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Level 2 Lesson 23.1 – He Said To Me, Smiling.

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Dynamic / Aspect Particle 着 in Chinese | Compare Adverb 正在 vs. 在

In today's video lesson we’ll compare Adverb 正在 vs. 在 and the Dynamic / Aspect Particle 着 in Chinese. We'll also learn how to say to do something to someone with Preposition 对.

  • Compare Adverb 正在 vs. 正
  • Dynamic / Aspect Particle 着 in Chinese
  • The Verb 1 (Object1)着 Verb 2(Object2) Structure
  • How to say to do something to someone with Preposition 对 (III). See also (I) and (II)

VOCABULARY


GRAMMAR


Grammar 1: Compare Adverb 正在 vs. 在 · HSK 2

We have learn Adverb 在 before,  suggesting "in process of (+ doing something)". Adverb 正在 also suggests that the action is in progress and is continuous.

For example, the following two sentences have the same meaning:

  • yùndòngyuán zài liànxí qízìxíngchē
    运动员在练习骑自行车。
    (The) athletes "are in process of" practicing riding bicycles.
  • yùndòngyuán zhèngzài liànxí qízìxíngchē
    运动员正在练习骑自行车。
    (The) athletes "are in process of" practicing riding bicycles.

If we have to point out their differences, 正在 not only emphasizes that the state of the action is “in progress”, but also emphasizes more that the action is “in progress” “at the time of something”, even though the “time” may not be specified but only implied by the context.

 

正在 and 在can both be used with the Modal Particle 呢 put at the end of a declarative sentence, suggesting that the action or the status is continuing.

For example,

  • tāmen zài huá chuán ne
    他们在划船呢。
    They "are in process of" paddling boats.
  • tāmen zhèngzài huá chuán ne
    他们正在划船呢。
    They "are in process of" paddling boats.

 

Grammar 2: Dynamic / Aspect Particle 着 in Chinese · HSK 2

Just like 了(le) and 过(guo), 着 is an Aspect Particle, also known as Dynamic Particle.

The Dynamic / Aspect Particle 着 is used right after an Verb to suggest that an action or a state is “in progress and continuing”, and that it is happening at that specific time of something.

Subject + Verb  (+ Object)

For example,

  • fúwùyuán shuō zhe Pǔtōnghuà
    服务员说着普通话。
    (The) server is speaking Mandarin.
  • tā zuò zhe
    他坐着。
    He is sitting.

 

When saying the ACTION is “in progress and continuing”, 着 can usually be used with adverb “正在” “在” and/or Modal Particle “呢”.

Subject + 正在/在 + Verb  (+ Object)

Subject + 正在/在 + Verb  (+ Object) + 呢

For example,

  • tā zhèngzài / zài gěi wǒmen sòng wàimài
    他正在/在给我们送外卖。
    He is delivering delivery food for us.
  • wǒ zhàngfu zhèngzài / zài kāichuán ne
    我丈夫正在/在开船呢!
    My husband is driving the boat!

 

For negation, we can follow this structure:

Subject +  + Verb  (+ Object)

For example,

  • wǒ méi chuān zhe nǐ de yīfu
    我没穿着你的衣服。
    I am not wearing your clothes.
  • mén méi guān zhe, nǐ jìnlai ba
    门没关着,你进来吧!
    (The) door is not closed, you (can) come in!

 

Grammar 3: The Verb 1 (Object1)着 Verb 2(Object2) Structure · HSK 2

Also because Verb 着 means an action is “in progress and continuing”, we have this very very useful structure:

Verb1 (Object1)  Verb2 (Object2)

It means that while the Verb 2 is happening, Verb 1 is also in progress and continuing. For example,

  • háizi kū zhe duì māma shuō, "māma wǒ xiǎng nǐ"
    孩子哭着对妈妈说:“妈妈我想你!”
    (The) child said to (their) mom(,) crying, "Mom I miss you!"
  • wǒmen pǎo zhe huíjiā bǐ zǒu zhe huíjiā kuài
    我们跑着回家比走着回家快。
    We go home(,) running(,) compared with (we) go home(,) walking(,) (is) faster.

Grammar 4: How to Say to Do Something to Someone With Preposition 对 · HSK 3

We’ve learned two usages of Preposition 对 before and in today's lesson we'll learn the third one.

  1. Preposition 对 suggesting "(the relationships of) treating from a person to another person" 
  2. Preposition 对 suggesting "(the relationships of) treating from a thing/behavior to a person" 
  3.  NEW  Preposition 对 suggesting "target of action"

The third one is what we going to discuss in this lesson: 对 A Do something, means that A is the target of the action, or that the action is done targeting towards A.

For example,

  • tā duì wǒ shuō le yí jiàn shìqing
    他对我说了一件事情。
    He said one thing to me.
  • nà ge háizi duì wǒ xiào zhe
    那个孩子对我笑着。
    That child is smiling to/at me.
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