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2.7: Lesson 1 Grammar - Expressing Belonging with 的 (de)

  • Page ID
    65600
  • In Chinese, belonging is marked with the particle 的 (de), placed after the "owner" noun or noun phrase. This particle works in a similar way to apostrophe-"s" in English, but is used much more broadly in Chinese. Here I'll highlight just one of its simplest and most common usages.

    Structure 

    Noun 1 + 的 + Noun 2

    This means "Noun 1's Noun 2" (where Noun 2 belongs to Noun 1).

    The structure is super simple. It will take a bit of time before you realize how truly universal this pattern is. It doesn't matter whether the "Noun 1" is a person, place, or thing, or even if it's a pronoun ( like "he," "she," or "it"). The structure stays consistent.

    Examples 

    • 我的老师
      wǒ de lǎoshī
      my teacher
       
    • 你的手机
      nǐ de shǒujī
      your cell phone
       
    • 我们的钱
      wǒmen de qián
      our money
       
    • 他们的东西
      tāmen de dōngxi
      their stuff
       
    • 爸爸的车
      bàba de chē
      dad's car
       
    • 你们的菜
      nǐmen de cài
      your food
       
    • 北京的空气
      Běijīng de kōngqì
      Beijing's air
       
    • 公司的老板
      gōngsī de lǎobǎn
      the company's boss
       
    • 上海的天气
      Shànghǎi de tiānqì
      Shanghai's weather
       
    • 老师的朋友
      lǎoshī de péngyou
      teacher's friend

    [adapted from AllSet Learning Chinese Grammar Wiki, Creative Commons License BY-NC-SA 3.0]

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    Any Questions? 

    If you have any questions about this grammar point, please ask in the class forums!