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CHINESE

GRAMMAR BOOK

bǐ 比 bǐ 比 “compared to” Category comparisons type: preposition

Level Beginner

比 Bǐ is a preposition used to make comparisons. A sentence with 比 bǐ ends with an adjective— which is the topic of comparison. The two things being compared are the subject of the sentence and the noun phrase that follows 比 bǐ. In this type of sentence, the adjective cannot be preceded by degree adverbs (such as 很 hěn or 挺 tǐng). While it can't be preceded by degree words, the adjective can be followed by phrases indicating degree or amount, such as 一点儿 yìdiǎnr ("a little") or 三厘米 sān lí mǐ ("three centimeters"). In more advanced constructions, the 比 bǐ prepositional phrase can occur in sentences with verb compliments (see "bǔ yǔ 补语" or "de 得"). The preposition phrase can either occur before the verb as usual, or it can come right after the verb. In either case, the adjective is still at the end of the


sentence. Formation (subject) + bǐ + (noun) + (adjective) (subject) + bǐ + (noun) + (adjective) + de + (extent) (subject) + (verb) + de + bǐ + (noun) + (adjective) (subject) + bǐ + (noun) + (verb) + de + (adjective) Example Sentences 1. 本田的省油汽车比丰田的贵。 Běn tián de shěng yóu qì chē bǐ fēng tián de guì. Honda's fuel efficient car is more expensive than Toyota's. 2. 越南话他说得比我好。 Yuè nán huà tā shuō de bǐ wǒ hǎo. He speaks Vietnamese better than I do. 3. 小杨比你跑得快一点儿。 Xiǎo yáng bǐ nǐ pǎo de kuài yì diǎnr. Yang runs a little faster than you do. Related Expressions yǒu 有 (4) de 得 bǔ yǔ 补语

de 得 de 得 modifying verbs Category verbs type: structural particle

Level Beginner

得 De is a structural particle used to show the manner in which actions happen. It comes after an


action verb and is then followed by a phrase describing the manner. The manner is usually a degree word like 很 hěn ("very") followed by an adjective. This forms a verb compliment (see "bǔ yǔ 补 语"). When there is a direct object, it must either be moved to the front as the topic, or the verb must be repeated after the object and then followed by the manner phrase starting with 得 de. De usually represents the perceived manner (contrast this with "de 地"). Formation (object) + (subject) + (verb) + 得 de + (manner) (subject) + (verb) + (object) + (verb) + 得 de + (manner) Example Sentences 1. 保时捷的跑车跑得快。 Bǎoshíjié de pǎo chē pǎo de kuài. Porsche sportscars drive fast. 2. 你的字写得很漂亮。 Nǐ de zì xiě de hěn piàoliang. You handwriting is very nice. 3. 他学习学得很辛苦。 Tā xuéxí xué de hěn xīnkǔ. He studies very hard. Related Expressions de 地 bǔyǔ 补语

...yǐqián... ...以前... ...yǐqián... ...以前... “before” Level Category Beginner time type: sentence pattern ...以前 yǐqián... is a sentence pattern used to express that one event occurs before another. 以前 Yǐqián comes at the end of the first clause, separating the two events. The first clause is the second


event, while the second clause is the first event. In other words, the event described after 以前 yǐqián happens before the event described in front of 以前 yǐqián. For example, the English sentence "before I go to bed, I often watch TV" in Chinese would be 我上 床以前经常看电视。 Wǒ shàngchuáng yǐqián jīngcháng kàn diànshì. So, kàn diànshì ("watch TV") happens before shàngchuáng ("go to bed"). Formation (second event) + 以前 yǐqián + (first event) Notes Zhīqián (之前) is the literary form of yǐqián. Related Expressions ...yǐhòu... ...以后...

...yǐhòu... ...以后... ...yǐhòu... ...以后... “after” Category time type: sentence pattern

Level Beginner

...以后 yǐhòu... is a sentence pattern used to express that one event occurs after another. 以后 Yǐhòu comes at the end of the first clause, separating the two events. The word order and chronological order of events is the same. In other words, the event described in the second clause happens after the event described in the first clause. For example, the English sentence "after I eat, I go to class" in Chinese would be 我吃饭以后去上 课。 Wǒ chīfàn yǐhòu qù shàngkè. So, 吃饭 chīfàn ("eat") happens before 去上课 qù shàngkè ("go to class"). Formation (first event) + 以后 yǐhòu + (second event)


Notes Zhīhòu (之后) is the literary form of yǐhòu. Related Expressions ...yǐqián... ...以前...

~fēn zhī~ ~分之~ ~fēn zhī~ ~分之~ fractions Category numbers

Level Beginner

type: phrase

~分之 fēn zhī~ is a phrase used to express fractions and percentages. The number before 分之 fēn zhī corresponds to the denominator of a fraction, while the number that follows is the numerator. For example one-third in Chinese would be sān fēn zhī yī (literally "three parts, one [of]"). For percentages, the first number is simply 百 bǎi ("hundred"), and the number after 分之 fēn zhī is the percentage. So 65% would be 百分之六十五 bǎi fēn zhī liù shí wǔ. Formation (denominator) + 分之 fēnzhī + (numerator) 百分之 bǎi fēnzhī + (percent) Example Sentences 1. 这个高中有五分之二的毕业生去国外上大学了。 Zhè ge gāo zhōng yǒu wǔ fēn zhī èr de bì yè shēng qù guó wài shàng dà xué le. At this high school, two-fifths of the graduating students go to foreign countries for college. 2. 去年的离婚率是百分之四十五。 Qù nián de lí hūn lǜ shì bǎi fēn zhī sì shí wǔ. Last year, the divorce rate was 45%. 3. 百分之八十等于五分之四。 Bǎi fēn zhī bā shí děng yú wǔ fēn zhī sì. 80% is equal to fourfifths.


bǔyǔ 补语(一) bǔyǔ 补语(一) Verb Complements Category

Level Beginner

听不见 (tīngbùjiàn) means "not to be able to hear." It is a phrase made up of two parts. The first part is 听, tīng ("to listen"), and the second part is a complement, 不见, bùjiàn ("not to see"). 不 means "not" and 见 means "to see," but here it means "to hear." So the phrase means "to listen to (something) without hearing it." In order to understand this phrase better, we should also take a look at the phrase 看不见, kànbùjiàn ("cannot see"). 看 (kàn) means "to look at something," 不 (bù) means "not", and 见 (jiàn) is also a verb meaning "to see." So 看不见 means "to look at something without seeing it." 见 tells us the result of 看. It is a resultative complement. Generally, a resultative complement is originally a verbl; for instance, 看不见 or an adjective such as 听清楚, tīng qīngchu ("to hear clearly"). 清楚 ("clear") is an adjective. We can also say 听不清 楚, tīng bù qīngchu ("to hear not clearly"). Formation verb + (not) + verb/adjective Example Sentences 1. 什么,我听不 见。 shénme, wǒ tīngbùjiàn. "What? I cannot hear it." 2. 声音太小了, 我听不见。 shēngyīn tài xiǎo le, wǒ tīngbùjiàn. "The volume is too low. I cannot hear it." 3. 对不起,我听 不懂。 duìbùqǐ, wǒ tīngbùdǒng. "Sorry, I cannot understand."


4. 他听不懂中 文。 tā tīngbùdǒng zhōngwén. "He cannot understand Chinese."

cì 次 cì 次 point in time Category

Level Beginner

cì 次 is a verbal measure word indicating the frequency of an action. Example Sentences 上次不是我买的吗?shàng cì bù shì wǒ mǎi de ma? "Didn't I pay last time?" 今天我休息了两次。jīntiān wǒ xiūxi le liǎng cì. "I relaxed two times today." 这次是我的错。zhècì shì wǒ de cuò. "This time it's my fault" 下次我一定去。 xiàcì wǒ yīdìng qù. "Next time I will definitely go." 上次他没来,上上次他也没来,这次他来了。shàng cì tā méilái, shàng shàng cì tā yě méilái, zhècì tā láile."Last time he didn't come, the time before that he also didn't come, This time he came." 这次我错了,下次我一定注意。zhècì wǒ cuò le, xiàcì wǒ yīdìng zhùyì "This time I'm wrong, next time, i will be more cautious" 你下次什么时候休息?下下次呢? nǐ xiàcì shénme shíhòu xiūxi? xià xiàcì ne? "When will you rest next? and the time after that?


dāng...de shíhòu... 当...的时候... dāng...de shíhòu... 当...的时候... “when” Category

Level Beginner

time type: sentence pattern

当 Dāng...的时候 de shí hòu... is a sentence pattern is used to express what will happen when or while another action occurs. The clause between 当 dāng and 的时候 de shí hòu is the time frame in which the speaker is commenting about with the clause that follows afterward. For example, the sentence "when I went outside, I noticed it was already dark" would be rendered in Chinese as 当我 出去的时候,我注意到天已经黑了. dāng wǒ chūqù de shíhòu, wǒ zhùyìdào tiān yǐjīng hēi le, where going outside is the time frame in which the speaker noticed that it was dark. Formation 当 dāng + (sentence) 的时候 de shíhòu, (sentence) (sentence) + 时 shí, (sentence) Example Sentences 1. 当你来北京的时候,给我电话。 Dāng nǐ lái běi jīng de shí hòu, gěi wǒ diàn huà. When you come to Beijing, call me. 2. 当学校放假时,周围的餐厅都关门了。 Dāng xué xiào fàng jià shí, zhōu wéi de cān tīng dōu guān mén le. During school holidays, the surrounding restaurants are all closed. 3. 吃饭时别说话! Chī fàn shí bié shuō huà! Don't talk while you eat!

dàshùzì 数字 dàshùzì 数字 large numbers Level Category Beginner numbers


In Chinese, large numbers are counted according to a different system than in the West. In English 100,000 would be read as "one hundred-thousand", but in Chinese it would be 十万 shí wàn (literally "ten ten-thousand"). So, while English counts thousands (one thousand, ten-thousand, one hundred-thousand), Chinese counts by 万 wàn, or ten-thousands: 一万 yí wàn (10,000), 十万 shí wàn (100,000), 一百万 yì bǎi wàn (1,000,000), 一千万 yì qiān wàn (10,000,000). Larger numbers are then counted by yì: 一亿 yí yì (100,000,000), 十亿 shí yì (1,000,000,000),

一百亿 yì bǎi yì (10,000,000,000), etc. Formation • yī - 1 (一) • shí - 10 (十) • yì bǎi - 100 (一百) • yì qiān - 1,000 (一千) • yí wàn - 10,000 (一万) • shí wàn - 100,000 (十万) • yì bǎi wàn - 1,000,000 (一百万) • yì qiān wàn - 10,000,000 (一千万) • yí yì - 100,000,000 (一亿) • shí yì - 1,000,000,000 (十亿) • yì bǎi yì - 10,000,000,000 (一百亿) • yì qiān yì - 100,000,000,000 (一千亿) • yī zhào - 1,000,000,000,000 (一兆) Related Expressions shùzì 数字

dìdiǎn 地点


dìdiǎn 地点 location Category location type: phrase pattern

Level Beginner

Locations often appear in sentences following the word 在 zài (used both as a verb and a preposition). This sort of combination could be translated as "at [location]". Location suffixes can be used to more specifically state a location. For example, 在桌子下 zài zhuōzi xià ("under the table") specifies the location is xià 下 ("under" or "below") relative to 桌子 zhuōzi ("table"). These suffixes include 上 shàng ("on top"), 下 xià ("below"), 里 lǐ ("in"), and 外 wài ("out"). Additionally, a location can be followed by the structural particle de (的) and the relative position: 桌子的上面 zhuōzi de shàngmiàn ("on the table"). This pattern can be used for left and right (右边 儿 yòubiānr and 左边儿 zuǒbiānr), and across and beside (对面 duìmiàn and 旁边 pángbiān), as well as the four cardinal directions, north, south, east, and west (北边 běibiān, 南边 nánbiān, 东边 dōngbiān, and 西边 xībiān). Formation (location) + 上 shàng / 下 xià (location) + 的 de + 上面 shàngmian / 下面 xiàmiàn Notes Many direction words have more than one form. 上面 Shàngmiàn, 上边儿 shàngbiānr, and 上头 shàngtou all have the same basic meaning. Related Expressions zài 在 zài 在 (2) zài 在 (3)

duōjiǔ 多久


duōjiǔ 多久 “how long” Category time

Level Beginner

type: adverb

多久 Duōjiǔ is an adverb that can be translated into English as "for how long". The answer to the question is given in a length of time. The method of counting time often differs from the method of reporting time: sān ge yuè is "three months", while sān yuè is "March" (compare "jǐdiǎn 几点" and "rìqī 日期"). Lengths of time can further be distinguished from points in time in that the word order of the sentences are different. Lengths of time often come after the verb (see "shíjiān duàn 时间段"), while points in time usually directly follow the subject of the sentence (see "shíjiān diǎn 时间点"). Formation Years: • (number) + 年 nián Months: • (number) + 个月 ge yuè Weeks: • (number) + 周 zhōu • (number) + 个星期 ge xīng qī • (number) + 格里摆 ge lǐ bài Days: • (number) + 天 tiān Hours: • (number) + 个小时 ge xiǎo shí • (number) + 钟头 zhōng tou Minutes: • (number) + 分钟 fēn zhōng Seconds: • (number) + 秒 miǎo Example Sentences


1. 我来中国三年了。 Wǒ lái Zhōngguó sān nián le. I've been in China for three years. 2. 他需要两个月的时间完成这项工作。 Tā xūyào liǎng ge yuè de shíjiān wánchéng zhè xiàng gōngzuò. He needs two months' time to finish this job. 3. 新年的时候放一个星期假。 Xīn nián de shíhòu fàng yī ge xīngqī jià. There is one week of vacation for New Year's. Related Expressions shíjiān duàn 时间段

gāngcái 刚才 gāngcái 刚才 just now Category time

Level Beginner

type: adverb 刚才 Gāngcái is a time adverb that we use to express that an action just took place a moment ago. It can occur either before or after the subject. 刚刚 Gānggāng and 刚 gāng have the same meaning as 刚才 gāng cái, but we usually only use these two words after the subject of a sentence, not before. Formation (subject) + 刚才 gāngcái + (verb phrase) 刚才 gāngcái + (sentence) Example Sentences 1. 他刚刚还在这儿看书。 Tā gānggāng hái zài zhèr kàn shū. "He was just here reading." 2. 刚才还在下雨。 Gāngcái hái zài xiàyǔ. "It was still raining a moment ago."


