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How to Distinguish between “的,” “地” and “得” in Chinese

“的,” “地” and “得” are the three most common structural particles in Chinese, and they are all pronounced as “de,” so it is difficult for many Chinese learners to distinguish them, and even many Chinese students can not distinguish them correctly.

Guo Lingyun
Guo Lingyun
Book lesson

“的,” “地” and “得” are the three most common structural particles in Chinese, and they are all pronounced as “de,” so it is difficult for many Chinese learners to distinguish them, and even many Chinese students can not distinguish them correctly. But this article gives you a good way to distinguish them.

Differences in “的,” “地” and “得” usage

“Attribute+的+noun”

“的” comes before the noun or gerund, such as “开心的学生(happy student),” “我的书(my book).”

“学生(student)” and “书(book)” are all nouns, and the contents before “的” act as the attributes of the two nouns respectively. As we know, attribute refers to the modifying or defining elements in front of the noun and the attributive elements in front of “的” can be adjectives, nouns, pronouns, verbs, etc. But the content behind “的” can only be the noun or gerund.

“Adverbial+地+verb”

“地” comes before the verb, such as “开心地跑(run happily).”  “跑(run)”  is a “verb,” so if you want to use something to modify “跑,”  you need to put “地” in front of it. (Note: Some Chinese words can be used as both adjectives and adverbs. For example, “开心” is an adjective when it comes before “学生” and it is an adverb when it comes before “跑”).

“Verb+得+complement”

“得” comes after a verb or adjective, and the content after “得” is a supplement to the previous verb or adjective.  For example, “跑得快”(快=fast), “开心得很”(很=very).

Summary

In most cases, “的” comes before the noun or gerund, “地” comes before the verb, and “得” comes after the verb or adjective.

Little practice

可爱()狗

认真()写字

她跑()很快

Have you finished these three exercises?  If you are not sure of their answers, feel free to ask me.

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Guo Lingyun

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