜欢聪明的孩子。I like smart kids.
我喜欢好吃的食物。I like to eat delicious food.
4. If the sentence is without any nouns after the adjective, then 的 is not necessary to use.
For example: 这个孩子很聪明。This kid is very smart.
中国菜很好吃。 Chinese food is delicious.