3. 我刚和她在这儿分手。 Wǒ gāng hé tā zài zhèr fēnshǒu. "I just parted ways with her here a moment ago."

jiànjiē bīnyǔ jiànjiē bīnyǔ indirect object Category type: sentence element

Level Beginner

An indirect object is the person or thing that is the recipiant of an action. It is often marked with the preposition 给 gěi directly preceding it. This prepositional phrase (给 gěi and the indirect object together) can occur in a few places in a sentence. The following example will illustrate this: The English sentence "he sent me a letter" can be said two different ways in Chinese. The first way places the prepositional phrase 给我 gěi wǒ ("to me") between the verb 寄 jì ("to send") and the object 一封信 yì fēng xìn ("a letter") like so: 他寄给我一封信. tā jì gěi wǒ yì fēng xìn. The second way places the prepositional phrase after the direct object: 他急了一封信给我. tā jì le yì fēng xìn gěi wǒ. For some verbs 给 gěi is not used to mark the indirect object. Instead, it follows directly after verbs like 告诉 gàosù ("to tell"), 问 wèn ("to ask"), 回答 huídá ("to answer"), etc. without the preposition 给 gěi in between: 她已经告诉我这件事. tā yǐ jīng gào sù wǒ zhè jiàn shì ("she already told me this"). Also, when 给 gěi is used as a verb (meaning "to give"), the preposition 给 gěi is dropped as well. For another group of verbs, the indirect object generally cannot be placed between the verb and the direct object. So the indirect object can either come after the direct object, or it can come before the verb. There are not very many verbs that behave like this, but 写 xiě and 打电话 dǎ diàn huà are two examples: 我给你打电话. wǒ gěi nǐ dǎ diàn huà ("I'll call you" or literally "I'll make a call to you"). Formation General forms: • (subject + (verb) + (direct object) + 给 gěi + (indirect object) • (subject) + (verb) + 给 gěi + (indirect object) + (direct object) Special forms:


• (subject) + (verb) + (indirect object) + (direct object) • (subject) + 给 gěi + (indirect object) + (verb) + (direct object) Notes Indirect objects are almost always either animate things (such as people or animals) or social institutions (e.g. a university). Related Expressions bīnyǔ 宾语 gěi 给

liǎo 了 liǎo 了 liǎo as a verb complement Category -

Level Beginner

Although pronounced [ le ], in most circumstances when we pair this character with dé (得) or bù (不) following a verb, it becomes a verb complement, and we pronounce it [了, liǎo]. In this context, the character has the meaning of "to finish" or "to close." It suggests that the action that precedes it can or cannot be successfully completed. One example is táobùliǎo, 逃不了("to be unable to escape.)" Other common expressions are: 1. wàngbùliǎo 忘不了 "to be unable to forget" 2. shòubùliǎo 受不了 "not to be able to bear" 3. qùbùliǎo 去不了 "to be unable to go" In general, we only use 不了 following single character verbs. There are a few verbs consisting of multiple characters that frequently take the complement however, so keep your ears open. Two of the most common are wánchéng bùliǎo, 完成不了 ("to be unable to finish") and shuōfú bùliǎo, 说 服不了 ("to be unable to persuade")


If you CAN do something, you can say: 1. 逃得了 táodeliǎo "to be able to escape" 2. 忘得了 wàngdeliǎo "to be able to forget" 3. 受得了 shòudeliǎo "to be able to bear" 4. 去得了 qùdeliǎo "to be able to go" 5. 完成得了 wánchéngdeliǎo " to be able to finish" 6. 说服得了 shuōfúdeliǎo "to be able to persuade" Example Sentences 1. 开始下雨了,我去不了了。 kāishǐ xiàyǔ le, wǒ qùbù liǎo le. "It started raining. I was unable to go." 2. 堵车这么厉害,真的快不了。 dǔchē zhème lìhai, zhēnde kuài bù liǎo. "The traffic is intense. We really won't be able to go fast." 3. 我们还有很多时间,迟到不了。 wǒmen háiyǒu hěn duōshí jiān, chídàobù liǎo. "We still have a lot of time. No way are we going to be late." 4. 他说他来不了了。 tā shuō tā láibù liǎo le. "He said he won't be able to come." 5. 这么多东西我吃不了。 zhème duō dōngxi wǒ chī bu liǎo. "There are so many things I won't be able to eat." 6. 这么多工作,你完成得了吗? zhème duō gōngzuò, nǐ wánchéng dé le ma? "There's so much work. Can you finish all of it?" 7. 今天你来得了吗? jīntiān nǐ lái dé le ma? "Are you able to come today?" 8. 堵车这么严重,我快得了吗?


ǔchē zhème yánzhòng, wǒ kuài dé le ma? "This traffic jam is really serious. Will I be able to go fast?" 9. 你的腿动得了吗? nǐ de tuǐ dòng dé le ma? "Are you able to move your leg?

ne 呢 (2) ne 呢 (2) “that being the case...” Category mood type: modal particle

Level Beginner

呢 Ne is a modal particle that can be used to express that what the speaker is saying specifically applies to what was just said previously. This would be similar to tacking on “Given what you just said...” or “That being the case...” at the beginning of English sentences. 呢 Ne can be used at the end of either open-ended questions (questions that ask "who", "where", "what", etc.) or statements. In the case of statements, ne can be used to correct someone’s false assumption. Formation (open-ended question) + 呢 ne (statement) + 呢 ne Example Sentences 1. 电影已经开始了。大家都在哪儿呢? Diànyǐng yǐjīng kāishǐ le. Dàjiā dōu zài nǎr ne? The movie's already begun. Where is everyone? 2. 今天是你的生日,你怎么哭了呢? Jīntiān shì nǐ de shēngrì, nǐ zěnme kū le ne? Today's your birthday, how can you be crying? Notes 呢 Ne cannot be used with yes-no questions.


nán 难 nán 难 hard to...awful Category -

Level Beginner

type: phrase 难 Nán~ is a phrase used to express that an action is hard to do. It's formed by adding an action verb after nán. The phrase functions like an adjective—it's usually used to modify nouns, and it can be preceded by degree adverbs like fēi cháng and hěn. Several verb combinations with nán have become set phrases: 难吃 nánchī ("bad-tasting"), 难看 nánkàn ("ugly"), 难听 nántīng ("awful-sounding"), etc. Formation (object) + 难 nán + (verb) Example Sentences 1. 中文的难读,难写是世界有名的。 Zhōng wén de nán dú, nán xiě shì shì yǒu míng de. "Chinese is world-famous for being difficult to read and write." 2. 火灾后的房屋很难看出原来的模样。 Huǒ zāi hòu de fáng wū hěn nán kàn chū yuán lái de mó yàng. "It's hard to make out the original shape of houses after a fire." 3. 美国最难考的大学是普林斯顿大学。 Měi guó zuì nán kǎo de dà xué shì pǔ lín sī dùn dà xué. "Princeton is America's toughest university to get into." 4. 太难看了。tài nánkàn le. "That's too ugly." 5. 这首歌很难听。 zhè shǒu gē hěn nántīng. "This song sounds horrible." 6. 味道很难闻。wèidao hěn nánwén. "The flavor smells awful." 7. 这个菜很难吃。zhège cài hěn nánchī. "This dish tastes bad." 8. 你很好看。 nǐ hěn hǎokàn. "You're Very pretty." 9. 这首歌很好听。zhè shǒu gē hěn hǎotīng. "This sound sounds really good." 10. 饭很好吃。fàn hěn hǎochī. "This food tastes good." 11. 香水很好闻。 xiāngshuǐ hěn hǎo wén. "The perfume smells really good."


Related Expressions hǎo~ 好~

něi 哪 něi 哪 which Category questions

Level Beginner

Type: Pronoun 哪 (Něi) is a pronoun we use to ask questions. It functions as the English word "which." However, a noun cannot follow directly after 哪 (něi). Similar to 这 (zhèi) and 哪 (nèi), it links to nouns with measure words. Formation 哪, něi + (measure word) 哪, něi + (numeral) + (measure word) Example Sentences 1. 哪本书是新到的? Něi běn shū shì xīn dào de? "Which book is the new arrival?" 2. 哪三位是从东京转机来的? Něi sān wèi shì cóng Dōngjīng zhuǎnjī lái de? "Which three people changed planes from Tokyo?" 3. 哪儿有卖杂志的? Nǎr yǒu mài zázhì de? "Where is there a place that sells magazines?"

Notes 哪, Nǎ is an alternate pronunciation.


Related Expressions 1. 那 (nèi / nà) 2. 这 (zhèi / zhè) 3. 量词 (liàngcí) 4. 什么 (shénme)

rúguǒ...jiù 如果...就 rúguǒ...jiù 如果...就 “if...then” Category sentence pattern

Level Beginner

如果 Rú guǒ...就 jiù is a sentence pattern used for if/then statements. A basic Chinese if/then sentence contains at least one (and sometimes two or all three) of the following elements: • The "if" clause is preceded by 如果 rúguǒ. • The "if" clause ends with 的话 de huà. • The subject of the "then" clause is followed by 就 jiù. Formation 如果 rúguǒ + (sentence) + 的话 de huà, (subject) + 就 jiù + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1.如果下雨的话,就不去爬山了。 Rúguǒ xiàyǔ de huà, jiù bú qù páshān le. If it rains, I won't go mountain climbing. 2. 他没有骗你的话,就没有人骗你了。 Tā méiyǒu piàn nǐ de huà, jiù méiyǒu rén piàn nǐ le. If he didn't cheat you, then nobody did. 3. 如果我去印度的话,我一定要去学瑜伽。 Rúguǒ wǒ qù Yìndù de huà, wǒ yídìng yào qù xué yújiā. If I go to India I'll definitely study yoga. Notes


If there is a time in the "then" clause, it comes before 就 jiù.

wèi le... 为了... wèi le... 为了... “in order to...” / “for” Category type: sentence pattern

Level Beginner

Wèi le... is a sentence pattern used to emphasize a desired result. Wèi le is followed by a clause or a verb phrase to mean "in order to...". After that first clause is a second clause that explains the means or method of achieving the desired result. Wèi le can also be used before a noun phrase to mean "for the sake of [noun phrase]". Formation wèi le + (sentence), (sentence) wèi le + (noun phrase) Related Expressions yǐ biàn 以便

xiān...rán hòu... 先...然后... xiān...rán hòu... 先...然后... “first...then...” Category sentence pattern type: sentence pattern

Level Beginner

Xiān...rán hòu... is a sentence pattern used to express that one event occurs after another. Xiān ("first") follows after the subject of the first event, and rán hòu ("and then") precedes the second


clause. This pattern is just used to order events in time—it is not used to show causation. Formation (subject) + xiān + (verb phrase), rán hòu + (sentence) Example Sentences 1. 我先回家,然后再去派对。 Wǒ xiān huí jiā, rán hòu zài qù pài duì. First, I'll go home, and then I'll go to the party. 2. 学习中文应该先学习拼音,然后再学习汉字。 Xué xí zhōng wén yīng gāi xiān xué xí pīn yīn, rán hòu zài xué xí hàn zì. When studying Chinese, one should first study pinyin, and then study characters. 3. 我们先商量一下,然后再决定。 Wǒ men xiān shāng liang yī xià, rán hòu zài jué dìng. Let's discuss it a little bit first, and then we'll decide.

xiǎo shù zì 小数字 xiǎo shù zì 小数字 decimal numbers Category

Level Beginner There are two ways to read decimal numbers in Chinese. The first is to enumerate all numbers before and after the decimal point, separating the two with the word diǎn. The second is to say the whole numbers normally, followed by diǎn and the decimal numbers enumerated. To enumerate means to list numbers as digits without place holders. For example, 328 enumerated would be read as "three two eight" in English and sān èr bā in Chinese. So the number 54.27 could be either be read as wǔ sì diǎn èr qī (the first way) or as wǔ shí sì diǎn èr qī (the second way). In cases where the number is less than 1, líng ("zero") will precede the word diǎn. Formation (number) + diǎn + (number)


xíng róng cí chóng dié 形容词重叠 xíng róng cí chóng dié 形容词重叠 Adjective reduplication Level Category Beginner adjective construction type: adjective construction We can reduplicate adjectives to add emphasis to the quality they describe. Reduplication makes an adjective feel more vivid. We can reduplicate most monosyllabic adjectives, but only some disyllabic ones. Unfortunately, there is no rule for which adjectives can be reduplicated and which ones can't. Disyllabic adjectives reduplicate in an AABB pattern: the first syllable we repeat and then we follow them by the second syllable repeated. For example, qīng chǔ ("clear") becomes qīng qing chǔ chǔ ("clear"). Some situations require reduplication. When using an adjective in an adverbial phrase to modify a verb, we often reduplicate it (see de, 地. e.g., 这个女孩高高兴兴地走了). Also, when we have an adjective reduplicated, we can put it right after the subject, for instance: 他 干干净净的. Once the adjective is reduplicated in this way, it cannot be put together with adverbs indicating degree (e.g., 很, 非常, 十分 etc.). So we can say: 他干干净净的。, but not 他很干干净 净 or 他很干干净净的。 Formation (adjective) + (adjective) AABB Example Sentences 1. 不脏,这不是干干净净的吗? bù zāng, zhè bù shì gāngānjìngjìng de ma? "It's not dirty: see, isn't it very clean?" 2. 我的房间干干净净的。 wǒ de fángjiān gāngānjìngjìng de. "My room is squeaky clean." 3. 我漂漂亮亮地做完了工作。 wǒ piāopiāoliàngliàng dì zuòwán le gōngzuò. "I finished my work very well. 4. 行了,别总是啰啰嗦嗦的。 xíng le, bié zǒngshì luóluósuǒsuǒ de. "Okay, you don't always have to be so long-winded." 5. 我们的合同上写得清清楚楚的。


wǒmen de hétong shàng xiě de qīngqīngchǔchǔ de. "This is crystal clear on our contract." 6. 我想舒舒服服地睡一觉。 wǒ xiǎng shū shū fú fú dì shuì yī jiào. "I feel like sleeping comfortably." 7. 她高高兴兴地来了。 tā gāogāoxīngxīngdi láile. "She happily came." Related Expressions de (地) dòng cí chóng dié (动词重叠)

yí yàng 一样 yí yàng 一样 “the same” / “just as” Category comparisons

Level Beginner

type: phrase Yí yàng is a phrase used to show either that two (or more) things are the same or that they share a common trait. It can function like an adjective and modify a noun as in yí yàng de qíng kuàng "the same circumstances" or qíng kuàng yí yàng "the circumstances are the same". Yí yàng also functions as an adverb meaning "just as" or "equally" and modifies adjectives: yí yàng gāo "just as tall" or yí yàng kuài "just as fast". Since yí yàng is used to show similarity between two or more things, the subject of the sentence should be plural as in tā men "they", or the subject should be followed by gēn ("with") and another subject—as in tā gēn nǐ "he and you". Formation (subject) + gēn + (subject 2) + yí yàng (subject) + gēn + (subject 2) + yí yàng + (adjective) (subject) + yí yàng (subject) + yí yàng + (adjective) Example Sentences


1. 这几款电脑的功能都一样。 Zhè jǐ kuǎn diàn nǎo de gōng néng dōu yí yàng. These computers' functions are all the same. 2. 我的爱好跟他一样喜欢看电影。 Wǒ de ài hào gēn tā yí yàng xǐ huān kàn diàn yǐng. My interests and his are the same; we enjoy watching movies. 3. 时间过得像飞一样快。 Shí jiān guò de xiàng fēi yí yàng kuài. Time passes as though it flies.

yīn wéi...suǒ yǐ... 因为...所以... yīn wéi...suǒ yǐ... 因为...所以... “because” Category sentence pattern type: sentence pattern

Level Beginner

Yīn wéi...suǒ yǐ... is a sentence pattern used to give an explanation or answer a "why" question. The first clause, starting with yīn wéi provides the reason or cause for the clause that follows after it. The second clause, which begins with suǒ yǐ, can be considered the result or effect of the first clause. If the result is already common information, the suǒ yǐ clause may be omitted. There's a variation of this pattern, in which the suǒ yǐ clause comes first, and is followed by shì yīn wéi and the reason. In this variation of the sentence pattern the subject usually comes before suǒ yǐ. Formation yīn wéi + (sentence), suǒ yǐ + (sentence) yīn wéi + (sentence) (subject) + suǒ yǐ + (verb phrase) + shì yīn wéi + (sentence) Example Sentences 1. 因为刚下过暴雨,所以街上的人很少。 Yīn wéi gāng xià guò bào yǔ, suǒ yǐ jiē shàng de rén hěn shǎo. Because it just rained really hard, there's not many people on the street. 2. 因为这座房子太旧了,所以要拆掉。 Yīn wéi zhè zuò fáng zi tài jiù le, suǒ yǐ yào chāi diào. This house is too old, so it should be torn down. 3. 我所以在找工作,是因为我不喜欢现在的工作。 Wǒ suǒ yǐ zài zhǎo gōng zuò, shì yīn wéi wǒ bù xǐ huān xiàn zài de gōng zuò. I'm looking for a job because I don't like my current job.


