Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

4.7: Lesson 3 Grammar - Expressing close possession without 的 (de)

  • Page ID
    65626
  • Expressing possession in Chinese is accomplished with the particle 的 (de, “belonging”). But sometimes when certain relationships are involved, especially close relationships, it's more natural to drop the 的 (de). 

    Here are a couple cases where you can omit 的 (de):

    • When a close personal relationship is involved (family, close friends, boyfriends or girlfriends)
    • When an institutional or organizational relationship is involved (school, work)

    In these cases 的 (de) should be omitted. It doesn't sound as natural if you leave it in.

    Examples 

    • 我家很大。
      Wǒ jiā hěn dà.
      My house is very big.
       
    • 你哥哥很高。
      Nǐ gēge hěn gāo.
      Your big brother is very tall.
       
    • 这是我女朋友。
      Zhè shì wǒ nǚpéngyou.
      This is my girlfriend.
       
    • 她妈妈很漂亮。
      Tā māma hěn piàoliang.
      Her mom is very pretty.
       
    • 我们学校很大。
      Wǒmen xuéxiào hěn dà.
      Our school is big.
       
    • 他们公司在北京。
      Tāmen gōngsī zài Běijīng.
      Their company is in Bejing.
       
    • 你男朋友很帅。
      Nǐ nánpéngyou hěn shuài.
      Your boyfriend is very handsome.
       
    • 他儿子很有名。
      Tā érzi hěn yǒumíng.
      His son is really famous.
       
    • 我女儿会说英语。
      Wǒ nǚ'ér huì shuō Yīngyǔ.
      My daughter can speak English.
       
    • 他爸爸是我们公司的老板。
      Tā bàba shì wǒmen gōngsī de lǎobǎn.
      His dad is the boss of our company.

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

    *     *     *

    Any Questions? 

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