"Could you clean up the room?"


December 29, 2017

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Why do I have to use 干净here? Can't I say 你可以把房间打扫吗?


Grammatically, the 把 construction requires a compliment after the verb (at least, that's what I was taught.) So you can't end the sentence with 打扫. You need to put some kind of complement after it. (I'm pretty sure 吗 does not count as a complement.) A complement is anything that gets tacked on directly after the verb in Chinese that further explains, specifies, or otherwise modifies it.

打扫 is the verb "to clean" 干净 is the adjective "clean" (describes a thing that is clean.)

In 打扫干净, 干净 is a resultative complement. It describes the result of 打扫. 打扫干净 means "to clean until the thing is entirely clean," as opposed to cleaning for 5 minutes then stopping to watch a movie.

I believe that Duo translates 打扫干净 to "clean up" (instead of just clean) because "clean up" has a similar sense of completing the cleaning.


Should one use the structure with 把 or is it proper to have verb —> modifier —> object: 你可以打扫干净房间吗?


Using the 把 structure in this case is certainly correct. I'm honestly not sure whether your sentence is also correct or not. However, the 把 sentence sounds more natural to me.

This is just how I personally think about it, but I think of the 把 structure as a solution to this situation where you have two things that ought to go right after the verb. Using 把 gives you another place to put the object. It sort of unclutters the end of the sentence.


I don't think your structure here is incorrect @peter

把 is just another alternative structure

However, I do think it sounds a bit smoother with a modifier like 這个, 你的 等 before【房间】


Yes, just the same way we use 跑步 (instead of 跑) and 游泳 (instead of only 游) for "to run" and "to swim"


My memory is vague but the bă sentence construction usually has the bă followed by the noun then the verb and then followed by the desired result of the verb's action. Not always but it's tidy grammar. Something like that. Can somebody clarify/confirm/otherwise that?


You are exactly correct: in formal Chinese 把 specifies the object of the verb. It's typically not used in spoken Chinese, where this sentence probably would have been translated as 请给房间打扫一下.


Actually, 把 sentences are extremely common in spoken vernacular.


The hints do not indicate it is needed.


Good question! Hope someone answers!


Duolingo team please answer this!


It seems incomplete because of the use of 把.


In this case, why is it not acceotable to write 你可以打扫房间吗?


That sentence is grammatically fine. I think Duo just wants you to use the 把 construction. Also I agree that's closer to "clean" than "clean up" ("Clean up" has a sense of completion to it, like you've finished the job, which is what 打扫干净 means.)


It should be acceptable. Although I think that would be closer to "clean" instead of "clean up".


Judging from their use of non native English, I don't think they know the difference between clean and clean up. Albeit small but there is one.

[deactivated user]

    The Chinese will understand what you mean, but it will not sound right to them.


    会 or 能 are both more appropriate in this situation than 可以. 可以 means "can" as in "may" and "allowed to"-- like"我可以坐下吗?" (May I sit down?) "我可以去厕所吗?" (May I use the toilet?) 会 means "can" as in "willing or able to"-- "我会来接你的." (I can/will come pick you up.) "你会游泳吗?" (Are you able to swim / do you know how to swim?) 能 means "can" as well and is a mix between hui and keyi. It may mean "capable of" and "able to," but also is used to ask permission. "我也能来吗?" (Can I come, too?) "我能看见某物!" (I can see something!) Asking if someone is ALLOWED to do a chore you're asking them to do is very odd, especially when what you would really want to know is (1) can they physically do it and (2) are they willing to do it.

    Duo uses keyi in a lot of situations where ability and not permission is being inquired after-- which is just an Anglophonic view of Chinese. Mandarin Chinese can be extremely precise in instances where English accepts being vague, and also simple in instances where English requires a lot of prepositions and explanation. In order to teach Chinese in a way that encourages learners to not only be fluent, but also to expand their minds and think from the point of view of another culture, Duolingo needs to delve deeper into the intricacies of the language and do justice to all its wonderful little quirks.


    你可以打掃房間嗎 should be accepted


    Duo is very inconsistent with its usage of 打扫 vs 打扫干凈

    Sometimes it marks answers as correct and other times not

    It's the same with its usage of "to clean" vs "to clean up" in its English

    Adding or removing the "up" sometimes gets you marked wrong, even though both English versions are in fact correct

    Doesn't seem like much of the awkward English has been cleaned (up) despite me not touching any of these exercises for well over half a year

    Actually, are there plans to add more units to this course in the future






    Can someone help me understand why 你可以打扫干净房间吗?would not be correct?

    Besides the accepted answer possibly placing more emphasis on "cleaning up" by moving "打扫干净" to the end of the sentence I believe 你可以打扫干净房间吗 should be an acceptable alternative.


    What purpose does 把 serve here?


    It allows placement of the object 房间 before the verb 打扫.


    This is a weird question.


    干净 is required along with 打扫 in this sentence, but is wrong if I include it in another sentence that says "clean up". What's the difference?


    @HelenWalte14: It's difficult to answer that question if you don't say what the other sentence is.


    When should it be 打扫 and when should it be 打扫干净?


    Here are some uses of 打掃 that I pulled from YouGlish.com. https://youglish.com/pronounce/打掃/chinese?

    • 小玲正努力地打掃著澡堂 - 小玲 is working hard cleaning the bathhouse.
    • 平常我們根本不太可能去打掃到櫃子的下面 - Normally we are unlikely to sweep under the cabinet.
    • 這是我打掃的時候找到的 - I found this while cleaning.
    • 她時常就是很喜歡叫那個就是打掃的人來家裡打掃 - She always likes to tell the people that clean to come to the house and clean.
    • 對他說 外面很髒 請他打掃一下 - Tell him it's dirty outside, ask him to clean up a bit.
    • 我們先繼續打掃一下吧 - Let's go ahead and clean it up a bit.

    So from this I get that when you are describing or prescribing what is about to happen in a specific case, you use "... 把 object 打掃 result complement" otherwise if you are talking in generalities then you just use the 打掃.

    This article give more information about the structure and formation of sentences with 把 and a degree or result complement: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Using_%22ba%22_sentences#.E6.8A.8A_Sentences_with_Complements

    Overall, I think the only way to really answer your question is to listen to lots of people talking, which is why I posted the YouGlish link.


    I suspect you're right about hearing people talk. Common usage makes sense (you just have to be saying it the way Duolingo likes when you're being tested to advance. Funnily enough, I ended up on this site too looking for answers to when and when not to use "ba". They talk about a pre-existing condition being a hint when to use ba. So I thought, "It's hot in here" was a pre-existing condition. Not as far a Duolingo was concerned. One day, when I'm finally confident enough to speak casually aloud, or I'm lucky enough to get to China, I'll ask for forgiveness if what I've said isn't right. Onward and upward.


    Incidentally, here's something I just heard someone say: "你要不要把妳的房間掃一掃?"

    That's a special degree complement, which you have probably heard before, and can be used with many, many verbs: 看一看、問一問、聽一聽、擦一擦、等等 which is basically the same as 一下: i.e. do the action for a bit, but not necessarily to completion.


    I see the gramatical structure of this sentence very mysterious hahaha!

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