please take a picture of us

Robert-C7 December 28, 2014, 11:35 pm
Here is another sentence that I am trying to break down.

please take a picture [photo] of us
qǐng gěi wǒmen zhào yī zhāng xiàng

The thing that puzzles me is the four word construction at the end of the sentence: zhào yī zhāng xiàng
That seems to translate to "take a photo" "one" "measure word for flat objects" "photo".

I can see this is that construction: gěi zhào xiàng. Why add the "yī zhāng"?
please take a picture of us
Lin-Ping January 25, 2015, 4:27 am

I am very sorry for the late reply. Although you may say 请给我们照相 directly, but in Chinese, shorter sentences tend to be more formal or in some cases they may also seem a bit blunt. Thus, we often add the measure word and number simply to lengthen the sentence and give it a friendlier tone.

However, don't forget that this can only be done with VO ( verb 照,object 相 ) constructions.

Keep up the great work!

- Lin Ping
please take a picture of us
Robert-C7 January 29, 2015, 1:32 am
Thank you for explaining that. The grammar is getting trickier as I learn more of it. I would never have guessed that the extra words soften the tone.
please take a picture of us
PJN-- April 4, 2015, 6:19 pm
Hi Robert,

When asking for "something", in this case "picture/photo", it is better to add "one" so that the other person would know there is a limit in the request.  Whereas without the "one", it is generally taken as open ended and mean a longer term request.

Similarly, when asking for water, we usually ask for "one cup"  of water and would rarely just ask for water.

Hope that helps.
please take a picture of us

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