The clause is the smallest independent expressive unit in Chinese grammar. We will elaborate on this defi nition in the following subsections.
1 The expressive nature of the clause
By expressive we mean that it expresses an idea and imparts an intention. Specifi - cally, it may realise a statement, an exclamation, a request, or a question. An intention is not necessarily a statement, although it may be related to it. For example, statements may be expressed indirectly in some cases:
(1) nǐ hěn rènzhēn. you very hard-working. ‘You are very hard-working’.