"We swim for half an hour every day."


November 20, 2017

This discussion is locked.


At this point I think duolingo switches between "time">"subject" and "subject">"time" being considered wrong out of pure malice for its users.


When you want to say that an action took a certain amount of time, the time goes after the verb. In this case, the time refers to a duration and not a point in time.

Tomorrow afternoon I would like to swim. (Point in time)
明天下午我想游泳 - Ok
明天下午想游泳 - Ok

I would like to swim for half an hour. (Duration)
半个小时我想游泳 - wrong
半个小时想游泳 - wrong
我想游泳半个小时 - wrong

我想游 - 半个小时 - 的泳 - Ok (Separate Verb)
我想游泳 - 游 - 半个小时 - Ok (Repeat Verb)

The time should come directly after the verb aspect. When the verb is a "verb+object" or "separable verb", you can duplicate the verb aspect again before the time or separate the "verb+object" and put the object after the time. This will be the same with 打篮球 and 踢足球 , 打 and 踢 are verbs.


Duo accepts 我们每天游泳半个小时。 I believe the verb does not get duplicated here because the verb does not have/need a 了 after it.


I wish Duolingo would give us some pointers on word order and, if it's a personal choice situation, accept both versions.

I was so busy trying to guess DL's "correct" order that separable verbs slipped my mind.


Duolingo is correct. 游泳 is a separable verb. This is a complicated subject. It's best to refer to Chinese Grammar Wiki at https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Separable_verb or other sources.


Thanks for the link, but note how it starts. (I paraphrase for brevity, clarity, and emphasis.)

Level: B1, far beyond Duolingo's 15 levels.

Separable verbs (离合词, líhécí) get their name from their ability to "separate" into two parts, verb + object, with other words in between. In fact, you could also simply call separable verbs "verb-object phrases."

Now, I recall Duolingo introducing them as verb+noun, but what we have here is an "object" that we English speakers tend to categorize as "verbs," ignoring gerunds and other nouning verbs techniques.

Last week, I downloaded Hanping, which glosses 泳 both ways, noun first:

  • swimming
  • to swim

P.S. English inherited its separable verbs from German trennbare Verben.


我们每天游泳半个小时。 This sounds right to me too.


游泳游半个小时* the verb of the action should be repeated


Agree. But it was stated incorrect.


每天我们游半个小时的泳 was also rejected.


"每天我们游半个小时的泳." ( Měi tiān wǒ men yóu bàn ge xiǎo shí de yǒng.) = Accepted: 15 dec. 2019.


today it was not accepted anymore (31st May 2020). Does anybody understand this?


Sorry, I just realized that I used the wrong "yong" (永 instead of 泳). So please ignore my post before.


每天我们游半个小时的永 not accepted 12 May 2021


Duolingo is only considering this structure correct:

Subject + time + verb in the action + time (duration) + object in the action


Let's call this structure 1. But there is other structure that is correct as well and it was considered wrong for me, which I think it should not happen.

Subject + time + action + verb in the action + time (duration)


In this structure (2) if a 离合词 (separable word) is being used, the verb must be repeated, otherwise it is considered a grammar mistake. I already saw a question (sentence provided in Mandarin to be translated to Mandain) where the verb is not repeated, which is a mistake.

Note: subject and time can swap positions. Time is option depending on what the speaker wants to express. This applies bor both structures.

What do I mean with action, verb in the action and object in the action? These are all references for 离合词 (separable words)

E.g.: Action: 游泳,跑步,踢足球 Verb in the action: 游,跑,足 Object in the action: 泳,步,足球

I think that duolingo should introduce both structures and name both like structure 1 and 2. Then point out wich one the user should use, so no one relies just on one of these structures, because both are commonly used.

This is just a suggestion and I hope it helps all the users to be more clear about this grammar.


I had always assumed that the grammatical rule was "[动][时间]的[名]", that is to say that you could only split verbs composed of a first character which is itself a verb, and the rest which is a noun.


  • 了两个小时的
  • 了一天的
  • 了一个晚上的肚子 (this one was an excuse I heard a native give to our teacher for being late in class :-p)

Here, 泳 is itself a verb, but not a noun, so this sounds unnatural to me. However as I've never been actually taught this grammatical rule I'm concerned that I might actually be wrong?


In modern standard mandarin, 泳 is always regarded as a noun.

It is not so in classical Chinese.


Checking around, using links here, I gather than "noun" is too Western here.


why is the verb splited


I disagree with the sentence. I dont think anyone would describe 泳as an noun in chinese. I would think that it should be 我们每天会游泳半个小时。


泳 is the cognate object of 游 which makes it an honorary noun.

我们每天会游泳半个小时 might be right but your version is definitely wrong.


What is wrong with saying 我们每天半个小时游泳


The position before the verb is for the time when something happens, not for how long it lasts.


What is the function of 的 at the end?


Hey guys! Where can I find a grammar lessons for Chinese language?


Hey, what does "遊” between 毎天 and 半 mean?


That is the verb 遊 yoú, meaning "to swim". It is the first part of the separable verb 遊泳 also meaning "to swim". The second part 泳 comes after the duration 半个小时的 describing the first part.



Nitpicking but the correct character is 游, not 遊


「我們每天遊半個小時的永」not correct, but please count this as a typo


I don't agree to take these kinds of mistake as an exception for typo. Since the meaning itself is changed.


每天我们游半个小时的永。 what is incorrect in this sentence?


The last 永 should be = 泳 as in 游泳.

While 永 is from 永远 (forever).


Duolingo wants 半个小时 here, but 半小时 is real Chinese too, so if you tried it, you're not wrong.


Why are you and yong separated?

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