IV. Measure words substituting for nouns to avoid repetition

 

In English, the numeral, ‘one’, can be used to replace a noun after a demonstrative or an adjective to avoid repetition. In Chinese, the same purpose is achieved in two ways, depending on what is before the noun.

 

 

If a demonstrative or interrogative pronoun is before the noun, the appropriate measure word can substitute for the noun;

 

English:        demonstrative pronoun + one

                    These two books are both in foreign languages. This one is in Japanese; that one is in French.

Note that the numeral, ‘one’, replaces the noun, ‘book’.

 

Chinese:       demonstrative pronoun + measure word

                   Zhèi liǎng běn shū dōu shì wàiwén de. Zhèi běn shì Rìwén de, nèi běn shì Fǎwén de. 

                    这两本书都是外文的。这本是日文的,那本是法文的。

Note that the measure word, běn, replaces the noun, shūbook.

 

English:        interrogative pronoun + one

                    Which one of these two books is yours?

Note that the numeral, ‘one’, replaces the noun, ‘book’.

 

Chinese:       interrogative pronoun + measure word

                    Zhèi liǎng běn shū něi běn shì -de?           

这两本书哪本是你的?

Note that the measure word for book, běn, replaces the noun, shūbook.

 

If the noun being replaced is preceded by an adjective, it is replaced by de.

 

English:        adjective + one

                    A: Which one of these two books is yours?

                    B: The new one is mine.

Note that the numeral, ‘one’, replaces the noun, ‘book’.

 

Chinese:       adjective + de

                    A: Zhèi liǎng běn shū něi běn shì -de?  

                    这两本书哪本是你的?

                    B: Xīn de shì -de.

                    新的是我的。

Note that de replaces the noun, shūbook.