Chinese Grammar Cop. – I sleep in the library

Hello Chinese Learners! It’s Hsiao Laoshi from Georgetown University again, and welcome back to Chinese Grammar Cop!

Today we are going to review a common mistake.

When you are speaking in Chinese, the “place word” differs from the English prepositional phrase “in.” For example, when you want to say “I sleep in the library” (which happens pretty often to me) in English, in Chinese it should be “我在图书馆睡觉”. The literal translation comes out to be “I *in the library* sleep”.

Chinese is a temporal language. Therefore, we place importance on the specific place first before describing the action that occurs there. Isn’t Chinese so logical?


Wǒ zài túshūguǎn shuìjiào.


I sleep in the library.


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