Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hello, 大家好 (Dàjiā hǎo)! Welcome to Chinese Whiteboard lesson. I am Yinru. In the Chinese language, there are many single character structural particles that don’t necessarily have meanings but they are so important that they are the nails and the glues that hold the sentence together.
For example, these three words: 的 (de), 地 (dì), and 得 (dé).
Those three words are more functional than meaningful. When they are used as structural particle in a sentence, they are pronounced as [de]. That’s probably why many people including Chinese native speakers, they use them incorrectly. So in this lesson, we are going to talk about the correct ways to use them.
First, let’s look at this 的 (de).
This one is very easy to tell because they are only used before nouns. 的 (de) and then you use a noun after that. For example, 闹闹是个聪明的孩子 (Nàonao shì gè cōngming de háizi.). Here 的 (de) and it’s before 孩子 (háizi), which is child. 聪明的孩子 (cōngming de háizi) means a smart kid, smart child. And 闹闹 (Nàonao) is a name, 是 (shì), is, 个 (gè) is short for 一个 (yīgè). So in casual language, in casual speech, you can say 个 (gè) instead of 一个 (yīgè). So 闹闹 (Nàonao) is a smart kid, 聪明的孩子 (cōngming de háizi).
第二个 (dì èr gè), and second one, 我买了一顶可爱的帽子 (Wǒ mǎile yī dǐng kě'ài de màozi). 的 (de) is before 帽子 (màozi), hat, and 可爱的帽子 (kě'ài de màozi), a cute hat. 我买了 (wǒ mǎile), I bought 一顶 (yī dǐng), 一顶 (yī dǐng), here 顶 (dǐng) is a measure word for hat or for anything you put on top of your head. 一顶帽子 (yī dǐng màozi) and 一顶什么样的帽子 (yī dǐng shénme yàng de màozi), what kind of hat? 一顶可爱的帽子 (yī dǐng kě'ài de màozi).
Now the third one. 那是爸爸的鞋子 (Nà shì bàba de xiézi).的鞋子 (de xiézi). 鞋子 (xiézi) is the noun here and we put 的 (de) before a noun. That is dad’s shoes. That is the way we use 的 (de).
Now let’s move on to 地 (dì). To make it more clear, I will pronounce this word as [dì]. 地 (dì). How do we use this word 地 (dì)? We use adjective, then 地 (dì) and then a verb. So 地 (dì) is used between an adjective and a verb.
Now let’s look at some examples.
所有人都开心地笑了 (Suǒyǒu rén dōu kāixīn de xiàole). 地 (de) is here and 开心 (kāixīn) is an adjective, happy. 笑 (xiào) is the verb here. 开心地笑 (kāixīn de xiào) means to laugh or smile happily.
所有人 (suǒyǒu rén), everybody, all people. 都 (dōu), it’s all. And 开心地笑了 (kāixīn de xiàole), 笑了 (xiàole) means...the 了(le) here indicates the change of status, meaning they are all...they are now laughing. So everybody now is laughing happily, 开心地笑了 (kāixīn de xiàole).
他大口大口地吃了起来 (Tā dàkǒu dàkǒu de chīle qǐlái). 地 (de) is here. So before 地 (de), this, 大口大口 (dàkǒu dàkǒu) is an adjective. It is used to describe a big mouthful. Let’s see. 大 (dà) is big, 口 (kǒu) is mouth and then again big mouth. That just means ah big mouthful. And 吃 (chī) of course is to eat. A verb plus 了起来 (le qǐlái), 什么了起来 (shénmele qǐlái), 动词了起来 (dòngcíle qǐlái) means started to do something. So he started to eat with big mouthful. 他大口大口地吃了起来 (Tā dàkǒu dàkǒu de chīle qǐlái). Adjective, 地 (de) and then verb.
下一个 (xià yīgè), next one. 你能不能轻轻地说话 (Nǐ néng bùnéng qīng qīng de shuōhuà)? Okay, 地 (de) is here and before 地 (de) is 轻轻 (qīng qīng). 轻轻 (qīng qīng) means quiet or gentle. 说话 (shuōhuà) is the verb here, to talk. So 轻轻地说话 (qīng qīng de shuōhuà) together means talk gently. 你能不能 (nǐ néng bùnéng) - 能 (néng), can, 不能 (bùnéng), not can or can’t. So can you talk quietly? This is more of an imperative than a question. So that’s asking someone please talk quietly. 你能不能轻轻地说话 (Nǐ néng bùnéng qīng qīng de shuōhuà)? It’s about – it’s more of a complaint. Please talk gently, 轻轻地说话 (qīng qīng de shuōhuà). Even though it’s a question. So remember to use 地 (de) before – I mean, sorry...Remember to use 地 (de) after an adjective before a verb. So that’s how we use 地 (de).