yòu...yòu... 又...又... yòu...yòu... 又...又... “both...and...” Category

Level Beginner

type: phrase

Yòu...yòu... is a phrase used to describe one thing with two characteristics. For example, to describe a person as both tall and skinny, one could say nèi ge rén yòu shòu yòu gāo. This phrase can also be used to express that two things occur in the same broad time frame (though not necessarily at the same exact time). For example: tā yòu zuò shì, yòu shàng yè xiào ("he both works and takes night classes"). Formation (subject) + yòu + (adjective) + yòu + (adjective) (subject) + yòu + (verb phrase) + yòu + (verb phrase)

zài 再 zài 再 “again” Category -

Level Beginner

type: adverb Zài is an adverb used to indicate that an event will occur again in the future. Zài comes before the verb, but must come after the subject or topic of the sentence. Formation (subject) + zài + (verb)


Related Expressions yòu 又

zěn me 怎么 zěn me 怎么 how Category questions

Level Beginner

Type: Pronoun Zěn me is a pronoun we use to ask how an action is done. It is equivalent to "how" or "how to" in English and is followed by a verb. Zěn me does not always occur before the first verb in a sentence with more than one verb. For example, in the question, "How do you plan to return home?" the proper way to say this in Chinese would be nǐ dǎ suàn zěn me huí jiā. Notice that zěn me comes after the verb dǎ suàn but before the verb huí. This is because zěn me functions like an adverb. The speaker wanted to know "how the listener goes home" and not "how the listener plans." Zěn me will typically occur after psychological verbs, but before action verbs and directional verbs. Formation (subject) + zěn me + (verb phrase) (subject) + (psychological verb) + zěn me + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 怎么用这个相机? Zěn me yòng zhè ge xiàng jī. "How do you use this camera?" 2. 她知道怎么洗去油渍。 Tā zhī dào zěn me xǐ qù yóu zì. "She knows how to wash out oil stains." 3. 你打算怎么过这个暑假? Nǐ dǎ suàn zěn me guò zhè ge shǔ jià? "How do you plan on spending your summer holidays?" 4. 怎么丢的? zěnme diū de? "How did you lose it? 5. 去故宫怎么走?


qù Gùgōng zěnme zǒu? "How do you want to go to the Forbidden City?" 6. 这个怎么用? zhège zěnme yòng? "How do you use this?" 7. 你想怎么做? nǐ xiǎng zěnme zuò? "How do you feel like doing this?" 8. 我不知道怎么办。 wǒ bù zhīdào zěnme bàn. "I don't know what to do." 9. 这个怎么卖? zhège zěnme mài? "How is this sold?"

Related Expressions zěn me yàng 怎么样

zhī yī 之一 zhī yī 之一 “one of” Category -

Level Beginner

type: phrase Zhī yī is a phrase that means "one of" which follows nouns and noun phrases. It's used to identify one of a set group. For example, the phrase "one of the world's strongest people" in Chinese is shì jiè zuì qiáng de rén zhī yī. Since zhī yī is only used on defined groups of things, it is not interchangeable with yì ge ("a" or "one"). Formation (noun phrase) + zhī yī


zhǐ 只 zhǐ 只 “only” Category

Level Beginner

type: adverb

Zhǐ is an adverb that means "only". It most often occurs right before the verb phrase in a sentence. So unlike the English word "only", zhǐ is used to modify verbs, not to modify nouns. Formation (subject) + zhǐ + (verb)

zuì hǎo 最好 zuì hǎo 最好 “had better” Category

Level Beginner

type: adverb

Zuì hǎo is an adverb used to assert what one should and shouldn't do. It comes between the subject and the verb of the sentence. While it can be used to tell someone else what they ought to do, it can also be used to talk about what the speaker himself/herself should do. When commenting on what one shouldn't do, bù modifies the verb that follows zuì hǎo. So bù comes immediately before the verb of the sentence, not before zuì hǎo.

整个 (zhěnggè) and (suǒyǒu) 所有 整个 (zhěnggè) and (suǒyǒu) 所有 all


Category

Level Beginner There are a variety of ways of translating the concept of "all" in Chinese. In this lesson, we focus on two different ways to express this concept using the words 整个 (zhěnggè) and 所有 (suǒyǒu). We place both of these words before our nouns, giving us sentences such as: 1. 整个房间都很乱 Zhěnggè fángjiān dōu hěn luàn "The entire room is very messy." 2. 他花了我所有的钱 Tā huā le wǒ suǒyǒu de qián "He spent all my money." The major difference between these two expressions is that we use 整个 with objects and ideas that are indivisible. Thus, we have the entire world, or the entire company. Our emphasis is on the object as something that is indivisible. In contrast, 所有 emphasizes that our whole involves an aggregation of many smaller units or objects, as with "all of the people" or "all of the money." You should note that Chinese speakers often add 的 after 所有, as in our sentence 他 花了我所有 的钱. You can freely add or not add this particle-both forms are correct, but be warned that native Chinese speakers will often add or not add this particle seemingly at random and depending on the noun being modified. There are no hard and fast rules for when you should do this, so we recommend just listening to what other people say and then following the crowd.

经常 jīngcháng 经常 jīngcháng Often Category adverb

Level Beginner

经常 jīngcháng is an adverb, and it is usually used in the present tense if there's no timeword. 经常 is used to mean something happens in a high frequency. 经常 is an adverb, so we use it before a verb. From the dialogue we had this example: 他经常迟到 tā jīngcháng chídào ("He is usually late") It can also be used in the past tense and future tense if we include a time word. The timeword is placed before 经常.To show frequency in the future tense you will place 会 huì ("will") before 经常


Formation Present tense (经常 + verb) Indicating time, past tense, and future tense (Time word + 经常 + verb) Future tense 会 huì + 经常 + verb + 的 de) Example Sentences 我经常来这儿。wǒ jīngcháng lái zhèr. ("I come here often") 他经常去上海。tā jīngcháng qù Shànghǎi. ("He often goes to Shanghai") 他们经常吃中国菜。 tāmen jīngcháng chī zhōngguó cài. ("They eat Chinese food often") It can also be used in the past tense and future tense if we include a time word. The timeword is placed before 经常. 我以前经常来这儿。 wǒ yǐqián jīngcháng lái zhèr. ("Before, I would come here often.") 他去年经常去上海。tā qùnián jīngcháng qù Shànghǎi. ("Last year he often went to Shanghai.") 他们过去经常吃中国菜。 tāmen guòqù jīngcháng chī zhōngguó cài. ("They often ate Chinese food in the past.")

To show frequency in the future tense you will place 会 huì ("will") before 经常

我会经常来的。wǒ huì jīngcháng lái de. I will often come 他明年会经常去上海的。 tā míngnián huì jīngcháng qù Shànghǎi de. Next year, he will often go to Shanghai 他们以后会经常吃中国菜的。tāmen yǐhòu huì jīngcháng chī zhōngguó cài de. ("Afterwards, they will often eat Chinese food.")


...jiù... ...就... ...jiù... ...就... Level Category Intermediate type: sentence pattern ...就 (jiù...) is a sentence pattern we use to talk about relative information (like "whoever," "whenever," "whatever," "however," and "wherever"). We commonly use it to tell someone to do as they please. It consists of a question word before 就 (jiù) and then repeated after 就 (jiù) as well. For example, 你想去哪儿就去哪儿吧。 Nǐ xiǎng qù nǎr jiù qù nǎr ba. (Literally, "You want to go where, just go where," meaning, "You should just go where you want to go.") The question word before 就 (jiù) should be the same as the one after 就 (jiù), but the verbs don't necessarily need to be the same: 他怎么说我们就怎么做. Tā zěnme shuō wǒmen jiù zěnme zuò "We'll do as he says." While we can use any question word in this pattern, the basic ones are the most common: 1. 什么 (shénme) "what" 2. 谁 (shéi) "who" 3. 哪儿 (nǎr) "where" 4. 怎么 (zěnme) "how" 5. 什么时候 (shénme shíhòu) "when"

Formation (question), 就, jiù + (question) (question), (subject) + 就, jiù + (question)


~de~ ~得~ ~de~ ~得~ potential compliment Category type: verb construction

Level Intermediate

~ 得 de~ is a verb construction used to show the ability to achieve a result by performing an action. This structure is called a potential compliment. It's formed by inserting the structural particle 得 de between a verb and it's resultative compliment (see "bǔ yǔ 补语"). For example, 吃完 chī wán means "to finish eating", and 吃得晚 chī de wán means " to be able to finish eating". The negative form uses neutral tone 不 bu in place of 得 de. This means that the action can be performed, but not to the point of achieving the result. So, 跳不过去 tiào bu guò qù means "to jump but not be able to make it across". Formation (verb) + de + (result) (verb) + bu + (result) Related Expressions bǔ yǔ 补语 néng lì 能力

~sǐ ~死 ~sǐ ~死 “~ to death” Category resultative

Level Intermediate

type: phrase

~ 死 sǐ is a phrase used to explain in what manner someone died. It can follow a verb such as 压 yā ("to press") to give the meaning "to be crushed to death". Alternatively it can follow an adjective


such as 饿 è ("hungry"): 饿死 è sǐ "to die of hunger".

~ 死 sǐ can also be used as a figure of speech. Just as in English we say "I'm starving!" or "I'm dead tired!", in Chinese 我快累死了. Wǒ kuài lèi sǐ le! ("I'm about to die of fatigue!") doesn't imply that one is actually about to die. Formation (verb) + sǐ (adjective) + sǐ Example Sentences 1. 造纸厂附近的空气难闻死了。 Zào zhǐ chǎng fù jìn de kōng qì nán wén sǐ le. The air near the paper factory is really foul. 2. 我陪女朋友逛了一整天,快要累死了! Wǒ péi nǚ péng yǒu guàng le yī zhěng tiān, kuài yào lèi sǐ le! I've been accompanying my girlfriend window shopping all day; I'm dead tired! 3. 东京迪士尼乐园好玩死了! Dōng jīng dí shì ní lè yuán hǎo wán sǐ le! Tokyo Disneyland is really fun!

bèidòng shì 被动式 bèidòng shì 被动式 passive voice Category type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

The passive voice is a type of sentence that makes the object (the receiver of the action) into the subject. For example, the English sentence "he hurt me" in passive voice would be "I was hurt by him". In both Chinese and English, the agent (the doer of th action) may be omitted. That same sentence without the agent would be "I was hurt" or "I got hurt". In Chinese, there are two main ways to form the passive voice. The first is by using a passive voice marker (被 bèi, 叫 jiào, 让 ràng, or 给 gěi). The second way is by omitting the agent and not using any marker. The first style of passive sentence is constructed by using one of the four passive voice markers after the subject. The agent is placed after the marker and before the verb. 叫 Jiào, 让 ràng, and 给 gěi must be followed by an agent (人 rén may be used to mean the non-specific agent, "somebody"), whereas with 被 bèi the agent is optional. 叫 Jiào and 让 ràng may also occur with


给 gěi placed between the agent and the verb, though this doesn't affect the meaning of the sentence. The second passive form is unmarked, but its meaning can be understood through context or through common sense. For example, the sentence 包裹已经寄了.bāoguǒ yǐjīng jì le should be interpreted as "the package has already been sent" and not as "the package already sent [itself]" since the latter interpretation is nonsensical. Formation Using bèi: • (subject) + 被 bèi + (verb phrase) • (subject) + 被 bèi + (agent) + (verb phrase) Using jiào or ràng: • (subject) + 叫 jiào / 让 ràng + (agent) + (verb phrase) • (subject) + 叫 jiào / 让 ràng + (agent) + 给 gěi + (verb phrase) Using gěi: • (subject) + 给 gěi + (agent) + (verb phrase) Unmarked passive: • (subject) + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 阳台上的花被大雨摧毁了。 Yáng tái shàng de huā bèi dà yǔ cuī huǐ le. The flowers on the balcony were destroyed by the heavy rain. Notes While in English, the passive voice is inherently neutral, the passive markers bèi, jiào, ràng, and gěi may carry a negative connotation.

bù shì... érshì... 不是...而是... bù shì... érshì... 不是...而是... not... rather.... Level Category Intermediate

-


不是...而是... (bù shì... érshì...) is a pattern that emphasizes the contrast between two words, phrases, or clauses. We can translate it into English as "not... but...," or "not... rather...." There are two points to note. The first is that our parallel clauses must be balanced: they must be interchangeable. The simplest sentences of this sort work with two nouns, for instance. In this case, we need our subject to precede 不是, and 是 functions as our main verb. As the example below makes clear, we can use this pattern in more complex sentences with contrasted verb clauses. Formation (Subject) + 不是 + (clause) + 而是 + (clause) Example Sentences 1. 我们学的不是西班牙语,而是中文。 Wǒmen xué de bù shì Xībānyáyǔ, érshì Zhōngwén. "What we're studying isn't Spanish, but Chinese." 2. 我不是不愿意帮你的忙,而是没有钱。 Wǒ bù shì bùyuànyì bāng nǐ de máng, érshì méiyǒu qián. "It's not that I don't want to help you, it's that I don't have the money." Related Expressions 不是...就是...

bù shì... érshì... 不是...而是... bù shì... érshì... 不是...而是... not... rather.... Category -

Level Intermediate

不是...而是... (bù shì... érshì...) is a pattern that emphasizes the contrast between two words, phrases, or clauses. We can translate it into English as "not... but...," or "not... rather...." There are two points to note. The first is that our parallel clauses must be balanced: they must be interchangeable. The simplest sentences of this sort work with two nouns, for instance. In this case, we need our subject to precede 不是, and 是 functions as our main verb. As the example below makes clear, we can use this pattern in more complex sentences with contrasted verb clauses. Formation


(Subject) + 不是 + (clause) + 而是 + (clause) Example Sentences 1. 我们学的不是西班牙语,而是中文。 Wǒmen xué de bù shì Xībānyáyǔ, érshì Zhōngwén. "What we're studying isn't Spanish, but Chinese." 2. 我不是不愿意帮你的忙,而是没有钱。 Wǒ bù shì bùyuànyì bāng nǐ de máng, érshì méiyǒu qián. "It's not that I don't want to help you, it's that I don't have the money." Related Expressions 不是...就是...

bǔ yǔ 补语 bǔ yǔ 补语 verb complements Category type: sentence element

Level Intermediate

Verb compliments are phrases, which follow a verb, indicating the result of the action, the direction of movement, or describing the manner in which the action is or was done. Resultative compliments describe a state that results from the event described by the verb. For example, verbs like chī ("to eat") and zuò ("to do") can combine with the compliment wán ("to finish"). They have the meanings "to finish eating" and "to finish doing," respectively. Resultative compliments can be verbs, adjectives, or in rare cases, nouns (e.g., cuò - "mistake"). Here are some common combinations: For Example: 1. 2. 3. 4.

cā gān jìng ("to wipe clean") nòng huài ("to wreck," or literally, "to fiddle with until it's bad") xiě cuò ("to write incorrectly") kàn dào ("to see")

Directional compliments are composed of verbs that indicate movement or direction, like shàng ("to ascend") and chū lái ("to come out"). We use compliments to show ability or inability to achieve a result (see ~de~ ~得~). Additionally, we use verb compliments to describe the manner in which an action is or was


performed. The verb is followed by the structural particle de (得), and then by the manner (see 得, de). Both direct objects and compliments occupy the position right after the verb. So in order to have both a compliment and a direct object in the same sentence, we must change the word order. One way is to state the verb phrase twice: first as a verb-object, then as a verb-compliment combination. Another way is to use the preposition bǎ (see 把, bǎ ). A third and final way is to use the inverted sentence (see 倒装句, dào zhuāng jù ).

