(1)        To use after pronouns and nouns (tantamount to possession)

             我的名字        大夫的车                                谁的书

             My name          the doctor‘s car                        whose book

             我的                他的                                       

              mine                 his                                           whose


              the teacher‘s book                               the library’s dictionary

(2a)      Attributive + DE makes a noun phrase, with the noun been understood, (Practical  Chinese I p.200) as:-

            小的                小的(宿舍)                        小的(车)

            ‘small ones’      meaning ‘small hostels’  or ‘small cars’

            好的                好的(宿舍)                        好的(学生)

            ‘good ones’      meaning ‘good hostels’ or ‘good students’


            ‘present day ones’                                ‘Chinese ones’

(2b)      Attributives + DE can particularize a noun in order to put more emphasis on the  attribute (Pr. Ch. I p.200) (tantamount to ‘something that is--’)

            (a)                            ‘This book is large’

            whilst (b) 是大的         ‘This book is a large one’.

            (c) 大宿舍                               ‘a large hostel’

            whilst (d) 大的宿舍                 ‘a hostel that is large’

            (e) 大的宿舍好,小的宿舍不好‘Hostels that are large are good, hostels that are small are not’                                                                     

            or (f) 大的宿舍好,小的不好 ‘Large hostels are good, small ones are not’.

             (g) 我有一本英文的词典       ‘I have a dictionary that is in English, and I am going           我去一本法文的            to buy one that is in French’

(3)        Verbal phrases or clauses + DE modifies the noun that follows it (tantamount to             relative clauses) (Practical Chinese I p.363)

            今天                        Students who came today

            的孩子                            Children who smoke

            他看的                                books that he read 

            认识的字                            characters that I know

            她介的朋友                        A friend that she introduced

            的客人                            Guests that she invited

(3b)      Such relative clauses can be embedded in a sentence

            我不认识            I am learning characters that I do not know 

                            I buy the book that the teacher recommended

            是他我的词典                This is the dictionary that he gave me

             我看的都很好                    The books that I read were all very good

            们请的客人都喝茶            The guests that we invited all drink tea

(3c)      ‘(verb) de ren’...... 的人  ‘The people who......’ equivalent to English -er/-ers

            Readers                                    的人

            tea drinker                                喝茶的人 

            smokers                                   的人

(3d)      DE can attach co-verb clauses/phrases to nouns to particularize them (co-verbs being gei    zai and others)

                                    Apple for the teacher

            给妈妈电话                        Phone call for mother

            在我院的图书馆                the library in my college

            在我宿舍的                    students in my hostel

(3e)      DE is used to attach all kinds of modifier phrases to a noun to particularize it

            The 8 o‘clock bus                    

            The pictures in the newspaper               上的 

            The students studying abroad at present            在的留

(4)        DE is used to tie together binomial modifier to the nouns modified

            A polite student                       

            A pretty picture                        好看的

            A very good book                    很好的

N.B.     but not with hen duo ‘many’ which does not use a de

            Many friends   很多朋友         many students   很多


N.B.     When DE is omitted:

(1)        de is sometimes omitted when personal pronouns modify words denoting people in close relationship

            My mother   妈妈                His brother   他哥哥

(2)        when a noun is used to modify another noun

            Student hostel   生宿舍        Bank manager  

(3)        Especially when the first noun is the name of a country, a language or a place of  origin

            A Chinese  

            Chinese language teacher   汉语

            Foreign languages Institute   语学

            An English book   国书

            A Chinese map  

(4)        DE is also omitted when the modifier and modified fuse together into one concept

              is a ‘large country/superpower’ whilst  大的 is simply ‘a country that is            large.

            新人  is a ‘newcomer’ or even ‘bride’ whilst  新的人 is ‘people that are new’