Can someone explain this sentece?

October 31, 2009, 07:59 PM posted in General Discussion

tāde liǎn hóng de xiàng píngguǒ yīyàng
Her face is red like an apple.

It's in the expansion for the candy lesson at intermediate level. What I'm not getting is the "得". What's that "得" doing there, grammatically speaking? Is this a pattern? Can I say "她的脸小苹果一样" for "Her face is small like an apple"? Or "我可爱得像小狗一样" for "I'm cute as a puppy"?

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October 31, 2009, 08:03 PM

Oh, for comparison, the next expansion sentence is "狐狸一样聪明", tā xiàng húli yīyàng cōngming, she's as smart as a fox. So why isn't the first sentence "她的脸像苹果一样红(色的)"? Can I say that, too? If so, should the "色的" be there, or not?

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October 31, 2009, 10:08 PM

Simon I think the English translation for 她的苹果一样。 would have been better rendered as "She blushed as red as an apple." "Her face turned as red as an apple." (in English that's a bit more natural than "Her face turned red like an apple".)

The 红 there is a Verb, to turn red, to blush.

This is a pattern; I would post links to a good dicussion if I knew of one:

Verb     +    +  Complement
                       (how? / to what degree?)
红             得    像苹果一样
blushed     as red as an apple
(thinking literally here, you could interpret this as "blushed so that her face became [red] like an apple")

狐狸一样聪明。  "He's as smart as a fox."

In the same pattern you could say 她的脸像苹果一样红。 (without the 色的), and for that the English translation would be "Her face is red like an apple." or "Her face is as red as an apple."

I also see 她的脸像红苹果。 "Her face is like a (little) red apple." I think this denotes that the she is adorable, probably describing a small child.

她的脸小苹果一样。 for "Her face is small like an apple" wouldn't really work, because apples are not generally agreed upon as being small.

我可爱得像小狗一样。 for "I'm cute as a puppy"
Don't know about this one, maybe not. What I mean is, there probably is a word (not 可爱) that goes with 小狗 in the way "cute" goes with "puppy" in our English minds, but I don't know what that would be.

Hope this helps some.

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October 31, 2009, 10:11 PM


Off the top of my head I can't explain it,but there was a good QW [number 106] here:

..that went through the usage of 得

。。good luck mate. :)

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October 31, 2009, 11:19 PM

脸红 is a verb "to blush" according to my dictionary, which I am going to assume is an action. My grammar book says 得 after an action verb introduces the result of that action, i.e. blushed until as red as an apple.

I remember a old Elly from about 2 years ago where someone had 长得像 something. I remember the explanation was like "oh, you resemble something, but in this case you've grown to resemble them". So I suppose you would use it in a situation where something has changed in order for something to resemble something else.

The problem is this only begs the question of "what the hell is that 的 doing if 脸红 is the verb, where is the 脸?Or maybe saying 我的脸脸红 just sounds stupid.

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October 31, 2009, 11:40 PM


Here the "红" is an adjective, but not a verb (at least in Chinese grammar). For example, in the phrase "天黑了" (The sky turned dark), the "黑" is an adjective, and the same is true for "红了". Actually, the line between adjectives and verbs is not so clear in Chinese. Thankfully, both verbs and adjectives can be followed by the "得".

我家的小狗胖得快要走不动路了!(胖 is an adjective here)

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October 31, 2009, 11:40 PM

(她的)脸 is the Subject;  红 is the Verb.

Oh well, forget that!

My face turned red.  我的脸红了。
Yes it really has.
Sorry Simon and everybody (esp the translator of the sentence).

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November 01, 2009, 01:43 AM

Hi sebire

As you said, "脸红" is a verb (blush), which I also think is a little confusing. Probably the verb is originated in the phrase "我的脸红了", where the 红 is an adjective. In short, a frequently used phrase can be "promoted" to a word and listed in a dictionary, as is often the case in Chinese. Conversely, "脸红" is perhaps not regarded as "one word" (but as a phrase) in classical Chinese (文言), where more "one-character words" are used than in modern Mandarin.

The same holds for "丢脸" (lose face, a verb).