Formation (verb) + (verb compliment) Related Expressions 1. ~de~, ~得~ 2. De, 得 3. dào zhuāng jù, 倒装句 4. bǎ, 把 5. fāng xiàng bǔ yǔ, 方向补语

búdàn...érqiě... 不但...而且... búdàn...érqiě... 不但...而且... not only... Category type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

不但 (Búdàn)...而且 (érqiě)... is a sentence pattern we use to express the idea of "not only." We usually use it to show that two conditions are true about one subject. For example: 他不但会说英 语,而且也会说西班牙语. , tā búdàn huì shuō yīngyǔ, érqiě yě huì shuō xībānyáyǔ. ("Not only can he speak English, he can also speak Spanish.") In this case, two conditions (able to speak English and able to speak Spanish) are true about one subject (he). Less commonly, we can also use 不但...而且...(búdàn...érqiě...) to express that one condition is true for two separate subjects.


For Example: 1. 不但他不吃肉,而且全家都不吃肉. búdàn tā bù chī ròu, érqiě quán, jiā dōu bù chī ròu "Not only does he not eat meat, his whole family doesn't eat meat." Formation (subject) + 不但 (búdàn) + (verb phrase), 而且 (érqiě) + (verb phrase) 不但 (búdàn) + (sentence), 而且 (érqiě) + (sentence) Example Sentences 1. 这里的汽油不但贵,而且质量不好。 zhèlǐ de qìyóu bùdàn guì, érqiě zhìliang bù hǎo. "Not only is the gas here expensive, but it is also poor quality." 2. 她不但会做饭,而且做得很不错。 tā bùdàn huì zuòfàn, érqiě zuò de hěn bùcuò. "Not only can she cook, but the food tastes good." 3. 妈妈不但身体不错,而且心情很好。 māma bùdàn shēntǐ bùcuò, érqiě xīnqíng hěn hǎo. "Not only is mom's health good, but her spirits are high." Note: We can always put 还 after 而且 to make it more colloquial and emphasizing. 1. 我不但喜欢游泳,而且还喜欢跑步。 wǒ bùdàn xǐhuān yóuyǒng, érqiě hǎi xǐhuān pǎobù. "Not only do I like swimming, moreover, I like to run." 2. 他不但经常抽烟,而且还一直熬夜。 tā bùdàn jīngcháng chōuyān, érqiě hái yīzhí áoyè. "Not only does he smoke a lot, he also stays up really late."

bùdéliǎo 不得了 bùdéliǎo 不得了 "really" Category -

Level Intermediate

不得了 (bùdeliǎo) is used to add emphasis to the adjective which precedes it. It is a curious beast. Consider the sentence 他高兴得不得了 tā gāoxìng de bùdeliǎo ("He is very excited").


Grammatically, 不得了 is being used as a complement for the adjective 高兴. Literally, our subject is excited to the extent of being 不得了 ("really"). This is a very colloquial grammar pattern. For another example, consider the common complaint that 我的工作多得不得了 wǒ de gōngzuò duō de bùdéliǎo ("I've got a ton of work"). Literally, my work is so much that it is 不得了 ("really"). If you've come up through our progressive lesson series, this sentence structure will strike you as strange. For one, note the absence of any Chinese adverb of degree like 很 ("verb") or 太 ("too") preceding our adjective. Instead 不得了 seems to be playing the role of a verb complement, while our adjective has somehow morphed into a verb. But aren't verbs the only parts of speech that can take complements? In fact, in Chinese all adjectives are technically verbs at heast. Depending on the textbook you use, you may have even run into them referred to by the term "stative verb". This insight gives us the key to understanding how to use 不得了. Grammar Pattern: Subject + Adjective + 得 + 不得了 Subject + Verb + 得 + 不得了 On a closing note, the 不得了 grammar pattern discussed above should not be confused with the phrase 不得了了 bùdéliǎo le ("really awful"). This is an expression you'll hear from people when they're bemoaning something awful which has happened suddenly and unexpected. It is something you might hear someone say, for instance, if they arrive home and find their house on fire. The term can also be used as a standalone verb, as with the sentence 他现在可不得了了 tā xiànzài kě bùdéliǎo le ("He's really impressive"). In this sentence our speaker is expressing disapproval of the subject, while also admitting that they have succeeded at something challenging. This may be used to describe a corrupt official, for instance.

bùguǎn...háishì... 不管...还是... bùguǎn...háishì... 不管...还是... “regardless...” Category type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

不管 Bùguǎn...还是 háishì... is a sentence pattern used to express the idea "no matter" or "regardless". The clause that follows 不管 bùguǎn needs to be a question—either containing a question word like 谁 shéi ("who") or 怎么 zěnme ("how"), or providing two options (like a "[verb]


bù [verb]" style sentence). The second clause will contains 还是 háishì or another equivalent adverb (e.g. 还 hái, 也 yě, or 都 dōu). Formation 不管 bùguǎn + (sentence), (subject) + 还是 háishì + (verb phrase)

cái 才 cái 才 “only then” Category

Level Intermediate

adverb type: adverb

才 Cái is an adverb used to show that the predicate following it is true only under certain conditions. The condition may be the subject, a specific time, or an entire preceding clause. The condition will always come before 才 cái. Formation (subject) + 才 cai + (verb phrase) (sentence) + 才 cai + (verb phrase) Related Expressions zhǐ yǒu...cái... 只有...才...

chúfēi...fǒuzé... 除非...否则... chúfēi...fǒuzé... 除非...否则... “unless...”


Category

Level Intermediate

sentence pattern type: sentence pattern

除非 Chúfēi...否则 fǒuzé... is a sentence pattern used to express that unless one thing happens, another action will occur. 除非 Chúfēi corresponds to “unless” in English, so if the clause that follows 除非 chúfēi is true, then the clause that follows 否则 fǒuzé will not become true. Conversely, if the clause that follows 除非 chúfēi does not come true, then what follows fǒuzé will happen. 否则 Fǒuzé can be replaced with 不然 bùrán; the sentence pattern will retain the same meaning. Formation 除非 chúfēi + (sentence), 否则 fǒuzé + (sentence) 除非 chúfēi + (sentence), 不然 bùrán + (sentence) Example Sentences 1. 除非你做出让步,否则我不会原谅你的。 Chú fēi nǐ zuò chū ràng bù, fǒu zé wǒ bú huì yuán liàng nǐ de. Unless you make a compromise, I won't forgive you. 2. 除非大家一起去,不然他会不高兴的。 Chú fēi dà jiā yī qǐ qù, bù rán tā huì bù gāo xìng de. He'll be upset unless everyone goes together. 3. 除非我们曾经没相爱过,否则我会离开你。 Chú fēi wǒ men céng jīng méi xiāng ài guò, fǒu zé wǒ huì lí kāi nǐ. If we hadn't ever been in love, I would leave you.

chúle...yǐwài... 除了...以外... chúle...yǐwài... 除了...以外... “besides...” Category sentence pattern type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

除了 Chú le...以外 yǐ wài... is a sentence pattern that can either imply exception or addition. 除了 Chú le can be a followed by a noun phrase, a verb phrase, or a prepositional phrase. The clause that follows after 以外 yǐwài will usually include one of these three adverbs: 都 dōu, 还


hái, or 也 yě. If 都 dōu is used, exception is implied—除了 chú le takes on the meaning of "except for". If 也 yě or 还 hái is used, addition is implied—除了 chú le takes on the meaning of "in addition to". Formation chú le + (phrase) + yǐ wài, (subject) + yě/hái + (verb phrase) chú le + (phrase) + yǐ wài, (subject) + dōu + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 公园的门票除了这里卖以外,东门也卖。 Gōng yuán de mén piào chú le zhè li mài yǐ wài, dōng mén yě mài. Park entrance tickets are not only sold here, but also at the east gate. 2. 这家旅行社除了可以订机票以外,还可以预订酒店。 Zhè jiā lǚ xíng shè chú le kě yǐ dìng jī piào yǐ wài, hái kě yǐ yù dìng jiǔ diàn. Aside from reserving plane tcikets, this travel agency can also make hotel reservations. 3. 除了没有通过这次考试的学生以外,大家都可以放暑假了。 Chú le méi yǒu tōng guò zhè cì kǎo shì de xué shēng yǐ wài, dà jiā dōu kě yǐ fàng shǔ jià le. Everyone can have summer vacation, except for the students who didn't pass this test. Notes In sentences that use yě or hái, the subject can also come before chú le. Related Expressions cǐ wài 此外

dàozhuāng jù 倒装句 dàozhuāng jù 倒装句 inverted sentences / topics Category type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

In Chinese, a sentence may begin with a topic phrase. This is a noun phrase which introduces what the sentence is about. It precedes the subject. Sentences with topics are sometimes called inverted sentences because the topic can be the direct object. There are a few guidelines for Chinese topics. Topics cannot be indefinite nouns. In other words, noun phrases like yì ge rén ("a person" or "one person") cannot be sentence topics. However,


definite nouns (such as proper nouns or determiners) as well as generic nouns (e.g. dà rén "adults") can serve as the topic of a sentence. Formation (topic) + (subject) + (verb phrase) Related Expressions bīnyǔ 宾语 ( object )

de 地 de 地 manner adverbs Category adverb type: structural particle

Level Intermediate

地 (De) is a structural particle we use to describe the way an action is carried out. We primarily use this structure to show the manner of actions in the context of the subject's attitude or intent. An adverbial phrase ending in 地 (de) precedes the verb that we are modifying. The adverbial phrase is usually an adjective followed by 地 (de). The adverbial phrase has to be at least two syllables long, so monosyllabic adjectives like 慢, màn ("slow") we can reduplicate. For Example: 1. 慢慢地 màn màn de "slowly" Disyllabic adjectives can either remain as they are or we can reduplicate them. For example, both 快乐地 (kuài lè de) and 快快乐乐地 (kuài kuai lè lè de) mean "happily" (see xíng róng cí chóng dié, 形容词重叠). Actually, the easiest way to tell 地 from 的 and 得 is to see if the word after it is verb or not. Usually 地 should be in front of a verb, 的 in front of a noun, and 得 should be after an adjective. Formation (adjective) + 地 (de) + (verb)


(adverb phrase) + 地 (de) + (verb) Example Sentences 1. 他从后门悄悄地溜走。 Tā cóng hòumén qiāo qiāo de liūzǒu. "He quietly slipped out the back door." 2. 时间飞快地流逝。 Shí jiān fēi kuài de liú shì. "Time passes quickly." 3. 天晴的时候,可以清清楚楚地看见珠穆朗玛峰。 Tiān qíng de shíhòu, kěyǐ qīng qīng chǔ chǔ de kànjiàn zhūmùlǎngmǎfēng. "When the weather is clear you can see Mt. Everest very clearly." Related Expressions de (得) xíngróngcí chóngdié (形容词重叠)

dòngcí chóngdié 动词重叠 dòngcí chóngdié 动词重叠 Verb Reduplication Category verbs type: verb construction

Level Intermediate

We use verb reduplication to deemphasize an action. It implies that the action is only done slightly or only for a short period of time. We can say monosyllabic verbs twice in a row or have an unstressed yi (一) in between. For example, 看, kàn ("to look") becomes 看看, kànkan or 看一看, kàn yi kan ("to have a look" or "to look a little bit"). One step further, we can omit 一 between the two verbs. For Example: 1. 朋友,看看这个。 péngyou, kànkan zhège. "Buddy, take a look at this one." Disyllabic verbs are repeated one after the other without 一, yi: 认识, rènshi ("to get to know") becomes 认识认识, rènshi rènshi ("to get to know a little").


We can use verb reduplication in commands to make the request sound less harsh.

Formation (verb) + (verb) (monosyllabic verb) + 一 (yi) + (monosyllabic verb) Example Sentences 1. 试试这件衣服吧。 shìshi zhè jiàn yīfu ba. "How about you try on this piece of clothing." 2. 我想想买哪一个。 wǒ xiǎngxiang mǎi nǎ yī gè. "I feel like buying that one." 3. 尝尝这个,不好吃不要钱! chángchang zhège, bù hǎochī bù yào qián. "Try this one. If it doesn't taste good, then don't pay." 4. 你听听这是谁的歌。 nǐ tīngting zhè shì shéi de gē. "Listen to whose song this is." 5. 我们出去走走怎么样? wǒmen chūqù zǒuzou zěnmeyàng? "What do you think about going out for a walk?" 6. 我考虑考虑吧。 wǒ kǎolǜkaolǜ ba. "I'm going to think it over for a bit."

Notes Resultative verbs (like 做完, zuòwán, "to finish doing"), and nonvolitional verbs (like 忘, wàng, "to forget") cannot be reduplicated. Related Expressions liàngcí chóngdié 量词重叠


fēi...bù kě 非...不可 fēi...bù kě 非...不可 “must” Level Category Intermediate type: sentence pattern 非...不可 Fēi...bù kě is a sentence pattern used to express the something must be done or must be a certain way. The phrase that comes between 非 fēi and 不可 bù kě is usually a verb phrase, but in rare cases it can alternatively be a noun phrase. For example, 非你不可 fēi nǐ bù kě ("it has to be you"). Formation 非 fēi + (verb phrase) + 不可 bù kě Example Sentences 1. 今天我有考试,现在非走不可。 Jīntiān wǒ yǒu kǎoshì, xiànzài fēi zǒu bù kě. I have a test today; I have to go right now. 2. 去领驾照的时候,非本人不可。 Qù lǐng jiàzhào de shíhòu, fēi běnrén bù kě. When getting your license, you have to go yourself. 3. 老板找你,非去不可。 Lǎobǎn zhǎo nǐ, fēi qù bù kě. The boss is looking for you; you have to go.

gànmá 干吗 gànmá 干吗 “why” Category questions

Level Intermediate

type: pronoun 干吗 Gànmá is a pronoun used to ask a question. It carries both the meaning "why" and "do what". When used to ask "why" it can come either come before or after the verb. It is otherwise used to ask what someone does (e.g. 你再干嘛 nǐ zài gàn má "what are you doing").


