A while ago, we gave you a post explaining the three “ta"s (him, her, it) of Chinese. Today, we’re going to explain another holy trinity in Chinese grammar: the three “de” particles of Chinese.
These particles are some of the hardest components of Chinese grammar. Even native speakers often mix them up.
The use of the particle “de” is to modify another noun, verb, or adjective. For example, if Chinese people want to say “quietly,” they would say “安静地 (Ān jìng de).” Or, if they would want to say “Sara’s house,” they would say “莎拉de房子.”
There are three de particles. They are all pronounced “de” with the neutral tone when used as a particle, which is why people can easily confuse them with one another. Similar to how “their, they’re, and there” are some of the most common typos in the English language, “的," "得," and "地” are also some of the most common grammar mistakes in Chinese.
• 的 (de) for modifying nouns
• 得 (de), for modifying verbs
• 地 (de), for modifying adjectives (into adverbs)