Separable verbs

Separable verbs in Chinese refer to those disyllabic verbs with a verb – object structure. They bear the regular features of a word but can be detached in usage. These verbs include 睡觉 shuìjiào, 考试 kǎoshì, 唱歌 chànggē, 跳舞 tiàowǔ, 毕业 bìyè, 游泳 yóuyǒng, 见面 jiànmiàn, ect.

Most of them cannot take an object.

我     去   大使馆          见面              朋友。✘
Wǒ  qù dàshǐguǎn jiànmiàn péngyǒu

我     去         大使馆    跟        朋友        见面。✓
Wǒ  qù dàshǐguǎn gēn   péngyǒu jiànmiàn

The complements of frequency and duration must be inserted between the two parts of a clutch verb, for example:

我         睡 觉  了   七个    小时。 ✘
Wǒ shuìjiào le   qīgè xiǎoshí
我      睡   了  七 个     小时      觉。✓
Wǒ shuì le  qī gè xiǎoshí  jiào

The reduplicated form for some clutch verbs is: AAB, e.g. 游游泳 yóuyouyǒng,见见面 jiànjianmiàn, 洗洗澡 xǐxizǎo,跳跳舞 tiàotiaowǔ, etc.

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