Formation (subject) + 干吗 gànmá + (verb) (subject) + (verb) + 干吗 gànmá Related Expressions wèi shén me 为什么

háishì 还是 háishì 还是 "or" Category -

Level Intermediate

type: conjunction 还是 (Háishì) is a conjunction that we use to ask a question about two alternatives. It's similar to the English conjunction "or," and we use it to connect either verb phrases or noun phrases. Unlike 或者 (huòzhě), we use 还是 (háishì) when the choice offered is exclusive: you can have one or the other, but not both. Formation (subject) + (verb phrase) + 还是, háishì + (verb phrase) Related Expressions huò zhě, 或者

huòzhě 或者


huòzhě 或者 Level Category Intermediate type: conjunction

-

或者 (Huòzhě) is a conjunction we use to show two alternatives. It's similar to the English conjunction "or," but we use 或者 (huòzhě) to connect verb phrases, not noun phrases. Also, we primarily use 或者 (huòzhě) in statements (for "or" questions, see "还是 (háishì)"). Formation (verb phrase) + 或者, huòzhě + (verb phrase)

jìrán... 既然... jìrán... 既然... “since...” Category type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

既然 Jìrán... is a sentence pattern used to make inferences or draw conclusions. The first clause serves as the evidence or reasoning behind the second clause. The phrase 既然 jìrán itself is roughly equivalent to the English word "since". The word 那么 nàme ("so") can be used between the two clauses for emphasis. The adverb 就 jiù is can also be used for emphasis in the second clause immediately after the subject. Formation 既然 jìrán + (sentence), (sentence)


jíshǐ... 即使... jíshǐ... 即使... “even if...” Level Category Intermediate type: sentence pattern 即使 Jíshǐ... is a sentence pattern used to illustrate a point using a hypothetical situation. The word 即使 jíshǐ itself is similar to the English expression "even if". The pattern begins with 即使 jíshǐ, followed by the first clause. The second clause usually contains the adverb 也 yě or 还 hái ("still") after the subject. 虽然 Suīrán... is a similar pattern, but the clause after 虽然 suīrán is not hypothetical whereas the clause after 即使 jíshǐ can be. Formation 即使 jí shǐ + (sentence), (subject) + 也 yě / 还 hái + (verb phrase) Related Expressions suī rán... 虽然...

jiù 就 jiù 就 “then” / “only” Category mood

Level Intermediate

type: adverb 就 Jiù is an adverb with many different uses. It can be used to mean that something happened sooner than expected. For example, if work begins at 9:00, and an employee who arrived at 8:45 is asked what time they came in, they could reply 我八点四十五分就来了. wǒ bā diǎn sì shí wǔ fēn jiù lái le ("I came at 8:45"). 就 Jiù is also used to show that one event happens after another. Consider the following example:


他来了, 我们就开始. Tā lái le, wǒ men jiù kāi shǐ ("We'll start after she comes"). In this sense, 就 jiù could be translated as "then" or "thereupon". In other contexts, 就 jiù add extra emphasis to what one is saying. For example, 他就继续走. Tā jiù jìxù zǒu ("He just kept walking"). Without 就 jiù that sentence would be rather emotionless: "He kept walking". Since 就 jiù has multiple uses, its meaning will depend on the context. Formation (subject) + 就 jiù + (verb)

kǒngpà... 恐怕... kǒngpà... 恐怕... "I'm afraid that..." Category -

Level Intermediate

type: phrase 恐怕 Kǒngpà is a phrase that's used to report bad news. It's similar to beginning an English sentence with "I'm afraid that...". This phrase is used at the beginning of a sentence before the subject. Notes Don't use 我 wǒ ("I") before 恐怕 kǒngpà. "I" is already implied when using this phrase.

láizhe 来着 láizhe 来着 Just Now Category particle

Level Intermediate


来着 láizhe "Just Now" is an informal particle. it indicates that some event has happened a short time ago, and the action has already been finished. 来着 can be used when the speaker needs to be reminded of a cerain information mentioned recently. Usually we needn't use 了 in the sentence again because 了 and 来着 have the same function. 我去吃饭来着。=我刚才去吃饭了。wǒ qù chīfàn láizhe. =wǒ gāngcái qù chī fàn le. 刚才我看电影来着。=我刚才看电影了。gāngcái wǒ kàn diànyǐng láizhe. =wǒ gāngcái kàn diànyǐng le. 他昨天工作来着。=他昨天工作了。 tā zuótiān gōngzuò láizhe. =tā zuótiān gōng zuò le. Sentences containing 来着 and 了 are not exactly the same, but the meanings are similar. if we put 来着 in a question, we are asking something we just forgot. For example, you run into a familiar face, but their name is on the tip of your tongue. in this case, you can ask the question 他叫什么来 着?tā jiào shénme láizhe? " I forgot his name just now." So in this case, the use of 来着 means that you previously knew the persons's name, but recently forgot it. Formation 来着 is placed directly at the end of a sentence. Example Sentences 对不起,你说什么来着?duìbuqǐ, nǐ shuō shénme láizhe? I'm sorry, what did you say just now? 他的问题是什么来着?tā de wèntí shì shénme láizhe? What was his question? 你刚才去哪儿来着? nǐ gāngcái qù nǎr láizhe? Where did you go just now? 我有什么事儿来着?wǒ yǒu shénme shìr láizhe? What was I doing just now? 我刚才看到什么来着? wǒ gāngcái kàn dào shénme láizhe? What did I see just now? 你找谁来着? nǐ zhǎo shéi láizhe? Who were you looking for just now? 他怎么走的来着?tā zěnme zǒu de láizhe? How did leave just now?

le 了 (2)


le 了 (2) changed state Level Category Intermediate mood Type: modal particle In addition to its other uses, 了 le is a modal particle with several functions. We can use 了 le to express that a change has occurred. For example, 下雨了 xiàyǔ le ("it's raining") implies that when the speaker last checked, it wasn't raining, but now it is raining. We can also use 了 le to report progress in an ongoing action. For example, the 了 le at the end of the sentence 我看书看了一个小时了 wǒ kàn shū kàn le yī ge xiǎoshí le ("I've read for an hour") implies that the speaker is still reading. Additionally, we use 了 le to correct wrong assumptions of the listener.

Formation (sentence) + 了 le Example Sentences 1. 家里的电视机坏了。 Jiāli de diànshìjī huài le. "The TV in my house broke." 2. 她不想上大学了。 Tā bù xiǎng shàng dàxué le. "She doesn't want to go to college anymore." 3. 快到站了。 Kuài dào zhàn le. "We're almost to the station."

Notes The character for le (了) has many different uses and meanings. When 了 le is a modal particle, it will only come at the end of a sentence.

Related Expressions le 了


lí 离 lí 离 how far away Level Category Intermediate location type: preposistion 离 Lí is a preposition used to express how far two locations are from each other. 离 Lí combines with a location to give the rough meaning "away from". The predicate is usually an adjective— either 近 jìn ("near") or 远 yuǎn ("far"). However, the verb 有 yǒu can be used to talk about specific distance. 有 Yǒu is followed by the specific distance (e.g. 四公里 sì gōng li "4 kilometers"). The question word 多元 duō yuǎn is used to ask how far away one place is from another. It comes after the subject and after the prepositional phrase. Formation (location) + 离 lí + (location) + 多元 duō yuǎn (location) + 离 lí + (location) + (adjective)

(location) + 离 lí + (location) + 有 yǒu + (distance) Related Expressions yǒu 有 (3)

lián...dōu... 连...都... lián...dōu... 连...都... even... all... Category sentence pattern

Level Intermediate


The 连...都... pattern adds emphasis to a sentence. The conjunction 连 can introduce the subject of a sentence, a fronted-object, or a predicate phrase. It places extra emphasis on the portion of the sentence contained between 连 and 都. We use this pattern frequently in the negative. In that case, the verb following 都 turns negative. It is also very common for 也 to replace 都. This does not change the meaning of the pattern. Formation 连 + (Subject) + 都/也 + (Predicate) (Subject) + 连 + (Object) + 都/也 + (Verb) (Subject) + 连 + (Predicate) + 都/也 (Verb)

Example Sentences 1. 我连一个办法都没有。 wǒ lián yī ge bànfǎ dōu méiyǒu "I can't come up with even one solution." 2. 他连灯都没关就睡了。 tā lián dēng dōu méi guān jiù shuì le "He went right to sleep without even turning out the lights." 3. 连我都不知道她怎么了。 lián wǒ dōu bù zhīdào tā zěnme le "Even I don't know why she's upset." 4. 连好朋友都不帮我。 lián hǎopéngyou dōu bù bāngwǒ "Even my good friend didn't help me." 5. 她连话都没说就走了。 tā lián huà dōu méi shuō jiù zǒu le "She ran away without even saying anything. "

liàngcí chóngdié 量词重叠 liàngcí chóngdié 量词重叠 measure word reduplication Category nouns

Level Intermediate


type: noun construction Measure words (and a few nouns) can be reduplicated to mean "every". For example 浜浜肉 bàng bang ròu means "every pound of meat", and 本本书 běn ben shū means "every book". Most monosyllabic measure words can be reduplicated, while polysyllabic measure words cannot. Three nouns that can reduplicate are 人 rén, 天 tiān, and 年 nián: 人人 rén ren ("everyone"), 天天 tiān tian ("everyday"), and 年年 nián nian ("every year"). Formation (measure word) + (measure word) Related Expressions dòng cí chóng dié 动词重叠

nǎr dōu 哪儿都 nǎr dōu 哪儿都 anywhere/everywhere Category interrogative adverb

Level Intermediate

哪儿 means "where." You can use this to ask about a specific location, a place on the body, or even about personality. For Example: 1. 哪儿难受? nǎr nánshòu? "Where is it troubling you?" When we combine 哪儿 with the marker 都, meaning "all," the meaning changes to "anywhere"/"everywhere." For Example: 1. 我 哪儿都疼。 wǒ nǎr dōu téng. "I hurt everywhere." Formation Subject + (哪儿都) + verb object phrase


Example Sentences Using 哪儿 ("where"): 1. 到底哪儿疼? dàodǐ nǎr téng? "Where does it actually hurt?" 2. 医生在哪儿? yīshēng zài nǎr?-- (place) "Where is the doctor?" 3. 你哪儿不舒服? nǐ nǎr bù shūfu? -- (on the body) "Where are you uncomfortable?" 4. 他到底哪儿好? tā dàodǐ nǎr hǎo?-- (personality) "What are his good qualities?" Using 哪儿都 ("everywhere"/"anywhere"): 1. 他哪儿都难受。 tā nǎr dōu nánshòu. "He's uncomfortable everywhere." 2. 我在北京哪儿都去过。 wǒ zài Běijīng nǎr dōu qù guo. "I have been everywhere in Beijing." 3. 他哪儿都不认识。 tā nǎr dōu bù rènshi. "Everywhere he is unfamiliar with."

o哦 o哦 warning Category mood type: modal particle

Level Intermediate

哦 O is a modal particle used to give a friendly warning or reminder. It can also be used to soften commands.


Formation (sentence) + 哦 o Notes 哦 is rendered in pinyin as o even though it's pronunciation is identical to ou.

shì...de 是...的 shì...de 是...的 emphasis Category type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

Shì...de is a sentence pattern used to emphasize a specific part of a sentence. Shì can be placed before the subject, a time adverb, or a prepositional phrase. Whatever follows shì is the element that is emphasized. De is placed at the end of the sentence. However, when emphasizing the verb or the object, while shì still comes before the stressed element (the verb or the object), de comes after the verb instead of at the end of the sentence. When speaking about future events, de may be omitted. Formation shì + (subject) + (verb phrase) + de (subject) + shì + (prepositional phrase) + (verb phrase) + de (subject) + shì + (verb) + de + (object) (subject) + (verb) + de shì + (object) Example Sentences 1. 是谁带他进来的? Shì shéi dài tā jìn lái de? *Who* brought him in? 2. 现在中国政府最关心的是教育问题。 Xiàn zài zhōng guó zhèng fǔ zuì guān xīn de shì jiào yù wèn tí. Right now the Chinese government is most concerned about the education problem. 3. 这双鞋我是在商场买的。 Zhè shuāng xié wǒ shì zài shāng chǎng mǎi de. I bought this pair of shoes *at the shopping center*.


shíjiān duàn 时间段 shíjiān duàn 时间段 duration Category

Level Intermediate

time type: sentence pattern

Lengths of time (or durations) can be reported with a few different sentence patterns. To describe the length of time spent doing an action, the time phrase follows after the verb, and behaves like a verb compliment (see "bǔyǔ 补语"). If the verb has an object, the structure of the sentence must be changed to allow the length of time to still follow after the verb. There are a few ways of doing this: first, the object can be brought to the front of the sentence as the topic; second, the object can come after the length of time and the structural particle de (的); and third, the verb can be repeated, with the time phrase following after the second verb. In cases where the sentence is describing a past event, the aspectual particle le (了) is needed after the verb but before either the object or length of time phrase. Formation (subject) + (verb) + (duration) (subject) + (verb) + (duration) + 的 de + (object) (subject) + (verb) + (object), (verb) + (duration) Related Expressions duō jiǔ 多久

suī rán... 虽然... suī rán... 虽然... “even though...”


Category

Level Intermediate

sentence pattern type: sentence pattern

Suī rán... is a sentence pattern which is similar to the English phrases "even though" and "despite". The phrase suī rán itself is an adverb and can come either before or after the subject of the first clause. The second clause usually begins with a word that means "but" or "however" such as dàn shì or kě shì. Formation (subject) + suī rán + (verb phrase), dàn shì + (sentence) suī rán + (sentence), dàn shì + (sentence) Example Sentences 1. 虽然他是外国人,但是他很懂得中国礼节。 Suī rán tā shì wài guó rén, dàn shì tā hěn dǒng dé zhōng guó lǐ jié. Even though he's a foreigner, he has a really good understanding of Chinese etiquette and manners. 2. 虽然我们是一起长大的,但是我们的爱好各不相同。 Suī rán wǒ men shì yī qǐ zhǎng dà de, dàn shì wǒ men de ài hào gè bú xiàng tóng. Even though we grew up together our interests are different. 3. 虽然中国经历了很多战争,但是还有很多的名胜古迹被保留了下来。 Suī rán zhōng guó jīng lì le hěn duō zhàn zhēng, dàn shì hái yǒu hěn duō de míng shèng gǔ jì bèi bǎo liú le xià lái. Even though China has been through many wars, many historical sites are still preserved.

yào bu rán 要不然 yào bu rán 要不然 “otherwise” Category -

Level Intermediate

type: conjunction Yào bu rán is a conjunction that is used like the English word "otherwise". It shows that if the condition described in the sentence preceding it isn't or weren't true, then the situation descibed in the second sentence would be. Bù rán and fǒu zé are related phrases that can be used interchangeably with yào bu rán. Formation (sentence) + yào bu rán + (sentence)


Related Expressions chú fēi...fǒu zé... 除非...否则...

yǐ biàn 以便 yǐ biàn 以便 “in order to” Category

Level Intermediate

type: sentence pattern

Yǐ biàn is a sentence pattern used to express the purpose for doing something. It is similar to the English expressions "in order to" and "so as to". The clause that follows yǐ biàn is the purpose behind the action described in the first clause. Formation (sentence) + yǐ biàn + (verb phrase) Related Expressions wèi le... 为了...

yì biān...yì biān... 一边...一边... yì biān...yì biān... 一边...一边... two simultaneous actions Category time type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

Yì biān...yì biān... is a sentence pattern used to express that two things happen at the same time, giving both of them equal emphasis. The basic pattern consists of the subject followed by yì biān and a verb phrase, and then by yì biān and another verb phrase. In informal Chinese, the yì of yì biān is often dropped.


