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Special cases of "zai" following verbs

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When used to indicate locations of actions, 在 (zài) is usually placed after the subject and before the verb. There are certain cases, however, when 在 (zài) goes after the verb.

Structure

This pattern is used regularly with special types of verbs, including: 住 (zhù), 放 (fàng), 坐 (zuò), and 站 (zhàn). These are verbs that imply movement or location. Technically, the structure is called a location complement, but it can be understood without going into that much detail. Just remember that for verbs implying movement or location like the ones above, the default sentence order changes and you get this structure:

Subj. + [Special Verb] + 在 + Location

Examples

  • 你 住 上海吗?Nǐ zhù zài Shànghǎi ma? Do you live in Shanghai?
  • 他 坐 老板 的 旁边Tā zuò zài lǎobǎn de pángbiān.He sits next to the boss.
  • 你 应该 站 我 后面Nǐ yīnggāi zhàn zài wǒ hòumiàn.You should stand behind me.
  • 不要 坐 我 的 床 上Bùyào zuò zài wǒ de chuáng shàng.Don't sit on my bed.
  • 你 的 衣服 不 可以 放 这里Nǐ de yīfu bù kěyǐ fàng zài zhèlǐ.You can't put your clothes here.
  • 不要 站 路 中间Bùyào zhàn zài lù zhōngjiān.Don't stand in the middle of the road.
  • 不要 坐 地 上Bùyào zuò zài dì shàng.Don't sit on the ground.
  • 那 本 书 我 放 桌子 上 了。Nà běn shū wǒ fàng zài zhuōzi shàng le.I placed that book on the table.
  • 不要 走 草地 上Búyào zǒu zài cǎodì shàng.Don't walk on the grass.
  • 周末 我 不 想 待 家 里Zhōumò wǒ bù xiǎng dāi zài jiā lǐ.I don't want to stay at home on weekends.

Remember that this is an exception to the normal rule. A common mistake is to over apply this and produce incorrect sentences. Note the incorrect and correct versions below.

  • 我 工作 上海。Wǒ gōngzuò zài Shànghǎi.
  • 上海工作。zài Shànghǎi gōngzuò.I work in Shanghai.
  • 我 学习 图书馆。Wǒ xuéxí zài túshūguǎn.
  • 图书馆 学习。zài túshūguǎn xuéxí.I study in the library.

See Also

Sources and further reading

Books