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Interesting structure

Hi @YuQinCai, @Constance_Fang @Fiona and the ChinesePod team, my question is this:
I found some interesting things when learning these phrases.
问路 -------- 问一下路
看电视 ------- 看一下电视
吃饭 ------- 吃一下饭 (wrong)
打球 ------- 打一下球
看书 ------ 看一会书

Just out of curiosity, what potential rules shall we use to decide which phrases can be transformed to this kind of structure? Thanks. Happy to discuss.

Hi Jeremy,
I think "v+一下” means a very short action with short time, also indicate the number of times (一下,两下),can be used for most of verbs.

thanks for your help Grace!

Hi Jeremy,
These words are 离合词 (separable words) which literally means that these words can be separated. (*离: to separate 合: to combine 词: word) But, noted that not all of the Chinese words are separable words. There are some rules for it:

  1. The structure of separable words is “V + O”. For example:
    问路 = 问 (to ask) + 路 (road)
    吃饭 = 吃 (to eat) + 饭 (rice)
    打球 = 打 (to play) + 球 (ball)

  2. Most of the separable words are intransitive verbs because there’s already an object there.

  3. A few separable words are transitive verbs. But when we put objects after them, we still need to put a preposition between them.
    求婚 (to propose) = 求 (to beg) 婚 (marriage)

  4. When we have to put separable words and things like number, object, adjective, aspect marker, or complement, you have to separate the verbs. Let’s take 见面 for example.
    见面 (to meet) = 见 (to meet) + 面 (face)
    number:见一次面 meet once
    object:见他一面 meet him
    aspect marker:见了面 met
    complement:见不到面 can’t meet

  5. When we want to emphasize things, we always put the objects at the beginning of the sentence. It happens to separable words, too. For example:
    饭吃了,药还没。I have had eaten, but haven’t taken medicine.

Hi Betty,
Thanks for your detailed answer, that is very helpful.

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