If we can muster up the energy after a long day of work, we probably should do something good for our health, like one of the exercises we mentioned in our exercise post a couple of weeks ago.
So, you know how to say what your hobby might be (like how I love to 跳舞 (tiàowǔ) dance,) but how do you say how well you do something? Or ask how well someone else does something?
Well, there’s a particle for that! It’s called 得 (de,) and it gets used in between a verb and a description of that verb (it also has other uses, but let’s not get confused straight away.)
How about a sample conversation?
A: 你有什么爱好？ (nǐ yǒu shénme àihào?) What’s your hobby?
B: 我爱好跳舞。 (wǒ àihào tiàowǔ.) My hobby is dancing.
A: 你跳得怎么样？ (nǐ tiào de zěnmeyàng?) How good are you at dancing?
B: 我跳得不错！ (wǒ tiào de bù cuò!) I’m not bad!
Wait a minute, what happened there? To understand why the second part of 跳舞 (tiàowǔ) got cut off, we have to explain a little bit about separable (离合词, [líhécí]) versus non-separable verbs. In Chinese, there are both kinds, you see, and these are special verbs that come with some rules …
- Because a separable verb already has an object, a separable verb cannot be followed by another object.
- When you separate a verb, you place the extra information in between the two halves.
- With Chinese verb duplication and separable verbs, you only duplicate the verb portion, not both parts!
That means the missing part (舞 [wǔ]) is gone because of omission! Actually, the entire sentence structure (and what would be used if there was no context of what you were talking about) would be:
你跳舞跳得怎么样？ (nǐ tiàowǔ tiào de zěnmeyàng?) How good are you at dancing?
But it sounds pretty stiff and verbose, so if there’s the opportunity to omit parts, that’s perfectly fine!
After that, it’s pretty easy. You just replace question words with statements, so 怎么样 (zěnmeyàng) gets replaced with the description of how well you do <x>.
Of course, if you’d like to practise this or any other aspects of Chinese learning, don’t be afraid to contact us and book in a lesson!
What do you do with your spare time? Are you good at it? 😛
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