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No.1 of 13Mandarin Chinese Grammar Patterns and Structures We Love to Hate

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的 (de) vs. 得 (de) vs. 地(de)

 

These three "de"s even sound the same! How can words be so similar, without meaning the same thing?

It boils down to this main difference: 的 is used with nouns and 得 is used with verbs. The last one, 地, is mainly used to modify verbs (like the “ly” in English).

1. Noun + 的 + Noun

Possessive words (my, your, her, his, our, their, etc.) don’t directly translate into one word in Chinese, you add 的 to the end of the pronoun (I – 我) to make it possessive (My – 我+的).

For example:

我的书
wǒ de shū
my book

2. Attribute + 的 + Noun

When 的 is used between an attribute and noun, it gives the noun the attribute:

很漂亮的老师
hěn piàoliang de lǎoshī
pretty teacher

4. Adj + 地 + Verb

This particle is mainly used as an adverb, like “ly” in English. It’s used before a verb.

For example:

慢慢地走
màn màn de zǒu
to walk slowly

5. Adj + 地 + Adj

地 can also be used to modify/qualify an adjective:

特别地珍贵
tè bié de zhēn guì
Particularly precious

 

3. Verb + 得 + State

This particle is used after a verb and indicates effect, degree, possibility, etc:

飞得快
fēi de kuài
to fly quickly

 

4. Adj + 地 + Verb

This particle is mainly used as an adverb, like “ly” in English. It’s used before a verb.

For example:

慢慢地走
màn màn de zǒu
to walk slowly

5. Adj + 地 + Adj

地 can also be used to modify/qualify an adjective:

特别地珍贵
tè bié de zhēn guì
Particularly precious

 

 

 

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