chapter  1
The clause as the pivot in Chinese grammar
Pages 14

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’.