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The Usage of 嘅 [ge3] in Cantonese

Updated: Jun 18

The Cantonese particle 嘅 (ge3) is a versatile word that can be used in a variety of ways. Today's blog post will be explaining its usages as a possessive particle, an adjective suffix, and a final particle.

As a possessive particle

嘅 [ge3] is used to indicate possession and this is one of the most common ways the particle is used. It is usually placed after the possessor (the person who owns), to turn it into a possessive adjective, followed by the possessed noun. For example:

  • 我嘅書 [ngo5 ge3 syu1] - my book

  • 你嘅電話 [nei5 ge3 din6-waa2] - your phone

  • 佢哋嘅屋企 [keoi5-dei6 ge3 uk1-kei2] - their house

In these sentences, the possessor becomes adjectival because it describes the following noun; it describes who or what the noun belongs to.

In some cases, the possessive particle can be omitted from personal pronouns if possession is indicated from context. For example, you could say either "我屋企 [ngo5 uk1-kei2]" or "我嘅屋企 [ngo5 ge3 uk1-kei2]" to mean "my house." You can also omit the possessive particle when referring to personal relationships. For example, both "我爸爸 [ngo5 baa4-baa1]“ and "我嘅爸爸 [ngo5 ge3 baa4-baa1]" can be used to express "my dad." Grammatically, there isn't really a different between omitting and including 嘅 [ge3] in these sentences, it's more of a shortcut for some people to help conversations flow better.

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