U5L1 Adverb(副詞)

Introduction

In this Cantonese grammar lesson, the method of using adverb(副詞)will be introduced.  In Cantonese, adverb(副詞)can be used to as the adverbial(狀語)to describe the predicate(謂語)when a noun, an adjective or a verb is used as the predicate; adverb can also be used as the subject(主語)to describe the predicate when a clause or a complete sentence is used as the predicate.  The adverbial is located after the subject and before the predicate.

 

Using adverb to describe a noun predicate

nei5 zing3 jat1 baak6 ci1

你正一白痴。

You are such a fool.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Adverb Noun
Words in sentence 今日 正一 白痴

 

ngo5 gam1 nin2 sin1 sap6 baat3 seoi3

我今年先十八歲。

I am just 18 years old this year.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Noun; Adverb Noun
Words in sentence 今年; 先 十八歲

 

Predicate of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 十八
Head

 

 

Using adverb to describe an adjective predicate

ni1 go3 neoi5 jan4 dak6 bit6 lo1 so1

呢個女人特別囉嗦。

This woman is very annoying.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Adverb Noun
Words in sentence 呢個女人 特別 囉嗦

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 呢個
Head 女人

 

go2 go3 aa3 suk1 ling4 se3 coeng4 hei3

嗰個阿叔零舍長氣。

That middle-aged man is particularly long-winded.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Adverb Noun
Words in sentence 嗰個阿叔 零舍 長氣

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 嗰個
Head 阿叔

 

ngo5 naam4 pang4 jau5 zan1 sam1 siu2 hei3

我男朋友真心小氣。

My boyfriend really gets offended easily.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Adverb Noun
Words in sentence 我男朋友 真心 小氣

 

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

 

ngo5 neoi5 pang4 jau5 ciu1 sing3 gam2

我女朋友超性感。

My girlfriend is super sexy.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Adverb Noun
Words in sentence 我女朋友 性感

 

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

 

Using adverb to describe a verb predicate

ngo5 zing3 waa6 hai2 uk1 kei2 sik6 gan2 faan6

我正話喺屋企食𡁵飯。

I was having meal at my home a while ago.

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Predicative suffix Object 2
Part of speech Noun Adverb Preposition Noun Verb Predicative suffix Noun
Words in sentence 正話 屋企 𡁵

 

nei5 daa2 din6 waa2 wan2 ngo5 go2 zan6,ngo5 ngaam1 ngaam1 fong3 gung1

你打電話搵我嗰陣,我啱啱放工。

I have just finished working when you called me.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate
Part of speech Noun Sentence
Words in sentence 你打電話搵我嗰陣 我啱啱放工

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 你打電話搵我嗰
Head

 

nei5 neoi5 pang4 jau5 jing2 zan1 sik1 zou6

你女朋友認真識做。

Your girlfriend really knows how to deal with people.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence 你女朋友 認真 識做

 

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

 

Adverb to be used in the beginning of a sentence

Some adverbs can be used freely as a subject(主語)in the beginning of the sentence, describing a whole sentence that serves as a predicate.

fat1 jin4 gaan1,ngo5 uk1 kei2 ge3 dang1 cyun4 bou6 sik1 saai3

忽然間,我屋企嘅燈全部熄晒。

Suddenly, all the lights at my home went off.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate
Part of speech Adverb Sentence
Words in sentence 忽然間 我屋企嘅燈全部熄晒

 

Predicate of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Predicative suffix
Part of speech Noun Noun Verb Predicative suffix
Words in sentence 我屋企嘅燈 全部

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 我屋企
Head

 

dat6 jin4 gaan1,cin4 min6 go2 bou6 ce1 ting4 zo2

突然間,前面嗰部車停咗。

Suddenly, the car in front of us has stopped.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate
Part of speech Adverb Sentence
Words in sentence 突然間 前面嗰部車停咗

 

Predicate of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Predicative suffix
Part of speech Noun Verb Predicative suffix
Words in sentence 前面嗰部車

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 前面嗰部
Head

Turning an adjective into an adverb with 噉[gam2]/ 哋[dei2]

In Cantonese, some adjectives(形容詞)are adverbs(副詞)as well.  There is no difference between their pronunciations and the way to write them, making them hard to distinguish.  This phenomenon is called class overlap(詞類重疊).

Keoi5 zou6 je5 hou2 m4 siu2 sam1

佢做嘢好唔小心。(唔小心 as an adjective)

He/ she is careless.

