"We have a little black dog."
"我们有一只黑色小狗" was marked wrong for not having the 的 , the answer being given as "我们有一只黑色的小狗". While I can see that's correct, is it absolutely necessary to have the 的 in there. I thought it could be omitted.
It can only be omitted in some cases. Most importantly:
- For possessives: 的 is optional if the possessor is a personal pronoun and the possessee is either a person with close personal relationship to the personal pronoun (e.g. 我(的)妈妈) or an institution that the personal pronoun is part of (e.g. 我们(的)公司)
- for adjective attributes: 的 is optional if the adjective is only one syllable and not modified by any adverbs (so 黑(的)狗 or 黑狗, but not *黑色狗). Also, if there are two one-syllable adjectives, I would use 的 at least on the one that is further away from the noun (in other words, I think 黑小狗 sounds a bit odd; I prefer 黑(色)的小狗).
Excellent ! Thanks AbunPang. I knew the rule for possessives, but I didn't know that rule for adjectives. Good to know. Sounds and feels right too.
If the adjective is more than one character, I think 的 is required.
小狗 is also puppy, right? Would it be correct to use that translation here? Is there a way to know which is meant ("puppy" or "small dog"), other than context?
I'm also curious, although the discussion above suggests that if you could put 小 first, it would be "一只小的黑狗“.
The accepted answer here is useful https://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/9190/what-are-the-rules-in-chinese-for-adjective-order-when-multiple-adjectives-descr
I don't have a chinese keyboard installed on this device so I'm afraid it's pinyin only. Adjectives with 'de' must be further away than those without. So 'heisede' must come before 'xiaogou'. (And as a single syllable adjective 'xiao' does not need 'de'.)