In Chapter 18 of Integrated Chinese, Dialogue II has a section which describes the duration of an action, and it shows two sentence formulas for it. One of the examples they give is:
She listens to recordings for an hour everyday.
Both of the Chinese sentences say they same thing in slightly different ways. The first one uses verb repetition, and the formula is something like:
Subj + (how often) + verb + object + verb + (how long).
The second sentence doesn’t repeat the verb, but does put a duration of time between the verb and the object. Its formula is something like:
Subj + (how often) + verb + (how long) + (的) + object.
De (的) is apparently optional in the second type of sentence. Our teacher didn’t have much of an explanation for it, other than saying that it sometimes sounds right, and sometimes doesn’t. I guess that is something that comes with experience.
Now for some practice sentences of my own.
I walk for an hour and a half every day.
I review Chinese for 30 minutes every day.
Wang Peng plays basketball for two hours every Saturday.
Li You studies Chinese for twelve hours every weekend.
Verbs are kind of tricky in Chinese, because there are verbs and there are verb-objects. They are tricky because while some verbs are only one character, some are two characters, which means they can get confused with verb-objects, which will always have at least two characters. I guess it’s another one of those things where it will become easier to understand after I’ve learned more.