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被 and 把 - Active and Passive particles


Hi All, I’ve recently been reading Level 2 of the Mandarin Companion books and they make frequent use of the active and passive particles (被 and 把), which was something completely new to me. I did a search through the CP lessons and couldn’t find anything using the chinese characters or the english words to search.

I think i have the beginning of understanding of how these are used, thanks for Chinese Wiki, but I think it would benefit me and others if you guys did an episode or two on them.



and are part of the so-called empty words (words which are used for grammatical purposes and have no translation in english), so if you try to look for those words in a dictionary you may be disapointed.

is the mark of passive form and may introduce the actor (in this case it is translated by by)

Tā bèi tā de tóngshí dài de rén qiáobùqǐ.
He was looked down upon by his contemporaries.

If the actor is not explicitly mentioned the verb is translated in the passive form and this word has no transation of its own (in this case it is an empty-word)

Yònghù bù xǐhuān bèi wèn.
Users don’t like to be asked questions.

is another empty word. Normally the direct object in chinese comes after the verb. But in some cases you can put it before the verb with the particule 把. Generally there is in this case another indirect complement after the verb.

Wǒ bǎ wǒ de bāo fàng zài zhuōzi shàng le.
I put my bag on the table.

Hope that helps!


Thank you OldMartin. And holy shit, I just asked this question and just now I notice a new lesson focusing on 把. Coincidence? I think I’m going to give myself credit for this one :stuck_out_tongue: