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  5. "My cat is nine years old."

"My cat is nine years old."


November 22, 2017



And isn't it wo de mao shi jiu sui, ?? I've never seen it without a proper connector


No, it's wrong to add shi to this sentence


because shi is used when referring to nouns, as in the phrases "this is a dog" or "that is a cat," but not when referring to adjectives.


I was just wondering the same. I really felt like it should have shi or maybe you (in spanish they say he has x years)


我猫九岁 should be accepted!


No, if that is accepted, it might be another person's cat that you own/ adopt




Traditional style?


Wooooow!!!! Coool!!the character mao (cat) is very similar to a cat's face and ...!!!


... it sounds like "meow", right?


Is the 的 necessary in this instance? Is 我猫九岁 not acceptable?


it isnt your cat then


So just saying 我 is not enough?


我 = I 我的 = My

我 alone doesnt make sense. I cat vs My Cat


It can mean "my" in the context of close personal relationships, which means that arguably it does make sense here, at least for some speakers.

Edit: Upon further investigation, it looks like some native Chinese speakers do (sometimes?) leave out "的" when talking about their pet, but most use "的".


True, but at least in those areas of the Chinese speaking world that I have visited, you wouldn't leave out 的 for pets.Maybe because people having close personal relationships with their cats is a relatively new phenomenon (for the longest time pets were kept simply because they were useful) and language habits haven't caught up with it yet? So I wouldn't be surprised if 我猫 became acceptable in the near future, but for now it sounds odd to me.


You may be right, though I got about equal numbers of hits for 我猫 and 我的猫 in my Google searches. I'm running this one by a native speaker outside of Duolingo for another perspective and will report back.

For some reason "我猫" sounds okay to me, but "我狗" sounds bad — so you'd really want to be invested in the relationship to say it! ;-)

Edit: On the internet I've found instances of "我狗狗" ("my doggy") as well as "我猫" ("my cat").


(For some reason I can’t reply to my own comment, let alone your reply… so please forgive the confusion if I answer here)

I got about equal numbers of hits for 我猫 and 我的猫 in my Google searches.

True; in fact I get about 80,000,000 more hits for 我猫. However if I look at the hits more closely, the large majority of them appear not to contain the exact string 我猫 but rather just the two characters somewhere in the text. If I surround the search strings with quotation marks to search for exact hits, I get only some 700,000 hits for 我猫 but 30,000,000 for 我的猫. That’s more for 我猫 than I expected, so the linguistic change may already be a bit further than I thought, but it’s still significantly less common to leave out the 的 (and I would expect that especially goes for less colloquial registers).

There may also be differences between dialects here. Maybe 我猫 is okay in some places but not in others (and I expect it to be much more acceptable in urban areas than in rural ones).

For some reason "我猫" sounds okay to me, but "我狗" sounds bad — so you'd really want to be invested in the relationship to say it! ;-)

That’s interesting; I suspect you’re a cat person then, if you think people tend to be more invested in relationships with their cats? :D In my ears there is no difference between the two. Both sound equally odd (but understandable of course).


I'm more of an elephant person, obviously. ;-)

Kidding. I grew up with both dogs and cats as pets, and I'd say it takes more patience and willingness to allow the animal to autonomously express its own preferences, in order to really bond with the latter.

But as a matter of pronunciation only, for an English speaker who didn't grow up with Chinese, "我狗" is more like a cat, requiring a little more patience for speaker and tone combination to properly bond (the tone change for "我" takes that extra mental effort), whereas "我猫" is more approachable (to use a somewhat strained analogy).

The one native Chinese speaker I've heard from so far outside of Duolingo, who's never had pets (and is more of a hippopotamus person — I'll leave that to your imagination), goes one step further removed, and says she's always only heard "我们家的猫/狗", which isn't all that helpful here, though I guess it supports your contention more than mine.

I take your point about the Google searches. "我的猫" appears to be orders of magnitude more common, if we put the terms in quotation marks (and then I'm also forced to specify to Google to display all the results, or I'm left with only 80 hits for "我的猫", which is nonsense and makes me question the capability of Google's machine to deal properly with the Chinese language).

Edited to add:

My second external native Chinese speaking source agrees with you. :-)


so you're speculating wow that's so helpful


there must be a 了at the end or it's just plain old wrong


can it just be wo gou jiu sui? just sayin


First, you don't omit "的" here, because cat is not your family member. Second, "狗" means dog.


While it may be very colloquial, "我猫" appears to be a possible alternative to "我的猫", at least for some native Chinese speakers, judging by a quick Google search and perusal of the results. ("我的猫" seems to be much more common though.)

Also, I know what you mean, but probably a quarter of a billion people worldwide (and even a greater number of actual cats) would take issue with your statement about the status of cats as family members. :-)

[deactivated user]

    Nope, de is used to show possessiveness


    I'm trying to figure out sentence structure. The first two symbols both mean my or mine, don't they? My mine cat is nine years old? I'm always missing one when I go to write the sentences.


    的 means ownership. Think of it like the 's in english. 我的 means mine but if you were talking about the cat's milkbowl you would say 猫的. It's a pretty universal character you'd put it after any noun/pronoun to indicate ownership.


    "我" by itself means "I". "我的" means my/mine. Although "我" can also mean "my/mine" in the right context.


    Off the top of my head I can't think of a situation where "我" can mean "mine", i.e. where it would replace "我的" in the object position, but it's sometimes a legitimate alternative to "我的" in the subject position, in which case it can mean "my".

    (This sentence is a context in which some speakers might use "我" instead of "我的" to mean "my", though it seems from a bit of investigation that most still prefer "我的" for pets.)


    so now you're contradicting yourself- you said earlier in the thread that 我 is an appropriate substitute for 我的


    Under certain circumstances it is possible to omit the 的 after personal pronouns. This requires two conditions to be fulfilled though:

    1. You can only ever omit one of 的 or the possessed noun, never both at the same time. If you could, you would end up with just the pronoun and there would be no way of telling that it is a possessive at all (you couldn’t tell “mine” from “I”). So 我的妈妈 → 我妈妈 is fine, but if the 妈妈 is left off, 的 is obligatory.
    2. The possessed noun must be either a) a person who has a very close relationship with the possessor (typically a family member), or b) an institution/close-knit community of which the possessor is a part (e.g. “his company, their school” etc). Whether the relationship to a pet specifically is close enough to allow 我狗 appears to be a matter of contention among native speakers. To me personally it sounds odd* and the native speakers PeaceJoyPancakes and I both consulted agree with me. However there seems to be a minority who find it acceptable at least colloquially.

    So 我 can correspond to English “my” if it is followed by a noun which fulfils condition 2. But it can never translate to “mine”. This is because English “mine” is only used by itself, not before a noun (at least in modern English): “This is mine.” But not: “This is mine dog.”

    * Disclaimer: I’m not a native speaker, but I have been using Chinese on a daily basis for more than a decade and lived in Chinese-speaking areas for several years


    Thanks for fielding this!


    Shouldn't 我的猫它九岁 be accepted since it is indicating 它 (it) is 9 years old? Why would this be incorrect.


    That would be: “My cat it is nine years old.” Doubling the subject up with a pronoun does occasionally happen in colloquial Chinese, but not a whole lot more often than in colloquial English (at least not in the regions I’ve visited so far) and I’m not sure if it’s considered acceptable by the official standard.

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