Formation (subject) + yì biān + (verb phrase) + yì biān + (verb phrase) Related Expressions zhe 着

yī fāngmiàn... lìng yī fāngmiàn... 一方 面...另一方面... yī fāngmiàn... lìng yī fāngmiàn... 一方面...另一方面... equivocating Category type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

一方面...另一方面... yī fāngmiàn... lìng yī fāngmiàn ("one the one hand... on the other...") is a sentence pattern used to connect two potentially unrelated observations, and link them together in some context. The basic pattern consists of 一方面 followed by the first clause (or point to be discussed) and then 另一方面 followed by the second clause (or point to be discussed). It's typical for the subject of the second clause to be omitted, in which case it is understood to be the same as that of the first clause. It is easiest to translate this into English using the phrase "one the one side... on the other". The only difficulty with this is that the two points to be discussed do not actually need to be opposites. Nor does use of this pattern suggest that someone is equivocating. In some cases, the best translation might be "not only... but also". See the sample sentences below for some examples which should make this clear. Formation yī fāngmiàn + (clause one) + lìng yī fāngmiàn + (clause two) Example Sentences 1. 一方面我不想去,另一方面我也没有时间 yīfāngmiàn wǒ bù xiǎng qù, lìngyīfāngmiàn wǒ yě méiyǒu shíjiān ("On the one hand I don't want to go, on the other I don't have the time either") 2. 一方面他很想去,另一方面他又没有时间 yīfāngmiàn tā hěn xiǎng qù, lìngyīfāngmiàn tā yòu méiyǒu shíjiān ("On the one hand he wants to go, but on the other he doesn't have the time") 3. 这个问题一方面不好解决,另一方面解决了也没什么用 zhège wèntí yī fāngmiàn bù hǎo


jiějué, lìng yī fāngmiàn jiějué le yě méi shénme yòng ("This question is not only difficult to resolve, but solving it isn't any use") 4. 这套衣服一方面不太好看,另一方面也太贵了 zhè tào yīfu yīfāngmiàn bù tài hǎokàn, lìng yī fāngmiàn yě tài guì le ("This suit of clothing is not very good looking, and also very expensive") 5. 他一方面不满意现在的生活,另一方面又不肯努力工作 tā yī fāngmiàn bù mǎnyì xiànzài de shēnghuó, lìng yī fāngmiàn yòu bù kěn nǔlì gōngzuò ("One the one hand he isn't content with his current life, but then he's not willing to work hard either") Related Expressions 一边...一边...

yǐ miǎn 以免 yǐ miǎn 以免 “to avoid” Category

Level Intermediate

type: sentence pattern

Yǐ miǎn is a sentence pattern used to express preventative measures. It is similar to the English expressions "in order to avoid" and "so as to avoid". The clause that follows yǐ miǎn is the undesirable scenario, while the clause beforehand describes what is done to avoid it. Miǎn dé functions the same way as yǐ miǎn—the two can be used interchangeably. Formation (sentence) + yǐ miǎn + (sentence) Related Expressions yǐ biàn 以便

yī...jiù... 一...就... yī...jiù... 一...就...


as soon as... Level Category Intermediate sentence pattern type: sentence pattern Yī...jiù... is a sentence pattern we use to express that one event happens once or immediately after another event does. This is very similar to the English phrase "as soon as." The subject comes before yī, followed by the first event. The second event then follows after jiù. This pattern implies that the first event causes the second event.

Formation (subject) + 一 + (verb phrase), 就 + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 他过去一着凉就生病。 Tā guò qù yī zháo liáng jiù shēng bìng. "In the past, he'd get sick whenever exposed to the cold." 2. 这条路一下雨就不能通行了。 Zhè tiáo lù yī xià yǔ jiù bù néng tōng xíng le. "As soon as it rains, this road becomes impassable." 3. 电工一来就修好了热水器。 Diàn gōng yī lái jiù xiū hǎo le rè shuǐ qì. "Once the electrician got here, he fixed the hot water heater right away."

Notes The subject of the second clause comes before jiù. However, the subject often is the same as in the first clause, so we omit it.

yòu 又 yòu 又 “again” Category -

Level Intermediate


type: adverb Yòu is an adverb used to indicate that an event, past or present, occurred or occurs again. Its position in the sentence is fixed—it follows the subject or topic and comes directly before the verb clause. Formation (subject) + yòu + (verb) Related Expressions zài 再

yǒu 有 (3) yǒu 有 (3) extent Category -

Level Intermediate

type: verb Yǒu is a verb we use to specify the degree or extent of some quality. It is followed by an extent phrase and then by an adjective. The extent phrase is often a distance, a weight, etc. For example, zhèi ge hé zi yǒu wǔ gōng jīn zhòng. ("This box is five kilos heavy.") In this example, the extent phrase is wǔ gōng jīn ("five kilos") and the adjective is zhòng ("heavy"). We can use duō as the extent to make "how" questions like duō cháng ("how long") or duō dà ("how big") (see duō ~ 多~). Also, yǒu can combine with (yì) diǎn or (yì) xiē before adjectives to mean "somewhat [adjective]" or "a little bit [adjective]." Formation (subject) + yǒu + (extent) + (adjective) (subject) + yǒu + duō + (adjective) Example Sentences 1. 他有一米八高。 Tā yǒu yī mǐ bā gāo. "He is 1.8 meters tall."


2. 你的房间有多大? Nǐ de fáng jiān yǒu duō dà? "How big is your room?" 3. 快要考试了,所以我有一点儿紧张。 Kuài yào kǎo shì le, suǒ yǐ wǒ yǒu yì diǎnr jǐn zhāng. "I'm just about to take a test, so I'm a bit nervous."

yǒu 有 (4) yǒu 有 (4) comparison Category comparisons

Level Intermediate

type: verb Yǒu is a verb we use to express how one thing compares to another. When used in the affirmative, it means that the subject is "just as [adjective] as" another thing. When used in the negative, it means that the subject is "not as [adjective] as" the other thing. Formation (subject) + méi yǒu + (noun phrase) + nà me + (adjective) (subject) + yǒu + (noun phrase) + nà me + (adjective) Example Sentences 1. 北京的夏天没有南京那么热。 Běi jīng de xià tiān méi yǒu nán jīng nà me rè. "Beijing's summers aren't as hot as Nanjing's." 2. 美国的房价没有日本的贵。 Měi guó de fáng jià méi yǒu rì běn de guì. "Housing prices in America aren't as expensive as in Japan." 3. 你的书包有我的这么重吗? Nǐ de shū bāo yǒu wǒ de zhè me zhòng ma? "Is your backpack as heavy as mine is?" Notes Nà me can be interchanged with nà yàng, but both are optional. When the noun phrase that follows


yǒu is wǒ ("I") or something close to the speaker, you can use zhè me or zhè yàng in place of nà me or nà yàng.

yǒu~ 有~ yǒu~ 有~ “a” / “some” Category -

Level Intermediate

type: phrase Yǒu~ is a phrase used to make an indefinite subject. Yǒu combines with a noun to give the meaning "a [noun]" or "some [noun]". While the combinations are nearly limitless, some common ones include: yǒu rén ("someone"), yǒu shí hòu ("sometimes"). Compare these two sentences: yī shēng gào sù wǒ zěn me bàn ("the doctor told me what to to") and yǒu yī shēng gào sù wǒ zěn me bàn ("a doctor told me what to do"). Without yǒu, the subject will be a specific reference ("the doctor" or "my doctor"). Additionally, the word yī ("one") and the measure word may be used between yǒu and the noun. For example: yǒu yí liàng chē ("a car"). The measure word can be used without yī as well: yǒu liàng chē ("a car"). These variations don't change the meaning of the phrase. Formation yǒu + (noun) + (verb phrase) yǒu + (measure word) + (noun) + (verb phrase) yǒu + yī + (measure word) + (noun) + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 中国有的地方不通火车。 Zhōng guó yǒu de dì fāng bù tōng huǒ chē. Some places in China aren't accessible by train. 2. 有的中国人不说普通话。 Yǒu de zhōng guó rén bù shuō pǔ tōng huà. Some Chinese people don't speak Mandarin. 3. 我有的时候去晨练。 Wǒ yǒu de shí hòu qù chén liàn. Sometimes I exercise in the morning.


yú shì 于是 yú shì 于是 so, then Level Category Intermediate time type: conjunction Yú shì is a conjunction used to link two events together. It implies both a relationship of time and a relationship of causation. The clause before yú shì happens first in time, and the second clause describes an event that is a result or reaction of the first clause. Formation (sentence) + yú shì + (sentence) Example Sentences 1. 下午开始下雨了,于是我们都到房间里看电影去了。 Xià wǔ kāi shǐ xià yǔ le, yú shì wǒ men dōu dào fáng jiān li kàn diàn yǐng qù le. It started raining in the afternoon, so we all went in the room to watch a movie. 2. 那家餐厅暴满了,于是我们来这里吃饭了。 Nà jiā cān tīng bào mǎn le, yú shì wǒ men lái zhè li chī fàn le. That restaurant was completely full, so we came here to eat. 3. 昨天他被发现考试时作弊,于是今天就被学校开除了。 Zuó tiān tā bèi fā xiàn kǎo shì shí zuò bì, yú shì jīn tiān jiù beì xué xiào kāi chú le. He was discovered cheating on a test yesterday, so today he got expelled.

yuè...yuè... 越...越... yuè...yuè... 越...越... the more...the more... Category -

Level Intermediate

type: phrase Yuè...yuè... is a phrase we use to show that as one condition increases or intensifies, another does as well. For example, yuè dà yuè hǎo implies that "the bigger something is" (yuè dà), "the better it is" (yuè hǎo). We can also use this phrase with verbs: zhè bù diàn yǐng, yuè kàn yuè xǐ huān. ("The more I watch this movie, the more I like it.")


Yuè lái yuè... is a common way to say that some quality intensifies with time. It is inherently a neutral expression, so we can use it to talk about increasing good or bad conditions. For Example: 1. yuè lái yuè zāo gāo "It's getting worse and worse." 2. yuè lái yuè hǎo "It's getting better and better."

Formation yuè + (adjective / verb phrase) + yuè + (adjective / verb phrase) yuè + lái + yuè + (adjective / verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 恐怖片越恐怖越好。 kǒngbùpiānr yuè kǒngbù yuè hǎo. "The scarier the horror film, the better." 2. 我喜欢看爱情片,越多越好。 wǒ xǐhuān àiqíngpiānr, yuè duō yuè hǎo. "I like romantic films, the more the better." 3. 这些花越红越漂亮。 zhèxiē huār yuè hóng yuè piàoliang. "The redder these flowers are, the prettier." 4. 买东西越便宜越好。 mǎi dōngxi yuè piányi yuè hǎo. "The cheaper the products, the better." 5. 他越看越恐怖。 tā yuè kàn yuè kǒngbù. "The more he sees, the more scared he becomes." 6. 妈妈越说越生气。 māma yuè shuō yuè shēngqì. "The more Mom speaks, the angrier she becomes." 7. 我越走越累。 wǒ yuè zǒu yuè lèi. "The more I walk, the more tired I become." 8. 我越看越喜欢。 wǒ yuè kàn yuè xǐhuān. "The more I see, the more I like it." 9. 他越吃越想吃。 tā yuè chī yuè xiǎng chī. "The more he eats, the more he wants to eat." 10.我们越听越讨厌。 wǒmen yuè tīng yuè tǎoyàn.


"The more we hear, the more we hate it." 11.他越看越想看。 tā yuè kàn yuè xiǎng kàn. "The more he sees, the more he wants to see."

zài 在 (3) zài 在 (3) Category location

Level Intermediate

type: preposition Zài is a preposition we use to indicate the destination of an action. To talk about the general setting where an action takes place, a prepositional phrase using zài precedes the verb. But for verbs like zhù ("to reside"), fàng ("to place"), zhàn ("to stand"), zuò ("to sit"), tǎng ("to lie down"), and others, one can also talk about the end location or resulting position of the action. In these cases, zài follows immediately after the verb. For example, tā zuò zài shā fā shàng ("she sat down on the sofa"). However, when there is another verb complement, the zài prepositional phrase moves in front of the verb (see "bǔ yǔ 补语"). If the verb takes an object, the object will either move to the front of the sentence as the topic (see "dào zhuāng jù 倒装句"), or it will be used in a bǎ construction (see bǎ 把).

Formation (subject) + (verb) + zài + (location) Example Sentences 1. 小狗睡在我的床上。 Xiǎo gǒu shuì zài wǒ de chuáng shàng. "The puppy sleeps on my bed." 2. 不要把脚放在餐桌上。 Bú yào bǎ jiǎo fàng zài cān zhōu shàng. "Don't put your feet on the dinner table." 3. 你住在什么地方?


Nǐ zhù zài shén me dì fāng? "Where do you live?" Related Expressions zài 在 (2) bǎ 把

zhe 着 zhe 着 background action Category aspect type: aspectual particle

Level Intermediate

Zhe is an aspectual particle used to show that one action happens at the same time as another. The first verb is followed by zhe, and is considered to be a background action in relation to the second verb. For example, in the sentence tā xǐ huan tīng zhe yīn yuè chī fàn ("she likes listening to music while she eats"), "listening to music" is the background activity of "eating". If the first verb has an object, it comes after zhe, but before the second verb. Formation (subject) + (verb) + zhe + (verb) Notes The verb that comes before zhe must be repeatable or continuing, so verbs like sǐ ("to die") cannot be used with zhe. Related Expressions biān...biān... 边...边...


zhe 着 (2) zhe 着 (2) Continuing State Category aspect type: aspectual particle

Level Intermediate

Zhe is an aspectual particle used to show an object's continuing position or location. We use some action verbs to indicate a state of being-"to sleep," "to sit," and "to wear" are a few examples. When the particle zhe follows one of these verbs, it takes the meaning of "is sleeping," "is sitting," or "is wearing," using the previous examples. Note that while "he sat down" describes an action, "he is sitting" describes a state of being. Similarly, in wǒ bǎ dì tú guà zài qiáng shàng ("I'll hang the map on the wall"), guà is an action, but in qiáng shàng guà zhe yì fú dì tú ("there is a map hanging on the wall"), guà is a state: "is hanging." Other common examples include ná ("to take"), ná zhe ("to be holding"), zhàn ("to stand"), zhàn zhe ("to be standing"), tǎng ("to lie (down)"), tǎng zhe ("to be lying (down)"), tíng ("to stop"), and tíng zhe ("to be stopped") or ("to be parked"). This doesn't work for all action verbs. We cannot use verbs such as "to kick" or "to eat" to show a state of being. The durative form of these verbs ("is kicking" or "is eating") is not a state, but rather is a continuing action. Formation (verb) + zhe Related Expressions zài 在 (4) zhe 着

zhǐ yào...jiù... 只要...就... zhǐ yào...jiù... 只要...就... “as long as...” Category sentence pattern

Level Intermediate


type: sentence pattern Zhǐ yào...jiù... is a sentence pattern used to express that as long as the first clause is true, then the second clause will also be true. Even though this sentence pattern implies that the situation described in the first clause will lead to the circumstances described by the second clause, this does not mean that the second clause cannot happen without the first. Rather, it implies that the first clause being true is sufficient to result in the second clause, though it’s not a necessary condition. Formation zhǐ yào + (sentence), (subject) + jiù + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 只要有两个人就可以推动这辆新型卡车。 Zhǐ yào yǒu liǎng ge rén jiù kě yǐ tūi dòng zhè liàng xīn xíng kǎ chē. As long as you have two people you can push this new truck model. 2. 夏天只要不太热,我就不会开空调。 Xià tiān zhǐ yào bú tài rè, wǒ jiù bú huì kāi kōng tiáo. As long as it doesn't get too hot in the summer I won't turn on the air conditioning. 3.每个月 ,只要到那家餐厅的优惠日就会爆满。 Měi ge yuè, zhǐ yào dào nà jiā cān tīng de yōu huì rì jiù huì bào mǎn. Every month, this restaurant is packed when you go on the day they run special deals. Notes Contrast this pattern with "zhǐ yǒu...cái... 只有...才...". Related Expressions zhǐ yǒu...cái... 只有...才...

zhǐ yǒu...cái... 只有...才... zhǐ yǒu...cái... 只有...才... “only if...” Category sentence pattern type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

Zhǐ yǒu...cái... is a sentence pattern used to express that one thing is entirely conditional upon another thing being true. In this pattern, the circumstances described in the second clause are impossible unless the first clause is true.


