The usage of “的”

The correct answer is




             Nà shì shénme?
Li Hua:那  是   什么?
What’s that?
             Wǒ de xīnshū.
Tom:我  的  新书。
It’s my new book.


This test aims to check your knowledge about adjectives as modifiers.
In the conversation, Tom answers, “我的新书 (Wǒ de xīnshū).” In this sentence, you might notice that there is no “的 (de)” between the adjective “新 (xīn)” and the noun “书 (shū)”. Generally speaking, when a single syllable adjective modifies a noun, there is no “的 (de)” between them.


大树 (dàshù): big tree;
蓝天 (lántiān): blue sky;
红花 (hónghuā): red flowers;
好孩子 (hǎo háizi): good child;
大眼睛 (dà yǎnjing): big eyes.
However, when a single syllable adjective is preceded by some qualifying element, e.g. 很 (hěn) etc., “的 (de)” is added to the adjective.


很旧的车 (hěn jiù de chē): very old car;
很好的孩子 (hěn hǎo de háizi): very good child;
很贵的衣服 (hěn guì de yīfu): very expensive.
Besides the above situation, there are some other examples, take a look at the following:
1. “的 (de)” used with two same single syllable adjectives to modify a noun.


高高的树 (gāogāo de shù): high tree
大大的眼睛 (dàdà de yǎnjing): big eyes
蓝蓝的天 (lánlán de tiān) blue sky
2.“的 (de)” used with two-syllable adjectives modifying a noun.


新鲜的空气 (xīnxiān de kōngqì): fresh air
漂亮的姑娘 (piàoliang de gūniang): beautiful girl


1. Which one of the following is incorrect? _____
A. 红色的叶子 (hóngsè de yèzi)
B. 冰冷的手 (bīnglěng de shǒu)
C. 清清水  (qīngqīng shuǐ)
2. What should be inserted into the sentence “这是一朵红_____花。(zhè shì yìduǒ hóng ___ huā.)”
A. 的 (de)
B. – —


1. C   When the same two single syllable adjectives modify a noun, “的”should be used. Therefore, 清清水 is incorrect. The correct way of saying would be 清清的水 (qīngqīng de shuǐ, clear water).
红色的叶子 (hóngsède yèzi): red leaves
冰冷的手 (bīnglěngde shǒu): cold hands
2. B When single syllable adjectives modify a noun, there is no “的” between them.

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10 thoughts on “The usage of “的””

  1. Gazeta de maine

    obviously like your web-site however you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very bothersome to inform the truth on the other hand I’ll definitely come back again.

  2. A good and straightforward lesson that made me understand the usage of ‘de’ and some text I had read earlier – where I wondered why ‘de’ was being used. Thank you for your good work.

  3. Great lesson! Was wondering why honghua did not require de, but hongse de yezi did? Why not hongye or hong yezi?

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