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Let's look at the function of neutral tone.

Neutral tone 轻声

Function of neutral-tone syllables

To distinguish the meanings

眼睛 yǎnjing eyes
眼镜 yǎnjìng glasses

Sometimes neutral tone can distinguish meanings even the characters are exactly the same.

东 西 dōng xī directions of east and west
东西 dōngxi things; staff

To change the part of speech

买 卖 mǎi mài to buy and sell (two verbs)
买卖 mǎimai business (n.)

We have to remember the meanings of a word together with its pronunciation. Otherwise, we may make mistakes or misunderstandings.

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HSK Standard Course Level 1: 1.3

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