The Use of “De” in Chinese Language (Premium Mandarin Lesson 5)
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A student asks the following question about Lesson 5:

I was wondering why the word “de” was used in line 17, Words and Phrases, in this lesson.

I thought at first it was the genitive (possessive) particle but that seemed wrong.

I looked it up on DimSum and found that it was probably the word “really” or “truly” that was being said.

I note that the pinyin in that case should be “ dí ”  not “de “ although it is the same Chinese character  的.

Perhaps you could confirm or otherwise?

The Answer

Like you said, the particle “De” is used to express possession, e.g.
我的 Wǒ De (my/mine)
你的 Nǐ De (your/yours)
我朋友的 Wǒ PéngYou De (my friend’s)

However,
“De” is also use to express adjectival attributive (to qualify nouns), e.g.

好的书 Hǎo De Shū (good book)
漂亮的小姐 PiàoLiang De XiǎoJie (pretty girl)

In the example that you’ve mentioned:

是的 Shì De (lit. it is so)

“De” is used to imply that what someone has previously stated is correct, so
(what you have said) is correct.

Like you’ve already noticed, the same character 的 also has another pronunciation “Di”.
I’m guessing you meant the word: 的确 DíQuè which also means true/correct. Please note, that this pronunciation is far less common, and that for all grammatical purposes, “De” is used instead).

One Comment

  1. Tony james wrote:

    lesson 32 refers to the zoo and the animals Koala and Kangaroo,the literal meanings help me remember their names, e.g Koala = shudai xiong a bear in a tree with a pocket.

    Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

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