U3L6 Cantonese grammar 用 [jung6] and 靠 [kaau3]

In this lesson, the grammar of preposition(介詞) 用 [jung6] and 靠 [kaau3] in Cantonese will be introduced.  According to the usage 1 of predicative expression in series(連謂式), the first predicate(謂語)in the structure can be used to describe the manner or the mean for carrying out an action in the second predicate.  For describing the manner and the mean for carrying out that action, preposition 用 [jung6] and 靠 [kaau3] can be used as the first predicate.

Nevertheless, 用 [jung6] and 靠 [kaau3] have an overlapped class(詞類重疊)and they can be used as a verb(動詞)as well, thus you may also find them being used as the only predicate of a sentence.

Using 用 [jung6] as a preposition in Cantonese grammar

When 用 [jung6] is used as a preposition, it is used to indicate the tool used by the speaker to carry out an action.

aa3 maa1 jung6 sou3 baa2 sou3 dei6

阿媽用掃把掃地。

My mum sweeps the floor with a broom.

Type of sentence structure  Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2
Part of speech Noun Preposition Noun Verb Noun
Words in sentence 阿媽 掃把

 

aa3 baa4 jung6 dei6 to1 to1 dei6

阿爸用地拖拖地。

My dad uses a mop to mop the floor.

Type of sentence structure  Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2
Part of speech Noun Preposition Noun Verb Noun
Words in sentence 阿爸 地拖

 

Gong3 kam4 gaa1 hai2 jin2 zau3 teng1 jung6 gong3 kam4 biu2 jin2

鋼琴家喺演奏廳用鋼琴表演。

Pianist performs in auditorium with piano.

Type of sentence structure  Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2 Predicate 3
Part of speech Noun Preposition Noun Preposition Noun Verb
Words in sentence 鋼琴家 演奏廳 鋼琴 表演

 

Siu2 pang4 jau5 jung6 zi2 zip3 zi2 fei1 gei1

小朋友用紙摺紙飛機。

Kids make a paper plane with paper.

Type of sentence structure  Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2
Part of speech Noun Preposition Noun Verb Noun
Words in sentence 小朋友 紙飛機

 

Ngo5 soeng2 jung6 ngo5 ge3 nang4 lik6 bong1 jan4

我想用我嘅能力幫人。

I want to help people with my abilities.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Auxiliary verb Clause
Words in sentence 用我嘅能力幫人

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2
Part of speech / Preposition Noun Verb Noun
Words in sentence / 我嘅能力

 

Object 1 of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head 能力

 

Using 靠 [kaau3] as a preposition in Cantonese grammar

When 靠 [kaau3] is used as a preposition(介詞), it is used to indicate what the speaker rely on to carry out an action.

Ngo5 gok3 dak1 keoi5 kaau3 go3 joeng2 ak1 jan4

我覺得佢靠個樣呃人。

I think he depends on his appearance to deceive people.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Verb Sentence
Words in sentence 覺得 佢靠個樣呃人

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2
Part of speech Noun Preposition Noun Verb Noun
Words in sentence 個樣

 

Object 1 of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

 

Si1 ji4 kaau3 baa2 zeoi2 wan2 sik6

司儀靠把嘴搵食。

Emcees rely on their mouth to make a living.

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2
Part of speech Noun Preposition Noun Verb Noun
Words in sentence 司儀 把嘴

 

Object 1 of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

 

Ngo5 neoi5 pang4 jau5 kaau3 ngo5 di1 cin2 sang1 wut6

我女朋友靠我啲錢生活。

My girlfriend relies on my money for living.

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2
Part of speech Noun Preposition Noun Verb
Words in sentence 我女朋友 我啲錢 生活

 

Object 1 of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 我啲
Head

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head 女朋友

 

Unlike 用 [jung6], you can use a clause as the object of 靠 [kaau3], instead of just using a noun.

Dik1 si2 si1 gei1 kaau3 zaa1 dik1 si2 wan2 cin2

的士司機靠揸的士搵錢。

Taxi drivers rely on driving taxi for earning money.

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2
Part of speech Noun Preposition Clause Verb Noun
Words in sentence 的士司機 揸的士

 

Object 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence / 的士

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 的士
Head 司機

 

Zik1 jip6 zuk1 kau4 jyun4 kaau3 tek3 bei2 coi3 sing4 ming4

職業足球員靠踢比賽成名。

Professional football players rely on playing leagues to be famous.

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2
Part of speech Noun Preposition Clause Verb Noun
Words in sentence 職業足球員 踢比賽

 

Object 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence / 比賽

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 職業
Head 足球員

 

Reference

  1. 張洪年(2007)。香港粤語語法的研究(增訂版)。香港:中文大學出版社,頁 408

That’s it for this lesson on the grammar of 用 [jung6] and 靠 [kaau3] in Cantonese!  If you appreciate our work, sign up now and give us a LikeCoin by clicking the LikeCoin button below 5 times.  It will empower us to create more useful contents for you in the future!

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