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How To Use The Structural Particle “地” In Chinese Grammar

The Structural Particle 地 is described as tǔyě de, as it contains 土 (tǔ) and 也 (yě). It behaves very much like the suffix -ly in English. That is, it marks adverbs, or converts adjectives into adverbs (It goes on the end of adjectives to make them into adverbs), which describe how the action is carried out (the manner, mood or method of the action). (Besides, you can check the detailed explanation video about the difference between 的 vs 地 vs 得 as well as more HSK3 related grammar tutorial videos at here.)

1. The general structure is the positive form: adjective/ adverb + 地 + adjective / verb

For example: 孩子们快乐地唱歌。Háizimen Kuàilè de chànggē. The children sing happily.

2. Modal verbs and negations should be placed before adverbs

An adverb in the 地 construction should always be placed before 地, which will then be followed by the verb.

Example:

老师应该认真地讲课。Lǎoshī yīnggāi rènzhēn de jiǎngkè. The teacher should give lectures conscientiously.

他不努力工作。Tā bù nǔlì gōngzuò。He doesn’t work hard.

3. Short phrases can also be placed before 地 to describe how actions are carried out

For example: 他一字一句地跟我说。Tā yí zì yí jù de gēn wŏ shuō. He said to me, word by word.

4. Some adjectives may be reduplicated to indicate a greater degree of the attribute or state

(1) A monosyllabic adverb should be duplicated

每天妈妈都早早(儿)地起床。Měitiān māmā dōu zǎozao (er) de qǐchuáng. Mom gets up very early every morning.

The adjective 早 (early) will become 早早儿 (very early).

Note: The duplicated word should be pronounced in first tone when it is followed by 儿 (Beijing accent), with the stress on the duplicated word. If 儿 is not used, the duplicated word should be pronounced in the same way as the original one: 每天妈妈都早早地起床。

(2) A di-syllablic adverb in the 地 construction can also be duplicated for emphasis according to the following pattern: AB → AABB

Example: 她高高兴兴地去学校。Tā gāo gao xìng xing de qù xuéxiào. She goes to school very happily. /She goes to school in a very happy mood.

The adjective 高兴(gāoxìng) will become 高高兴兴(gāo gao xìng xing).

Note: The second syllable is usually pronounced in the neutral tone.

5. Use 地 in the 把 (bǎ) and 被 (bèi) sentences

The 地 construction should be placed before 把 and after 被 and its agents.

爸爸紧紧地把孩子抱着。Bàba jǐn jin de bǎ háizi bàozhe. Dad held the kid tightly.

孩子被爸爸紧紧地抱着。Háizi bèi bàba jǐn jin de bàozhe. The kid is held tightly by his dad.

6. The differences between 地 construction and the 得 constructions

The main difference between these two constructions is that the adverbs in 地 construction describe the manner, mood or method in which the actions are carried out; but the adjectives in the 得 construction are the degree or result of the actions and sometimes they can refer to the objects of sentences.

For instance:

A. 他很快地喝完了水。Tā hěn kuài de hē wánle shuǐ.

B. 他水喝得很快。Tā shuǐ hē de hěn kuài.

他水喝得很快 the adverb 很多 refers to 水. The emphasis in the (地) sentence “A” is very much on how he drink the water.

In other words, the stress is on his manner of drinking the water, but the result of that might not be necessarily very fast. The “B”, (得) sentence implies that he only took very little time to finish the drinking. Let’s see another example:(Another example would be useful here, especially since it was originally planned. Otherwise, this is a really well written article, and I even learned many things from it.)

Exercises

Translate the following sentences into Chinese.

  1. He walked into the classroom quietly.
  2. The little girl sings very loudly.
  3. He always finishes eating very fast.
  4. You should have a good rest.
  5. The teacher has hung that picture on the wall carefully. (use 把 sentence)
  6. She put all her books into the schoolbag, one by one.

Rita Zhang

Rita is a professional Mandarin teacher, has been teaching more than 8 years. She enjoys digging more about Chinese grammar and culture work and helping more learners. Now she is working at the one-on-one online Chinese school TouchChinese.

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