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Paying Attention to Chinese Words of Time and Places

During the process of Chinese language learning, many foreign students often wonder how to learn Mandarin better because they often make mistakes in learning. For example, 房子and房间might be confusing for them. Both words have similarities in meanings and grammatical functions. If they can act as subjective, objective and attributive, they could be modified by quantifier phrase. For some example, we can say 房子很干净and房间很干净,房子的位置and房间的面积as well as一套房子and一个房间.

Of course, there are some differences between them. We can say他从房间出来but can’t say 他从房子出来. We say 我在房间but 我在房子is incorrect. 房间can be the objective of 从, 在and到 while房子need to add “里” which indicates the direction. The reason is that the thing that 房间indicate can be regarded as a place while that of 房子 can’t be a place. In other words, 房间can be both ordinary noun and locative noun but 房子can function as only ordinary noun.

When mentioning the locative nouns, one point that the foreign students who study Mandarin online need to notice is the word order when expressing time and place because they often make mistakes like 六点明天and在纽约市美国. They make such kind of mistakes because they are influenced by their mother tongues. The word order of time and place in Chinese languages are different from those in foreign languages like English.

In Chinese language, the order of words expressing time and places are mostly from the big to the small, that is, 年, 月, 日, 上午/下午/晚上, 点, 分 and 国, 省, 市, 县, 区, 镇, 村, 街道. However, students who learn Chinese language all know that the order in English is just the opposite with Chinese language. Therefore, much attention should be paid to the order of words expressing time and places in Chinese language. They need to read more complete sentence with exactly time and specific place.

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