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Answer to Tricky but Essential Grammar: “把(bǎ)”

Mar. 16, 2015

Correct Answer: A

For most Chinese learners, “把()” seems like one of the most difficult sentence structures in Chinese Grammar. However, it is also one of the most often-used terms in our daily lives, so it is essential to learn the “把()” structure well. With the following text, you can learn the basics and most common usage of the “把()” structure.

Firstly, you should know that a basic sentence in the Chinese language is formed with a subject-verb-object (SVO) word order, the same as in English:

Subject + Verb Phrase + Object

Examples

Wǒ dǎsǎo le fángjiān.
我    打扫  了   房间。
I cleaned the house.

Tā zhuāzhù le xiǎotōu.
他     抓住   了  小偷。
He caught the thief.

In the Chinese language, a “把()” structure is a sentence in which the object of the sentence (the noun that is having some action done to it) appears after the subject and before the verb, preceded by a “把().”

The sentence structure is: Subject + 把 + Object + Verb Phrase

In this structure, the subject takes some action on the object to make it change. This “把()” structure emphasizes the action(verb) by with which the change to the object is made. In some instances, it can be translated as the English for “have,” “make,” and “let.”

Examples

Wǒ dǎsǎo le fángjiān.   Wǒ bǎ fángjiān dǎsǎo le.
我    打扫  了 房间。 =  我  把   房间     打扫  了。
I cleaned the house. I made the house clean.

Tā zhuāzhù le xiǎotōu.  Tā  bǎ xiǎotōu zhuā zhù le.
他     抓住   了 小偷。= 他 把  小偷      抓    住  了。
He caught the thief. He made the thief get caught.

Lǎopo: Qīnàide, wǒ jīntiān jiābān, nǐ qù jiē háizi ba.
老婆:  亲爱的,我 今天   加班,你 去 接 孩子 吧。
Wife: Honey, I’m working overtime today. Please go pick up our son.

Lǎogōng: Hǎode. Wǒ xiān bǎ háizi jiē huílái, zài zuòfàn.
老公:       好的。 我  先  把  孩子 接 回来,再  做饭。
Husband: OK. I will get our son picked up first and then cook the dinner.

In our test, we can use the “把()” structure to express the meaning of “He donated his books to the children in the poverty-stricken areas.” So the answer is A.

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