Formation zhǐ yǒu + (sentence), (subject) + cái + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 只有留学过的人才知道其中的乐趣和辛苦。 Zhǐ yǒu liú xué guò de rén cái zhī daò qí zhōng de lè qù hé xīn kǔ. Only people who have actually studied abroad can know the joys and hardships involved. 2. 只有夏天的暴雨后才能看到彩虹。 Zhǐ yǒu xià tiān de bào yǔ hòu cái néng kàn dào cǎi hóng. Only after a summer storm can you see a rainbow. 3. 只有真正努力的人才能得到丰厚的回报。 Zhǐ yǒu zhēn zhèng nǔ lì de rén cái néng dé dào fēng hòu de huí bào. Only the people who are truly diligent will be able to obtain a generous return. Related Expressions zhǐ yào...jiù... 只要...就...

zì cóng... 自从... zì cóng... 自从... “ever since...” Category time type: sentence pattern

Level Intermediate

Zì cóng... is a sentence pattern used to express that a condition or state has continued ever since a certain time in the past. The pattern consists of a first clause beginning with zì cóng that points to a past time or event, which is followed by a second clause describing the condition that has continued since that time. The first clause often ends with a time word like yǐ hòu ("after"), yǐ lái ("since"), or shí ("at the time"), which may all be used interchangeably in this pattern. Formation zì cóng + (sentence), (sentence)


rìqī 日期 rìqī 日期 dates Level Category Beginner type: adverb

time

In Chinese the word order of dates is different from the West. Chinese begins with the largest division (years) and moves to the smallest (days). Dates can be combined with hours, minutes, and seconds to give a specific time on a specific date. The word order still begins with the largest unit, and ends with the smallest (in this case from years to seconds). Years are enumerated and followed by 年 nián: 二零零九年 èr líng líng jiǔ nián ("the year 2009"). Months are numbered one to twelve (January to December) followed by 月 yuè: 四月 sì yuè ("April"). Days are numerals followed by 号 hào: 十六号 shí liù hào ("the sixteenth"). When asking the date 几 jǐ goes before the unknown time element. So "What's today's date?" in Chinese would be 今天几月几号 jīntiān jǐ yuè jǐ hào (literally "today, what month what day"). Formation Year: • (number) + 年 nián Month: • (number) + 月 yuè Day: • (number) + 号 hào Full date: • (number) + 年 nián + (number) + 月 yuè + (number) + 号 hào Example Sentences 1. 我们的结婚纪念日是几年几月几号? Wǒmen de jiéhūn jìniànrì shì jǐ nián jǐ yuè jǐ hào? What date is our wedding anniversary? 2. 中国的新学期是九月一号开始。 Zhōngguó de xīn xuéqī shì jiǔ yuè yī hào kāishǐ. In China, the new semester begins on September 1st.


huì 会 (2) huì 会 (2) future Category -

Level Beginner

type: auxiliary verb 会 Huì is an auxiliary verb used to express that an event will most likely take place. Therefore, 会 huì is used to refer to future events. In the absence of modal particles (like 嘛 ma or 了 le), de (的) is sometimes placed at the end of a future 会 huì sentence. Formation (subject) + 会 huì + (verb) Related Expressions yào 要 kěnéng 可能

jǐ diǎn 几点 jǐ diǎn 几点 What time Category time

Level Beginner

Type: Adverb 几点 (Jǐ diǎn) is an adverb that means "what time of day" or "what hour." In Chinese, we use the words 点 (diǎn) or 点钟 (diǎn zhōng) to count the hours of the day, 分 (fēn) to count minutes of the hour, and 秒 (miǎo) to count the seconds of the minute. To report the time of day, one says the hour followed by the minute (and optionally the second).


You can report minutes to the hour using the word 差 (chà). For Example: 1. 三点差五分 sān diǎn chà wǔ fēn "five minutes to three" or "2:55" The word 半 (bàn) expresses half hours. For Example: 1. 七点半 qī diǎn bàn "7:30"

Formation Hours:  (number) + 点 (diǎn)  (number) + 点钟 (diǎn zhōng) Minutes:  (number) + 分 (fēn)  chà + (number) + 分 (fēn) Seconds:  (number) + 秒 (miǎo)

Example Sentences 1. 银行被盗的时间是晚上十一点五十八分三十七秒。 Yínháng bèi dào de shíjiān shì wǎnshàng shíyī diǎn wǔshíbā fēn sānshíqī miǎo. "The time of the bank robbery was 11:58:37 pm." 2. 下一班火车几点几分发车? Xià yī bān huǒchē jǐ diǎn jǐ fēn fāchē? "What time does the next train depart?" 3. 你们大概几点到酒店? Nǐmen dàgài jǐ diǎn dào jiǔdiàn? "What time will you get to the pub?"

Related Expressions shí jiān diǎn 时间点


méiyǒu 没有 méiyǒu 没有 Simple Negative Past Category negation

Level Beginner

type: adverb 没有, Méiyǒu is an adverb we use to express that an action did not take place in the past. It comes immediately before the verb. We can shorten 没有 (Méiyǒu) to just 没 (méi) in spoken Chinese. Verbs that do not describe actions are instead negated by bù regardless of time frame. For example, 我不是大学生 (wǒ bú shì dà xuésheng) can mean either, "I'm not a college student," or "I wasn't a college student," depending on the context. Additionally, you can only negate verbs like 知道, zhīdào ("to know"); 能, néng ("to be able"), etc., with 不 (bù) since they don't describe an action. We negate adjectives as well by 不 (bù) even in past tense. For example, 他不搞 (tā bù gāo) can mean either "He wasn't tall" or "He isn't tall."

Formation (subject) + 没有, méiyǒu + (action verb phrase) (subject) + 不, bù + (verb phrase) (subject) + 不, bù + (adjective)

Example Sentences 1. 我已经很久没回国了。 Wǒ yǐjīng hěn jiǔ méi huíguó le. "I haven't gone back to my home country a very long time." 2. 昨天我的心情不好。


Zuótiān wǒ de xīnqíng bù hǎo. "I was in a bad mood yesterday." 3. 这里原来不能停车的。 Zhèli yuánlái bù néng tíng chē de. "Originally, you couldn't park here."

Notes Using 不 (bù) for past actions is much less common than 没有 (méiyǒu) and usually implies that the action was not done on purpose. Related Expressions bù 不

hǎo~ 好~ hǎo~ 好~ “easy to ~” Category -

Level Beginner

type: phrase 好 Hǎo~ is a phrase used to express that an action is easy to do. It's formed by adding an action verb after 好 hǎo. The phrase functions like an adjective—it's usually used to modify nouns, and it can be preceded by degree adverbs like 非常 fēicháng and 很 hěn. Several verb combinations with 好 hǎo have become set phrases: 好吃 hǎochī ("delicious"), 好看 hǎokàn ("good-looking"), 好听 hǎotīng ("pleasant to hear"), etc. Formation 好 hǎo + (verb) Example Sentences


1. 好看的电影总是场场爆满。 Hǎokàn de diànyǐng zǒngshì chǎngchang bàomǎn. Good movies always fill the theaters (with people). 2. 北京的夜市里也有不好吃的小吃。 Běijīng de yèshì lǐ yě yǒu bù hǎochī de xiǎochī. In Beijing's night markets, there are also snacks that don't taste good. 3. 日本的数码相机很好用。 Rìběn de shùmǎ xiàngjī hěn hǎo yòng. Japanese digital cameras are easy to use. Related Expressions nán~ 难~

yào 要 yào 要 To be going to / To have to Category mood Type: Auxiliary Verb

Level Beginner

Yào is an auxiliary verb we use to talk about what one will do, or what one is obliged to do, in the future. Unlike kě néng, which emphasizes the possibility, yào emphasizes plans for a specific action. Formation (subject) + yào + (verb) Related Expressions huì (会) (2) kě néng (可能)


gěi 给 gěi 给 “for” Category -

Level Beginner

type: preposition 给 Gěi is a preposition with a few unique functions. First, it is used to mark a benefactive noun phrase. The benefactive noun phrase in a sentence is a group or individual on whose behalf the action is performed. For example, in the sentence “he built a house for me”, “for me” is the benefactive noun phrase. This sentence in Chinese would be 他给我造了房子。 tā gěi wǒ zào le fang zi. Benefactive noun phrases come before the verb in the sentence. Second, 给 gěi is used to mark an indirect object. In this situation, 给 gěi and the indirect object will typically appear either directly after the verb or at the end of the sentence (see “jiànjiē bīnyǔ 间 接宾语”). Third, 给 gěi can be used with verbs like 听 tīng (“to hear”) and 看 kàn (“to see”) to express permission to look or listen. Here are two examples: 我念给你听 wǒ niàn gěi nǐ tīng (“I’ll read it for you to hear”) and 请给我看那本杂志 qǐng gěi wǒ kàn nèi běn zá zhì (“please let me look at that magazine”). As shown in those two examples this variant of 给 gěi can be used with or without other verbs and objects. Fourth, 给 gěi is used to mark the agent of a passive sentence (see “bèidòng shì 被动式”). Formation Benefactive noun phrase marker: • (subject) + 给 gěi + (noun) + (verb phrase) Indirect object marker: • (subject) + (verb) + 给 gěi + (indirect object) + (direct object) • (subject) + (verb) + (direct object) + 给 gěi + (indirect object) 给 gěi + (person / animal) + 看 kàn / 听 tīng Related Expressions jiànjiē bīnyǔ 间接宾语


weì 为

guò 过 guò 过 Past Experience Category aspect type: aspectual particle

Level Beginner

过 Guò is an aspectual particle we use to relate past experience. It follows directly after a verb to mean "to have [verb]-ed before." We can only use 过 guò with certain types of verbs. The verb must describe an action and it must be repeatable. We can use the particle 了 le after 过 guò to emphasize that an action has already taken place. Objects can follow both 过 guò and 了 le. We negate a 过 guò sentence by inserting the adverb 没有 méiyǒu before the verb. 没有 Méiyǒu may be shortened to just 没 méi. Formation (verb) + 过 guò

没有 méiyǒu + (verb) + 过 guò Example Sentences 1. 你去过台湾吗? Nǐ qù guò Táiwān ma? "Have you been to Taiwan before?" 2. 我从来没吃过墨西哥菜。 Wǒ cónglái méi chī guò Mòxīgē cài. "I have never eaten Mexican food before." 3. 今年日本有没有过大地震? Jīnnián Rìběn yǒu méiyǒu guò dà dìzhèn? "Has Japan had any major earthquakes this year?"


Related Expressions le 了

fùcí 副词 fùcí 副词 adverbs Category -

Level Beginner

type: part of speech 副词 Fù cí is the Chinese word for "adverb". There are a few different types of adverbs in Chinese. One common type is the time adverb. Words that indicate a point or period of time can be used as adverbs. Some examples include 今天 jīntiān ("today"), 五点钟 wǔ diǎn zhōng ("five o'clock"), and 明年 míngnián ("next year"). These adverbs can appear either before or immediately after the subject. Note that negation (using 不 bù or 没有 méiyǒu) comes after this type of adverb, not before. Adverbs that reflect the speaker's evaluation of the sentence behave similarly to time adverbs—they can come before or after the subject. Here are a few examples: 也许 yěxǔ ("perhaps"), 当然 dāngrán ("of course"), 本来 běnlái ("originally"), 幸亏 xìngkuī ("fortunately"). Note that negation comes after this type of adverb, not before. Adjectives can be made into adverbs. This kind of adverb describes the manner in which the verb happens. Adjectives attach to verbs with the particle de (地): 简单的生活 jiǎndān de shēnghuó ("live simply"). Some adjectives reduplicate when made into adverbs: 静静地 jìng jing de, 悄悄地 qiāo qiāo de, etc. Note that negation comes before this type of adverb, not after (see "de 地"). There is another group of adverbs that only come after the subject. This category includes adverbs related to frequency, as well as other adverbs that simply don't fit in the above categories. Some examples include: 常常 cháng cháng ("frequently"), 每天 měitiān ("everyday"), 只 zhǐ ("only"), 就 jiù ("then"), 还 hái ("still"), 已经 yǐjīng ("already"), 再 zài ("again"), 也 yě ("also"). Note that negation comes after these adverbs, not before. Formation


(subject) + (adverb) + (verb) (adverb) + (subject) + (verb) (adjective) + 地 de + (verb) Related Expressions de 地 xíng róng cí 形容词

duōshǎo 多少 duōshǎo 多少 How much? Category

Level Beginner

-

多 少, duōshǎo ("how many" or "how much"), is a compound of the words 多 (duō) and 少 (shǎo), meaning "many" and "few," or "much" and "little," respectively. We can use it as a question on its own as in 多少, duōshǎo? ("How much?") or 多少钱, duōshǎo qián? ("How much money?"). Or we can combine it with measure words like 个, which we learned in the last lesson, to form questions like 多少个人, duōshǎo ge rén? ("How many + [MEASURE WORD] + people?" or just "How many people?")

a啊 a啊 softener Category mood

Level Beginner


type: modal particle 啊 (A) is a modal particle we use to soften the message of a sentence. When used at the end of questions and commands, it causes the utterance to sound less intrusive and forceful. Formation (sentence) + 啊 a Example Sentences 1. 你好啊。 nǐhǎo ā. "Hello." 2. 晚上好啊。 wǎnshang hǎo a. "Good evening!" 3. 你去哪儿啊? nǐ qù nǎr ā? "Where are you going?" 4. 有什么事儿啊? yǒu shénme shìr ā? "What's up?" 5. 对啊。 duì a. "Right!" 6. 好啊。 hǎo a. "Great!"

bǎ 把 bǎ 把 Object marker Category Type: preposition

Level Beginner


把 (bǎ) is a preposition we use to place the direct object before the verb. Using it allows the verb to be followed by complements (see "bǔ yǔ, 补语"), objects, or location expressions (see "zài, 在 (3)"). There are a couple restrictions when using 把 (bǎ). You can only use it in an action verb sentence. The object must be definitely referenced, so 一封信, yì fēng xìn ("a letter") wouldn't work, but 信, xìn ("[the] letter") and 这封信, zhèi fēng xìn ("this letter") would. Also, the verb should be followed by a verb complement, another object, a location marker, or the aspectual particle le (了). Formation

(subject) + 把, bǎ + (object) + (verb phrase)

Example Sentences 1. 他把我的杯子摔碎了。 Tā bǎ wǒ de bēi zi shuāi suì le. "He smashed my cup on the ground." 2. 我不会把这个秘密告所别人的。 Wǒ bú huì bǎ zhè ge mì mì gào sù bié rén de. "I won't tell this secret to anyone." 3. 她把我的午餐全吃了。 Tā bǎ wǒ de wǔ cān quán chī le. "She ate all of my lunch."

