(#2) Apostrophe-s / 的

In english, when you want to express something belongs to another, or another person, we use apostrophe-s, or ‘s.

In chinese, we use 的 de4 to express.

钱! wo3 de4 qian2: My money!
是我shi4 wo3 de4: It’s mine!

Again, using “我的“ wo3 de4 can replace ‘my’ or ‘mine’.

钱! ni3 de4 qian2: Your money!
是你shi4 ni3 de4: It’s yours!

钱! ta1 de4 qian2: His money!
是他shi4 ta1 de4: It’s his!

钱! ta1 de4 qian2: Her money!
是她shi4 ta1 de4 : It’s hers!

Let’s be a little less mercenary and talk about something else. “的” can be used in other ways similar to how apostrophe-s is used in english.

Friend’s: 朋友 peng2 you3 de4

Mother’s: 妈妈 ma1 ma1 de4

Today’s weather: 今天天气 jin1 tian1 de4 tian1 qi4

School’s bookshop:学校书店 xue2 xiao4 de4 shu1 dian4

Dont worry too much about the vocabulary first. Just look at the “的”.

Also sometimes “的” is dropped when it is absolutely clear, or when it is not the focus point of the conversation.

If you want to say “My friend is clever”, and your emphasis is on ‘clever’, then you can say 我朋友很聪明, dropping the 的。

Comparing to when you want to emphasize that MY friend is clever (probably not someone else’s friend), then you can say 我朋友很聪明。

If it is too confusing, let’s revisit this later. For now, remember that basic use for “的”.

New Vocabulary

  • de4
  • qian2 money
  • 朋友 peng2 you3 friend
  • 妈妈 ma1 ma1 mother
  • 学校 xue2 xiao4 school
  • 书店 shu1 dian4 bookshop
  • 聪明 cong1 ming2 clever
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