Keoi5 m4 siu2 sam1 sik6 zo2 aa3 baa4 di1 joek6

佢唔小心食咗阿爸啲藥。(唔小心 as an adverb)

He/ she has carelessly eaten dad’s pills

Other than those exceptions, if you want to turn an adjective into an adverb, you may need to make the following changes on that word.  You may have to apply more than one changes to the word.

Changes for turning adjectives into adverbs
Word duplication Changing tones Attaching other words onto adjectives Attaching 噉[gam2]/ 哋[dei2] onto adjectives

 

Keoi5 zou6 gung1 fo3 hou2 maan6

佢做功課好慢。

He/ she is slow in doing homework.(慢 as an adjective)

Keoi5 maan6 maan1 zou6 gung1 fo3

佢慢慢做功課。

He/ she does homework slowly.(慢慢 as an adverb.  Word duplication and changing of tone are used here to transform 慢 into an adverb)

Hok6 saang1 soeng5 tong4 go2 zan6 hou2 zing6

學生上堂嗰陣好靜。

Students are quiet when they are having lessons. (靜 as an adjective)

Keoi5 zing6 zing2 gai1 lei4 hoi1 zo2 fo3 sat1

佢靜靜雞離開咗課室。

He/ she has silently and secretly left the classroom.(靜靜雞 as an adverb here.  Word duplication, changing of tone and attaching other words are used here to transform 靜 into an adverb.)

 

Turning adjectives into adverbs (噉)

By attaching 噉[gam2] after adjectives, you can turn them into adverbs.  噉[gam2] can be replaced by 噉樣[gam2 joeng2]; their meanings and usages are identical.  Do not confuse this 噉[gam2], which does not have any part of speech, with the pro-adverb(代副詞)噉[gam2], which will be explained in the next lesson.

Ngo5 hou2 hoi1 sam1 gam2 faan1 hok6

我好開心噉返學。

I go to school happily.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Clause Verb Noun
Words in sentence 好開心噉

 

Ngo5 mui5 jat6 dou1 hou2 nou5 lik6 gam2 joeng2 duk6 syu1

我每日都好努力噉樣讀書。

I study hard every day.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Noun; Adverb; Clause Verb Noun
Words in sentence 每日; 都; 好努力噉

 

Keoi5 hou2 jing6 zan1 gam2 joeng2 zou6 gan2 wan6 dung6

佢好認真噉樣做𡁵運動。

He/she exercises seriously.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Predicative suffix Object
Part of speech Noun Adverb Verb Predicative suffix Noun
Words in sentence 好認真噉樣 𡁵 運動

 

nei5 jiu3 gwaai1 gwaai1 gam2 hei2 san1 faan1 gung1

你要乖乖噉起身返工。

You have to wake up and go to work obediently.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Auxiliary verb Clause
Words in sentence 乖乖哋起身返工

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2
Part of speech / Adverb Verb Noun Verb Noun
Words in sentence / 乖乖噉

To make an adverb sounds natural(哋)

哋[dei2] can attach to some specific adverbs in order to make them sounds natural.  You have to learn these random adverbs by actually experiencing them.  哋 in these expressions can be replaced with 噉.  However, the other way around is not possible.

Keoi5 tau1 tau1 dei2 faan1 zo2 fong2

佢偷偷哋返咗房。

He/ She went back to his/her room secretly.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Predicative suffix Object
Part of speech Noun Adverb Verb Predicative suffix Noun
Words in sentence 偷偷哋

 

Keoi5 zing6 zing2 dei2 wan1 gan2 syu1

佢靜靜哋溫𡁵書。

He/ She is studying silently.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Predicative suffix Object
Part of speech Noun Adverb Verb Predicative suffix Noun
Words in sentence 靜靜哋 𡁵

 

go2 di1 hok6 saang1 hou2 hou2 dei2 zou6 gan2 gung1 fo3

嗰啲學生好好哋做𡁵功課。

Those students are doing their homework properly.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Predicative suffix Object
Part of speech Noun Adverb Verb Predicative suffix Noun
Words in sentence 嗰啲學生 好好哋 𡁵 功課

 

nei5 jiu3 gwaai1 gwaai1 dei2 hei2 san1 faan1 gung1

你要乖乖哋起身返工。

You have to wake up and go to work obediently.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Auxiliary verb Clause
Words in sentence 乖乖哋起身返工

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2
Part of speech / Adverb Verb Noun Verb Noun
Words in sentence / 乖乖哋

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 103, 410-416。

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