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Comparing “肯定”, “确定” and “一定” in Chinese

Chinese words, learning Chinese, Chinese grammar

If you look up 肯定 (kěndìng), 确定 (quèdìng) and 一定 (yīdìng) in the dictionary, they all have pretty close meanings, like "certainly" or "surely". However, using them correctly in a sentence is a bit more complicated.

要是你在字典里查阅"肯定"、"确定"和"一定",那结果是它们都有相近的意思,如"certain"或"surely"。不过,在句子里正确使用它们会比较复杂一点。

 

So how are these three words different? We can answer this question from two points of view:

那么这三个词有什么区别呢?我们可以从两方面回答这个问题:

 

From a part of speech point of view:

 

肯定 can be a verb, an adjective and an adverb. 确定 can be a verb or an adjective. 一定 can be an adjective or an adverb.

"肯定"可以是动词、形容词和副词,"确定"可以是动词或形容词,"一定"可以是形容词或副词。

 

From a significance or meaning point of view:

 

肯定 often has a subjective, energetic feel to it. 确定 carries a feeling of objectively describing a situation. 一定 as an adjective has really broad uses, so you need to pay attention to the specific times it's used in. As an adverb, it is often used to give a reinforcing tone.

"肯定"经常含有主观、积极的情感,"确定"在描述情境时带有客观情感,"一定"作为形容词时用法很宽,因此你需要注意它的特殊用法,而作为副词时,它经常用于加强语气。

 

"肯定" and "确定" as a Verb

 

肯定 and 确定 can both be verbs, but their use and meanings are different. 一定 cannot be used as a verb.

"肯定"和"确定"都可作为动词,但是它们的用法和意思不一样。"一定"不能作为动词使用。

 

肯定 can express that something is satisfactory, often used when a superior evaluates subordinates. When used this way, it should be followed directly by a noun or a phrase that is acting as a noun.

"肯定"可以表达某事令人满意,常在上级评估下属时使用。这个用法里,它应该直接跟上名词或名词词组。

 

肯定+ Noun/Noun Phrase

 

It can also be used to express "I am sure". When used this way it is usually a clause at the end of a sentence.

它也可以用于表达"I am sure"。这种情况下,句子的结尾一般是一个从句。

 

Subject + 肯定 + sentences

 

老板肯定了我们团队的工作。

lǎo bǎn kěn dìng le wǒ men tuán duì de gōng zuò.

The boss approved our team's work.

 

如果想让别人肯定你,你就要好好做。

rú guǒ xiǎng ràng bié rén kěn dìng nǐ, nǐ jiù yào hǎo hǎo zuò.

If you want to make other people like you, you have to do good work.

 

我敢肯定这就是他的声音。

wǒ gǎn kěn dìng zhè jiù shì tā de shēng yīn.

I'm sure that this is his voice.

 

You can add a verb phrase or a preposition phrase after 确定, which makes it mean that something is already set, often used in describing a progressing condition.

你可以在"确定"的后面加上动词短语或介词短语,这样它的意思就是指某事已经定了,经常用于描述进度。

 

确定 + Phrases / short sentences

 

我们还没有确定什么时候开始。

wǒ men hái méi yǒu què dìng shén me shí hòu kāi shǐ.

We still haven't decided when to start.

 

你确定他是我们要找的人吗?

nǐ què dìng tā shì wǒ men yào zhǎo de rén ma?

Have you decided if he's the person we'll look for?

 

"肯定" and "一定" as an Adverb

 

肯定 and 一定 can both be adverbs, and the grammar structure for both are similar. 肯定 emphasized more of a subjective judgment or promise. 一定 sometimes carries an air of forcing something or issuing a command.

"肯定"和"一定"都可以是副词,而且两者的语法结构相似。"肯定"更多是强调主观判断或许诺,"一定"有时带有强迫某事或下达命令的语调。

 

肯定 + Adjective / Verb

 

他肯定还没起床,因为他的手机现在还没开机。

tā kěn dìng hái méi qǐ chuáng, yīn wéi tā de shǒu jī xiàn zài hái méi kāi jī.

He definitely hasn't gotten out of bed yet, because his phone is still off.

 

我肯定会给你带来这笔钱的。

wǒ kěn dìng huì gěi nǐ dài lái zhè bǐ qián de.

I will definitely bring you the money.

 

一定 + Adjective / Verb

 

明天你们一定要来。

míng tiān nǐ men yī dìng yào lái.

You guys are definitely going to come tomorrow.

 

一定要小心。

yī dìng yào xiǎo xīn.

You've definitely got to be careful.

 

"肯定", "确定" and "一定" as Adjectives

 

All three of these can be placed before a noun as adjectives. But in this grammar structure, 肯定 and 确定 use their verb meanings, and 一定 as an adjective means "something particular".

这三个词都可以放于名词或形容词之前,但在语法结构上,"肯定"和"确定"用到的是动词的含义,而"一定"作为形容词表示"特殊的某事"的意思。

 

肯定 + (的 +) Noun

确定 + (的 +) Noun

一定 + (的 +) Noun

 

Examples

 

你肯定的事情是什么?

nǐ kěn dìng de shì qíng shì shén me?

What do you know for sure?

 

请给我一个确定的回答,不要总是这么模糊。

qǐng gěi wǒ yī gè què dìng de huí dá, bú yào zǒng shì zhè me mó hú.

Please give me a definite response. Don't always be so vague.

 

我们之间要保持一定的距离。

wǒ men zhī jiān yào bǎo chí yī dìng de jù lí.

We need to keep a certain distance between us.

 

这件事和他有一定的关系。

zhè jiàn shì hé tā yǒu yī dìng de guān xì.

He has a certain connection with this.

 

Translated from: allsetlearning

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2016-06-22

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