Move on to the third one, 得 (dé). I’ll say as [dé] to differentiate, 得 (dé). We can put 得 (dé) after an adjective or a verb, and then 得 (de) and then a complement. Complement in Chinese, we call it 补语 (bǔyǔ). So what is 补语 (bǔyǔ)? 补语 (bǔyǔ) or complement is something that you use to give more information about what you mentioned before. So it is to give more information for the action mentioned before or for the status mentioned before. Let’s take a look at the examples.
The first example, you may hear this a lot when you are making efforts to speak Chinese, you may get this compliment. Another different kind of compliment, not this complement. This praise. You may hear 你的中文说得不错 (Nǐ de Zhōngwén shuō dé bùcuò). 得 (de) is here. So 说 (shuō), a verb, 不错 (bùcuò) is an adverb but it’s also a complement here. So 说得不错 (shuō de bùcuò) is to speak something, speak well. 你的中文 (nǐ de Zhōngwén), your Chinese is spoken well or your Chinese is – you speak Chinese well, 说得不错 (shuō de bùcuò). 你的中文说得不错 (Nǐ de Zhōngwén shuō de bùcuò). Or you can also say 你的中文说得很好 (Nǐ de Zhōngwén shuō de hěn hǎo), 你的中文说得不好 (Nǐ de Zhōngwén shuō de bù hǎo), 我的中文说得不好 (Wǒ de Zhōngwén shuō de bù hǎo). So 说得不错 (shuō dé bùcuò) - 说 (shuō), verb, 得 (dé) and the complement.
Second one. 小明激动得尖叫了起来 (Xiǎomíng jīdòng de jiān jiàole qǐlái). So 得 (de) is here and 激动 (jīdòng) - 激动 (jīdòng) is a verb meaning to get excited or it can be an adjective meaning Excited. So we have verb and then 得 (dé). Now this complement is to describe or to give more information about how excited he is. He is so excited that he started screaming 尖叫 (jiān jiào), to scream. 什么了起来 (shénmele qǐlái), like here, 什么了起来 (shénmele qǐlái) is started to do something, 了起来 (le qǐlái), 吃了起来 (chīle qǐlái), 尖叫了起来 (jiān jiàole qǐlái). He is so excited that he started to scream. So 得 (dé) before a verb and then a complement.
Next one. 你怎么穿得像个企鹅一样 (Nǐ zěnme chuān de xiàng gè qǐ'é yīyàng)? This is funny. Let’s find out what it means. 你怎么 (nǐ zěnme), how come you 穿 (chuān), 穿 (chuān) is the verb here. I mean 穿 (chuān) is always a verb. 穿 (chuān) means to dress or to put on clothes. 穿得像个企鹅一样 (chuān de xiàng gè qǐ'é yīyàng) - verb, 得 (dé) and then the complement. The complement, let’s look at the complement in this sentence. 像个企鹅一样 (xiàng gè qǐ'é yīyàng), 像什么一样 (xiàng shénme yīyàng). 像什么一样 (xiàng shénme yīyàng) means to look like something. And to look like what? 企鹅 (qǐ'é), a penguin. 个 (gè) is short for 一个 (yīgè). 像一个企鹅 (xiàng yīgè qǐ'é) or 像个企鹅 (xiàng gè qǐ'é), it’s the same. Look like a penguin. How come you are dressed like a penguin? 穿 (chuān), verb, 得 (dé) and then a complement. So this is the way we use 得 (dé). Okay. If you look closer or look closely, you may find that well, we can use 得 (de) after an adjective. We can use this 地 (de) after an adjective too. So how do you...what’s the difference? How do I know when to use this one or when to use this one. Okay. Here is the great thumb of the rule. You got to find out. You got to know where the descriptive part is. If the descriptive part is before a [de] you use this 地 (dì) and if the descriptive part is after [de], you use this 得 (dé).
