Comparing "kending" "queding" and “yiding"
If you look up 肯定 (kěndìng), 确定 (quèdìng) and 一定 (yīdìng) in the dictionary, they all have similar meanings, like "certain" or "surely." However, using them correctly in a sentence is a bit more complicated.
- 1 Word Overview
- 2 肯定 and 确定 as Verbs
- 3 肯定 and 一定 as Adverbs
- 4 肯定, 确定, and 一定 as Adjectives
- 5 See Also
- 6 Sources and further reading
肯定 can be a verb, an adjective and an adverb. It often has a subjective, affirmative feel to it. It relates to approval and affirmation.
确定 can be a verb or an adjective, or, less commonly, an adverb of the form "确定 + 地 + Verb." More objective in tone, it is for deciding firmly and confirming decisions.
一定 can be an adjective or an adverb. It cannot be used as a verb. As an adverb, it is often used in commands, or as an adjective to refer to a "particular" something.
肯定 and 确定 as Verbs
Structure with 肯定
肯定 can express that something approval or affirmation, often used when a superior evaluates subordinates. When used this way, it should be followed directly by a noun or a phrase.
肯定 + Noun / Noun Phrase
肯定 can also be used to express "I am sure." When used this way it is usually a clause at the end of a sentence.
Subj. + (敢)肯定 + Sentences
Examples with 肯定
- 老板 肯定 了 我们 团队 的 工作。The boss approved our team's work.
- 如果 想 让 别人 肯定 你，你 就 要 好好 做。If you want others to approve of you, you have to do good work.
- 我 敢 肯定 这 就 是 他的 声音。I'm quite sure that this is his voice.
Structure with 确定
确定 has the meaning of "confirm" or "determine," and you may add a verb phrase after 确定 to indicate that something is already decided. In a question, 确定 can be used to ask if someone is "sure" or "certain."
确定 + Phrase / Sentence
Examples with 确定
- 我们 还 没有 确定 什么 时候 开始。We still haven't decided when to start.
- 已经 确定 了 三 个 人，还 差 一 个。Three people have already been confirmed, and one more is needed.
- 你 确定 他 是 我们 要 找 的 人 吗？Are you certain he's the person we should look for?
- 我们 要 先 肯定 一 个 形式 才 能 开始 做。In this sentence, 肯定 needs to be followed by a noun or a noun phrase.
- 我们 要 先 确定 一 个 形式 才 能 开始 做。We'll have to decide on a design before we can start working.
- 老板 肯定 了 最近 我 很 努力。In this sentence, "肯定" needs to be followed by a noun or noun phrase.
- 老板 肯定 了 我 最近 的 努力。By changing the word order, we get a noun phrase instead of a verb phrase.The boss approved of my recent hard work.
肯定 and 一定 as Adverbs
肯定 and 一定 can both be adverbs, and the grammar structures for both are similar. 肯定 emphasizes more of a subjective judgment or assurance. 一定 sometimes carries a bossy air, useful when issuing a command.
Structure with 肯定
肯定 + Adj. / Verb
Examples with 肯定
- 他 肯定 还 没 起床，因为 他 的 手机 现在 还 没 开机。He definitely hasn't gotten out of bed yet， because his phone is still off.
- 这 次 我 肯定 不 骗 你，骗 你 是 小 狗，好 吧？The idiom 骗你是小狗 literally means "to deceive you is to be a small dog." It doesn't have a good English equivalent.I'm not lying this time. Cross my heart.
Structure with 一定
一定 + Adj. / Verb
Examples with 一定
- 明天 你们 一定 要 来。You guys definitely have to come tomorrow.
- 一定 要 小心。You've absolutely got to be careful.
- 你们 肯定 要 去 听 我 的 演唱会。Since it's a command, "肯定" is not appropriate.
- 你们 一定 要 去 听 我 的 演唱会。You guys totally have to go listen to me in concert.
肯定, 确定, and 一定 as Adjectives
All three of these can be placed before a noun as adjectives.
肯定 / 确定 / 一定 + （的 +） Noun
But when used in this grammar structure, you must clearly differentiate the meanings of the words. 肯定 takes its verb meaning of "affirmative" or "approving," and 确定 takes its verb meaning of "confirmed" or "clearly decided," and 一定 as an adjective means "certain" or "particular."
- 如果 你 问 我 是 不 是 知道 这 件 事情，我 的 回答 是 肯定 的。If you ask me if I know about this, my answer will be affirmative.
- 请 给 我 一 个 确定 的 回答，不 要 总是 这么 模糊。Please give me a definite response. Don't always be so vague.
- 我们 之间 要 保持 一定 距离。We need to keep a certain distance between us.
- 这 件 事 和 他 有 一定 的 关系，不 能 都 怪 你。He has a certain connection with this matter. We can't completely blame you.
Sources and further reading
- 对外汉语教学语法释疑201例 (pp. 180) [ →buy]
- 现代汉语八百词（增订本） (pp. 603) [ →buy]