The 被 (bèi) sentence is an essential grammatical structure in Chinese, primarily used to express passive voice. This structure allows speakers to emphasize the object of an action or the action itself, especially in situations where the doer is either unknown, irrelevant, or obvious from the context. 被 sentences are particularly useful in situations where the speaker wants to emphasize the experience or the situation of the subject, or when describing unfortunate or negative events.
In its basic form, a 被 sentence is structured as: Subject + 被 + Agent + Verb + (Other Elements). The subject in a 被 sentence is the recipient of an action, rather than the doer. However, it’s important to note that in modern colloquial Chinese, the agent (the doer of the action) is often omitted when it’s clear from context or not important. While 被 is the most commonly used marker for the passive voice in Mandarin Chinese, other words like 受 (shòu), 让 (ràng), and 给 (gěi) can also introduce passive sentences with slightly different nuances.