Existential Sentences
(1,483 words)

Existential sentences are commonly taken to be sentences whose primary function is the assertion of the existence of some entity or event in a particular time/place. Most prototypically, in Mandarin this involves use of the element yǒu 有 combined with an NP in structures that parallel English existential sentences built with the verb 'to be'. Due to its occurrence in A-not-A questions and as the single element in an affirmative answer to a yes/no question, yǒu is commonly assumed to be a verbal element (Chao 1968; Li 1990), although it does not allow for combination wi…

Cite this page
Andrew SIMPSON, “Existential Sentences”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 15 February 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000150>
First published online: 2015

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