This website uses cookies. Find out more or .
par. used with an adjective or an attributive phrase; used to form a noun; used to emphasize the doer, time or place
Discussion of 的
To include posts you need to register at
There are three important structural particles, and 的 is one of them. The other two are 地 and 得. These structural particles indicate grammatical relations. Their pronunciation is exactly the same -- "de" with the neutral tone (you may search for 地 and 得 in trainhinese dictionary), however, they are written differently and they are not interchangeable.
的 occurs after an attributive modifier. It is the signal of attributive. For example:
- 找您的钱 your change
- 我的爱好 my hobby
- 长久的友谊 long-lasting friendship
When a nominal numeral-measure word phrase (in short: N-Mw phrase, E.g.1 ) is used to modify a noun, we should not use 的 between the phrase the modified word.
E.g. 1 一个人、一件衣服、一只猫
Please note that when the measure word in the N-Mw phrase and the modified noun are not a usual match, we should use 的, E.g. 2
E.g. 2 三件的钱、二十块的苹果
Because in e.g. 2, we are actually saying 三件衣服的钱,二十块钱的苹果
的 occurs after an attributive modifier. It is the signal of attributive. In this post, let's take a look when we should use 的, and when we can choose not to use 的. This is a complex issue, depending on the context where 的 is used, the rhythm of the language, the meaning that is intended, etc., Here we just aim to list a few rules. They might not cover all the situation you will encounter. However, as you make progress in learning Chinese, you will develop a better sense of the language and become better in using 的.

1. We have monosyllabic adjectives, as well as duosyllabic adjectives. In other words, adjectives can contain only one syllable or two syllables. When a monosyllabic adjective takes on the role of an attributive, we usually do not use 的 between it and the noun. For example:
高山 (high mountain)、大海 (grand ocean)
In terms of duosyllabic adjectives, we usually use 的. But we also need to consider the context, rhythms, whether there are two many 的 used in the same sentence, or whether omitting 的 will cause any misunderstanding. For example:
重要问题、重要的问题 -- both are correct as an independent phrase. But when we put it in a sentence, it depends on the context, which version sounds better. For example:
E.g.这是一个会影响到公司前途的重要问题。 This is an important issue which will affect the company's future. (because there is another 的 in the same sentence, it sounds better if we do not use 的 after 重要 again.)
E.g. 目前我们有三个重要(的)问题需要解决。Right now, we have three important issues that need to be solved. (的 is optional.)

2. Nouns can be used to modify other nouns directly without 的. Examples: 文学名著 (famous literary work)、英语老师 (English teacher). But sometimes, when the phrase is not used as a name or title, we should use 的,制服的领子 (the collar of the uniform). And when the modifier is a monosyllabic noun, we should use 的, e.g.花的颜色 (the color of the flower). When the modifier is a duosyllabic noun and the noun to be modified is a monosyllabic noun, whether using 的 is optional. Once again, it depends on many factors, including the rhythm of the sentence.
Sometimes using 的 or not depends on the meaning you want to communicate, e.g. 英雄的母亲 (mother of a hero)、英雄母亲 (heroic mother)

3. In terms of pronouns acting as attributives indicating possession, we usually add 的, e.g. 你的书 (your book)、我的杯子 (my cup). If the noun to be modified is a country, organization, or relative, sometimes we do not need to use 的,e.g. 他们国家(their country)、我妈妈 (my mother)、我们公司 (our company).

4. Verbs acting as attributives forming a name or title together with the nouns after them, we usually do not use 的. Examples involves verbs related to cooking, e.g. 烤鸭 (roast duck).

5. If the attributive is a phrase, we usually use 的. E.g. 有理想的青年 (young man who is ambitious)、穿白裙子的女孩 (girl in a white dress).
You you can select to receive personal notifications on the app or via email for important contributions to words that you are learning in the account settings .