Okay now, let’s look at the examples again. So the descriptive part of this sentence 开心地笑了 (kāixīn de xiàole). 怎么笑了 (zěnme xiàole), how did they laugh, 开心地笑了 (kāixīn de xiàole). So the descriptive part is 开心 (kāixīn) here. So we use 开心地 (kāixīn dì), 开心地笑了 (kāixīn de xiàole), descriptive part in front or before the particle. 大口大口地吃 (dàkǒu dàkǒu de chī) - So how did he eat? He eat with big mouthful, 大口大口地吃 (dàkǒu dàkǒu de chī). So here 轻轻地说话 (qīng qīng de shuōhuà), 怎么样说话 (zěnme yàng shuōhuà), how can you talk? How to talk? Talk gently, quietly. So the descriptive part is before the particle. And for this where this 得 (de) the descriptive part is after, after the 得 (de) which is the complement. So how do you speak Chinese? You speak Chinese well. So the descriptive part 不错 (bùcuò) is after 得 (de). And he is so excited. How excited? He is so excited that he’s starting to scream. So the descriptive part is here. 像个企鹅一样 (xiàng gè qǐ'é yīyàng) is to describe how is he dressed. How is this person dressed? So remember, the descriptive part is after the particle. That’s how you tell these two words apart. All righty.
Now, let’s look at more examples in the quiz part. Let’s fill in the blanks with either or with 的 (de) or 地 (dì) or 得 (dé). The first one, which one will you use? 车慢慢[de]停了下来 (Chē màn man de tíngle xiàlái). 慢慢 (màn man) is an adjective. 停 (tíng) is a verb. So this one fits, 慢慢地停了下来 (màn man de tíngle xiàlái). So it means the car slowly came to a stop, 慢慢地停下来 (màn man de tíngle xiàlái), descriptive part and the verb; adjective, 地 (de) and then verb. 车慢慢地停了下来 (Chē màn man de tíngle xiàlái).
第二个 (dì èr gè), 这不是我认识[de]你 (Zhè bùshì wǒ rènshi de nǐ). 这不是我认识[de]你 (Zhè bùshì wǒ rènshi de nǐ). So the blank is before a pronoun or a pronoun is – can also be considered a part of noun. So it’s a noun here and the blank is before a noun. So no doubt. We use this 的 (de). 这不是我认识的你 (Zhè bùshì wǒ rènshi de nǐ). 这不是 (zhè bùshì), this is not, 我认识的你 (wǒ rènshi de nǐ), what kind of 你 (nǐ),what kind of you, the one I know. 认识 (rènshi) means to know, 我认识的你 (wǒ rènshi de nǐ) is the you that I know. This is not the you that I know. 这不是我认识的你 (Zhè bùshì wǒ rènshi de nǐ).
第三个 (dì sān gè), the third one. 我昨晚加班所以睡[de]晚 (Wǒ zuó wǎn jiābān suǒyǐ shuì de wǎn). Which [de] would you use? 我昨晚加班 (wǒ zuó wǎn jiābān), I last night 加班 (jiābān), to work overtime. 所以 (suǒyǐ), so, 睡 (shuì) is a verb, to sleep, 晚 (wǎn) is an adjective, late. So I went to sleep late. Sleep, a verb and then 得 (dé) and then the complement. How did I go to sleep? I go to sleep late or I went to sleep late. So 所以睡得晚 (suǒyǐ shuì de wǎn), or 睡得早 (shuì de zǎo), I go to sleep early. 睡得好 (shuì de hǎo), I sleep well. 睡得晚 (shuì de wǎn), 我昨晚加班所以睡得晚 (Wǒ zuó wǎn jiābān suǒyǐ shuì de wǎn).
第四个 (dì sì gè), 凯特灿烂[de]笑了 (Kǎitè cànlàn de xiàole). 凯特 (Kǎitè) is a name. It’s a translation for the name Kate, k-a-t-e. And 灿烂 (cànlàn) is an adjective. It’s originally used to describe something that’s bright like the sunshine. So 灿烂 (cànlàn) means bright and 笑 (xiào) is a verb, 笑了 (xiàole), 灿烂地笑了 (cànlàn de xiàole). 灿烂 (cànlàn), adjective and this is the descriptive part, how she smiled. She smiled brightly. The descriptive part is before the particle. So we choose this one 地 (de), 灿烂地笑了 (cànlàn de xiàole).
All right. The last one. It’s also about Kate’s smile. So 凯特什么笑容灿烂[de]像阳光一样 (Kǎitè shénme xiàoróng cànlàn de xiàng yángguāng yīyàng). So the first blank is before 笑容 (xiàoróng), smile, a noun. So we use this 的 (de). And her smile is bright, 像什么一样 (xiàng shénme yīyàng), 这里 (zhèlǐ), 像什么一样 (xiàng shénme yīyàng), look like 阳光 (yángguāng), sunlight, sunshine. So her smile is so bright, it’s just like the sunshine. And this is the complement which is the descriptive part after the particle. So we use this 得 (dé). So together, 凯特的笑容灿烂得像阳光一样 (Kǎitè shénme xiàoróng cànlàn de xiàng yángguāng yīyàng). It means Kate’s smile is as bright as the sunshine or is bright like the sunshine.
All right. This is the end of this lesson. In this lesson, we talked about the difference between these three [de], these three structural particles. So if you can use these three structural particles correctly, you will impress a lot of native speakers. I will see you in the next lesson. 我们下节课再见吧 (Wǒmen xià jié kè zàijiàn ba). Bye bye!

