"The cellphone was broken by my younger brother."


April 3, 2018

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I don't understand why "用壞" is used here as opposed to just "壞". The former term isn't in my dictionaries and one would think that simply using the verb "to break" would be adequate.


Maybe 用坏 is transitive (i.e. requires an object – to break something) and 坏 is intransitive (i.e. cannot have an object – to break/stop functioning).


Well, one way to think of "坏" is as an intransitive verb, and another is to think of it as an adjective meaning "broken". Still another is as a "stative verb", as Chinese "adjectives" are often called when used as complements.

In any event, a person can't 坏 something, but only make it 坏. "弄坏" and "用坏" should both work. "坏" is then the result of "弄" or "用".


Came here for the same reason. Don't understand why it is 用坏 instead of just 坏. There were some good thoughts below, but nobody has given a certain answer. Any native speakers or language experts, please help!


It must be because the subject is 弟弟, not 手机。弄坏 should also be acceptable.

[deactivated user]

    Actually, I think it is 手机 is the subject. Note that this is a passive sentence, so the action is done to the subject.


    Is “手机被我的弟弟坏了” ok too?


    坏 (broken/faulty) is an adjective. You need to add a verb, e.g. 弄坏 (lit. make broken) or 用坏 (lit. use [until] broken).


    From the English sentence, I would say '用坏' should not be the translation as '用坏' has more meaning i.e he breaks it "by using it" whereas '弄坏' would just mean that he makes it broken. '弄坏'should be the only accepted translation. If not there's also 摔坏, 丢坏, 敲坏, 咬坏etc. as possible translations.


    Why should we use 的 between 我弟弟? It should be accepted without too, as we tend not to use 的with family members, especially our own. It would be different if we talk about someone else's brother, 小王的弟弟, for example


    It would be more formal and appropriate, if not accurate, to say '我的(whoever/whatever)' both in writing(especially) and speaking.


    Why not just 坏了? Why must it be 用坏了?


    坏了 is an adjective 用坏了 is a verb


    I don't understand the use of 被


    It indicates the agent in a passive sentence, and basically you can think of it as "by", so, whereas we say in English "The cellphone was broken by my brother", in Chinese it's "The cellphone by my brother was broken".


    This is a good sentence. It made me realize that I haven't fully understood the lesson yet. The best other can do to understand this one is to reread the tips.


    Shouldn't it be 弄坏了 instead of 用坏了? The former suggests the brother broke it while the latter suggests they used it until it broke.


    "用坏" can effectively mean "wear (sth.) out", but it can also refer to breaking something by using it, with the implication being that the use was rough or careless.


    Funny No one raises the passive/active question. Almost no one says "The cellphone was broken by my younger brother."


    But it's an accurate reflection of the structure of the Chinese sentence.

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