Chinese verbs vs. English verbs
Chinese verbs differ from English verbs in
some significant ways. For one, many Chinese verbs
can become nouns without undergoing any sort of change. In English,
a verb is changed into its gerund form to act as a noun (e.g. "to
swim" becomes "swimming"). In Mandarin, verbs do not
change form in this way.
Except for in a few cases, Chinese verbs must have an object- even when
acting as a noun. The object can sometimes be understood from
Verb Phrases (VP)
Verb Phrases are made up of a verb and its object. The object can
be made up of another VP, an NP (noun
phrase), or a sentence. As mentioned before, in some cases
the object is understood, and in a very few cases there is no object
(similar to "intransitive verbs" in English).
There is a special sort of verb that does not fit this general
description, sometimes called a "stative verb", that is
comparable to the English part of speech "adjective." They
function syntactically much like other verbs, but semantically as
adjectives. They are not represented in these vocabulary pages on
verbs. They are briefly discussed in Mandarin
Grammar Lesson 3.
Noun Phrases (NP)
Noun phrases are made up of a noun and its descriptors. The
descriptors of a noun can be adjective phrases, which in turn can be verb
phrases or noun phrases, so the descriptions can become quite complex.
An NP's descriptors come immediately before it and are separated from the
noun by the particle de.
(see Mandarin Grammar
Mandarin sentences consist of a topic and a comment on that topic.
In general, the topic is an NP and the comment is a VP, corresponding to
the English components of "subject" and "predicate",
although there are times where this is not the case. Some verbs take
a sentence as their object.
Some verbs that take an NP as their object can also take a VP as an
indirect object that describes the reason for the action on the noun.
When combined, these will appear to form a sentence, but the independent
sentence formed has a fundamentally different meaning than in the original
(My use here of "indirect object" may be inaccurate, as
these VP's perform more of an adverbial function than that of an object.
A better term may be "object complement" or just "adverbial
phrase", but I am using "indirect object" since that
is a term more familiar to most people.)
Many verbs have a default object. These objects are added to the
verb when there is no other object to add. These are included with
the verb when the verb acts as a noun and there is no other object to use.
Resultative complements modify a verb. They follow directly after
the verb and often separate the verb from its object. This
vocabulary list will not go into detail, but they are mentioned here
because the verbs are often used with a resultative complement in place of
an object. Resultative complements will be discussed in Mandarin
(still to come) in relation to aspect markers.
Verbs 1 | Verbs 2 | Verbs 3 | Verbs 4