8 Comments

Hide
Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 11:33 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

你好 robert groulx!


不用谢。(Bú yòng xiè.) = No need for thanks. You're welcome. 😇

谢谢 (Xièxie) for studying with us, it's great to have you here!

Let us know if you have any questions.


Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Saturday at 09:57 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

thanks or the lesson


my favorite words are 凯特什么笑容灿烂[de]像阳光一样


robert

chris huff
Sunday at 08:27 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

She says that 地 is to be used after an adjective and before the verb. And in all cases, the examples she gives use adverbs and then 地 and then the verb. Adjectives describe nouns, adverbs describe verbs. Or...did I miss something?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 07:47 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Hitoshi,


Thank you for your comment. It is more than just structural difference. We can't turn this sentence "他大口大口地吃了起来" into "他吃了起来得大口大口" (not grammatical). It depends on what you want to express.


In this sentence, 他大口大口地吃了起来, "大口大口地" describes the action, how he's eating.

Another example: 他很努力地学习中文,可是还是说得不好。(He studies Chinese very hard, but he still can't speak it well.) "努力地" describes how he studies Chinese. 说得不好, describes the result, 不好, not well.


Hope it helps, let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Hitoshi
Saturday at 09:21 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

If it is just structural difference, can we make same sentence using 地 and 得 seperately?

Example

turn "他大口大口地吃了起来. " into " 他吃了起来得大口大口."


I can tell which "de" I should put in quiz, but i cannot tell when i should use which "de" especially 地 and 得 in making sentences.

ChineseClass101.com
Monday at 07:32 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Tais,


Thank you for your comment. 像 means 'to be like', 'to look like'. 一样 means 'the same', 'alike'. 像...一样 is an expression, it means 'to look like something', that two things are similar or the same in some way.


As always, let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Tais
Monday at 10:42 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

老师,why on the phrase: 你怎么穿得像个企鹅一样 you used 像 and 一样?Both words mean “like”, don’t they? Do you have to use them paired or...?


Sorry it doesn’t have anything to do with the class in question 😅 谢谢!