Related Expressions bīn yǔ 宾语 bǔ yǔ 补语

búyào 不要


búyào 不要 “don't” Level Category Beginner imperative type: phrase

不要 Búyào is a phrase used to give a negative command. The verb comes after 不要 búyào. This is a very direct way of telling someone to not do something. Adding 请 qǐng before 不要 búyào makes the command sound less forceful. 别 Bié is a common variant. 不用 Bú yòng and 不必 bú bì are similar expressions, but are much less direct than 不要 bú yào and 别 bié. 请 Qǐng cannot be used before 不用 bú yòng and 不必 bú bì. Formation

不要 bú yào + (verb phrase) 别 bié + (verb phrase) 不用 bú yòng + (verb phrase) 不必 bú bì + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 请不要在美术馆里拍照。 Qǐng bú yào zài měi shù guǎn lǐ pāi zhào. Please don't take pictures in the museum. 2. 晚上睡觉前别忘了关窗户。 Wǎn shàng shuì jiào qián bié wàng le guān chuāng hù. Before you go to sleep for the night, don't forget to close the window. 3. 你不用回家后给我电话了。 Nǐ bú yòng huí jiā hòu gěi wǒ diàn huà le. Don't trouble yourself to call me when you get home. Notes The subject of a negative command is always 你 nǐ or 你们 nǐmen ("you"), but it is often omitted. Related Expressions qǐng 请


dàshùzì 数字 dàshùzì 数字 large numbers Category

Level numbers Beginner In Chinese, large numbers are counted according to a different system than in the West. In English 100,000 would be read as "one hundred-thousand", but in Chinese it would be 十万 shí wàn (literally "ten ten-thousand"). So, while English counts thousands (one thousand, ten-thousand, one hundred-thousand), Chinese counts by 万 wàn, or ten-thousands: 一万 yí wàn (10,000), 十万 shí wàn (100,000), 一百万 yì bǎi wàn (1,000,000), 一千万 yì qiān wàn (10,000,000). Larger numbers are then counted by yì: 一亿 yí yì (100,000,000), 十亿 shí yì (1,000,000,000),

一百亿 yì bǎi yì (10,000,000,000), etc. Formation • yī - 1 (一) • shí - 10 (十) • yì bǎi - 100 (一百) • yì qiān - 1,000 (一千) • yí wàn - 10,000 (一万) • shí wàn - 100,000 (十万) • yì bǎi wàn - 1,000,000 (一百万) • yì qiān wàn - 10,000,000 (一千万) • yí yì - 100,000,000 (一亿) • shí yì - 1,000,000,000 (十亿) • yì bǎi yì - 10,000,000,000 (一百亿) • yì qiān yì - 100,000,000,000 (一千亿) • yī zhào - 1,000,000,000,000 (一兆) Related Expressions shùzì 数字


de 的 (2) de 的 (2) nominalizer Category nouns type: structural particle

Level Beginner

的 (De) is a structural particle we use to modify nouns. A noun phrase consists of modifiers followed by 的 (de) and then the noun. The modifier may be another noun, a verb, an adjective, a prepositional phrase, or even an entire clause. When the modifying word is also a noun, the noun phrase is usually possessive (see 的, de). Certain set expressions do not use 的 (de) between the two nouns, such as nationalities: we combine 中国, zhōngguó ("China") and 人, rén ("person") without de, as in 中国人, Zhōngguórén ("Chinese person"). When a verb modifies a noun, the noun can be the object of the verb as in 我看的书, wǒ kàn de shū ("the book I read"), or it can also be the subject of the verb as in 唱歌的人, chàng gē de rén ("the person who is singing"). Monosyllabic adjectives can modify nouns without 的 (de) in between the two, but disyllabic adjectives, or adjectives that we modify by adverbs (such as 很, hěn), require 的 (de). Determiners like 这 (zhè), 那 (nèi), and 哪 (něi), and numbers connect to nouns with measure words. If there are additional elements modifying the noun, the word order follows this pattern: modifier, de, number/determiner, measure word, noun. For Example: 1. wǒ mǎi de liǎng ge píng guǒ "the two apples I bought" Formation (adjective) + 的 de + (noun) (noun) + 的 de + (noun) (verb) + 的 de + (noun) (clause) + 的 de + (noun) (noun/verb/adjective) + 的 de + zhèi/nèi/něi + (measure word) + (noun) (noun/verb/adjective) + 的 de + (number) + (measure word) + (noun)


Example Sentences 1. 那家的冰激凌最好吃。 Nà jiā de bīngjīlíng zuì hǎochī. "That place's ice cream is the best." 2. 今年白色的手机最受欢迎。 Jīnnián báisè de shǒujī zuì shòu huānyíng. "This year, white cell phones were the most well-received (by consumers)." 3. 我在回家的路上捡到了一个钱包。 Wǒ zài huíjiā de lùshàng jiǎndào le yī ge qiánbāo. "On the way home, I picked a wallet up off the ground." Related Expressions de (的)

dōu 都 dōu 都 all Category -

Level Beginner

Type: Adverb 都 (Dōu) is an adverb we use to express the concept "all" regarding the subject or the topic. The subject or topic must be either plural or a general reference. For example, 明天他们都去看电影, minting tāmen dōu qù kàn diànyǐng ("Tomorrow they are all going to the movies.") has a plural subject, and 这儿的菜我都喜欢, zhèr de cài wǒ dōu xǐhuān ("I like all the food here.") has a general topic. When used in a negative sentence, 都 (dōu) means "none" or "not any." For Example: 1. 我们都不是游客。 wǒmen dōu bù shì yóukè "None of us are tourists." 都 (Dōu) can be preceded by a question word, like 谁, shéi ("who") or 什么, shénme ("what") to


make broad statements. For example, 谁都知道 (shéi dōu zhīdào) means "everyone knows [it]," and 谁都不知道 (shéi dōu bù zhīdào) means "nobody knows [it]." Similarly, 什么 (shénme) and 都 (dōu) together can mean either "everything" or "nothing." We can also use 怎么, Zěnme ("how"), 什 么时候, shénme shíhòu ("when"), and 哪儿, nǎr ("where") this way with 都 (dōu.) Formation (subject) + 都 dōu + (verb phrase)

duō~ 多~ duō~ 多~ “how~” Category questions

Level Beginner

type: phrase 多 Duō~ is a phrase used to ask "how [adjective]" questions. Here are some common combinations: 多少 duōshǎo ("how many"), 多久 duōjiǔ ("how long" for time), 多场 duō cháng ("how long" for distance), 多高 duō gāo ("how tall"), 多大 duō dà ("how big"), 多种 duō zhòng ("how heavy"). Formation 多 duō + (adjective)

duōshǎo 多少 duōshǎo 多少 How much?


Level Category Beginner

-

多 少, duōshǎo ("how many" or "how much"), is a compound of the words 多 (duō) and 少 (shǎo), meaning "many" and "few," or "much" and "little," respectively. We can use it as a question on its own as in 多少, duōshǎo? ("How much?") or 多少钱, duōshǎo qián? ("How much money?"). Or we can combine it with measure words like 个, which we learned in the last lesson, to form questions like 多少个人, duōshǎo ge rén? ("How many + [MEASURE WORD] + people?" or just "How many people?")

liàngcí 量词 liàngcí 量词 measure words Category nouns Type: Part of Speech

Level Beginner

量词 Liàngcí or "measure words" are a type of Chinese word we use to count or measure nouns. Most nouns in Chinese have one or more measure words associated with them. Similar nouns often use the same measure word. For example, 只 (zhī) is the measure word for most animals: 鸟 niǎo ("bird"), 狗 gǒu ("dog"), and 猫 māo ("cat") all use it. English has some words, which are similar to Chinese measure words. For example, you can't say "a bread." Instead, you say "a slice of bread." The word "slice" functions the same way as Chinese measure words. In Chinese, one uses measure words when counting nouns, and when a noun follows one of the determiners-the pronouns 这 zhèi ("this"), 那 nèi ("that"), and 哪 něi ("which"). We use the measure word 个 (ge) for people, but it is also considered to be the "catch-all" measure word. When they don't know what the appropriate measure word is, both native speakers and foreigners alike use ge. Some nouns are also measure words, such as those that define quantity, shape, or size. These nouns serve as their own measure words, or as measure words for other nouns. We can use 杯 Bēi ("cup") to measure any liquid you would put in a cup. For Example:


1. 一杯茶 (yì bēi chá) "one cup of tea" 2. 这杯咖啡 (zhè bēi kā fēi) "this cup of coffee" We can use 公斤 Gōngjīn ("kilogram") to measure anything that is weighed. For Example: 1. 六公斤猪肉 (liù gōngjīn zhū ròu) "six kilos of pork" 2. 十公斤面粉 (shí gōng jīn miàn fěn) "ten kilos of flour" Use the noun 快 kuài ("chunk") as a measure word for anything that can be divided into pieces or chunks. Note that these nouns do not have to measure other nouns-they can stand on their own. For Example: 1. 我有六十公斤 (wǒ yǒu liù shí gōng jīn) "I weigh sixty kilograms." Other nouns that stand alone include 天, tiān ("day"); 公里, gōnglǐ ("kilometer"); 分 fēn ("minute"); etc.

Formation (numeral) + (measure word) + (noun) 几 (jǐ) + (measure word) + (noun) 这 (zhèi) / 那 (nèi) / 哪( něi) + (measure word) + (noun) 这 (zhèi) / 那 (nèi) / 哪 (něi) + (numeral) + (measure word) + (noun)

Example Sentences 1. 你家有几台电脑? Nǐ jiā yǒu jǐ tái diànnǎo? "How many computers do you have in your home?" 2. 那两个人是新来的。 Nà liǎng ge rén shì xīn lái de. "Those two people are newcomers." 3. 已经连续下了三周雨了。 Yǐjīng liánxù xià le sān zhōu yǔ le. "It's been raining for three weeks now."


Notes Even though we can use 个 (ge) when we don't know the right measure word for a given noun, does not mean that it's culturally acceptable to only use ge. Students learning Chinese should strive to acquire at least a basic knowledge of the most common measure words.

Related Expressions zhèi / nèi 这 / 那 něi 哪 jǐ 几 míngcí 名词

hái shì 还是 hái shì 还是 After Comparison Category adverb

Level Beginner

After comparison 还是 indicates a more satisfactory solution. Generally used as a suggestion. Example Sentences 你还是再等等吧。nǐ hái shì zài děngděng ba. "How about you wait a little longer." 你现在很忙,我还是一会儿再来吧。nǐ xiànzài hěn máng, wǒ hái shì yīhuìr zài lái ba. "You're busy right now, How about I come back in a bit." 你还是再考虑考虑吧。 nǐ hái shì zàikǎolǜ kǎolǜ ba. "How about you think it over again." 签合同的时候还是要小心。qiān hétong de shíhou hái shì yào xiǎoxīn. "When signing a contract you should be careful" 搬家的时候,你还是找人帮忙吧。bānjiā de shíhou, nǐ hái shì zhǎo rén bāngmáng ba. "When moving, how about you find some people to help you move."


太晚了,你还是回家吧。tài wǎn le, nǐ hái shì huíjiā ba. "It's really late. it's best if you head home." 晚上不安全,我还是送你回去吧。wǎnshang bùānquán, wǒ hái shì sòng nǐ huíqu ba. "In the evening it's not safe, How about I accompany you home."

zěn me yàng 怎么样 zěn me yàng 怎么样 “how” Category questions

Level Beginner

type: pronoun Zěn me yàng is a pronoun used to ask how something is. For example, "how is the weather" would be tiān qì zěn me yàng. It's formed by putting zěn me yàng after a noun phrase. In more complex sentences, zěn me yàng can be used in verb compliments to ask about the performance of an action. For example, tā xiě hàn zì, xiě de zěn me yàng ("how well does she write Chinese characters?"). Zěn me yàng can also be used at the end of a suggestion to mean "how about that?" "is that OK?". Formation (noun phrase) + zěn me yàng (verb) + de + zěn me yàng (suggestion) + zěn me yàng Related Expressions zěn me 怎么


kěnéng 可能 kěnéng 可能 “possibly” Level Category Beginner time type: auxiliary verb 可能 Kěnéng is an auxiliary verb that can be used to talk about probability. Without other indications of time, 可能 kěnéng can imply future likelihood. It is primarily used to talk about actions within human control or that can be measured scientifically. Future possibilities can be expressed with other modal verbs as well (see "yào 要" and "huì 会 (2)"). Formation (subject) + kě néng + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 下次休假,我可能去意大利。 Xià cì xiūjià, wǒ kěnéng qù Yìdàlì. Next time I have vacation time I might go to Italy. Related Expressions yào 要 huì 会 (2)

le 了 le 了 closed action Category Type: aspectual particle

Level Beginner

了 Le is an aspectual particle used to mark action verbs as being closed or complete. There are also


a few situations that require this particle. The first situation is when the verb is followed by a quantity. One common example of this is when speaking about how long an action is done (see 时间段 shíjiān duàn). For example: 昨天我睡了十 个小时 Zuótiān wǒ shuì le shí ge xiǎoshí ("I slept ten hours yesterday"). When a verb is followed by a quantity, it usually refers to a past event. The second situation that requires le is when the verb itself implies its own ending. Some examples include (among others): 1. 炸 zhà ("to explode") 2. 掉 diào ("to fall") 3. 死 sǐ ("to die") 4. 睡着 shuìzháo ("to fall asleep") In Chinese, these actions are considered to be instantaneous events. While the above examples all represent past actions, we can also use 了 le in non-past sentences. To show that two events occur in sequence, 了 le comes after the first verb. For example: 我吃完了就 睡. Wǒ chīwán le jiù shuì ("I'll eat and then go to bed"). However, aside from sequences, in general 了 le implies past action.

Formation (verb) + 了 le + (object) Example Sentences 1. 这次考试谁通过了? Zhè cì kǎoshì shéi tōngguò le? "Who passed this test?" 2. 昨天打了两场篮球赛。 Zuótiān dǎ le liǎng chǎng lánqiú sài. "Yesterday, (I) played two games of basketball." 3. 我给了他一个提示,他就明白了。 Wǒ gěi le tā yī ge tíshì, tā jiù míngbái le. "I gave him a hint, and then he got it."

Notes Auxiliary verbs, psychological verbs, and other verbs that don't describe actions, typically cannot be followed by 了 le.


zhèi / nèi 这 / 那 zhèi / nèi 这 / 那 this / that Category specifiers

Level Beginner

type: pronoun Zhèi and nèi are pronouns that function like the English words "this" and "that," respectively. In order to connect zhèi and nèi to nouns, you need a measure word before the noun. Formation zhèi / nèi + (measure word) zhèi / nèi + (numeral) + (measure word) Example Sentences 1. 这杯咖啡是你的。 Zhèi bēi kā fēi shì nǐ de. "This cup of coffee is yours." 2. 那两本杂志是新买的。 Nèi liǎng běn zá zhì shì xīn mǎi de. "Those two magazines were newly purchased." 3. 这边儿是新城区,那边儿是老城区。 Zhè biānr shì xīn chéng qū, nà biānr shì lǎo chéng qū. "Over here is the new section of the city, and over there is the old section of the city." Notes We may also pronounce zhèi and nèi as zhè and nà. Related Expressions něi (哪) liàng cí (量词)


wèi shén me 为什么 wèi shén me 为什么 why Category questions

Level Beginner

type: pronoun Wèi shén me is a pronoun we use to ask a "why" question. Its position in the sentence is flexible: it can occur either before or after the subject. Formation wèi shén me + (sentence) (subject) + wèi shén me + (verb phrase)? Example Sentences 1. 为什么这里这么热? Wèi shén me zhè li zhè me rè? "Why is it this hot here?" 2. 学校为什么停课? Xué xiào wèi shén me tíng kè? "Why is the school suspending class?" 3. 你为什么夏天去夏威夷? Nǐ wèi shén me xià tiān qù xià wēi yí? "Why are you going to Hawaii this summer?" 4. 你为什么哭了? "Why are you crying?" 5. 你为什么不去? "Why isn't he going?" 6. 这是为什么? "Why is it this one?" 7. 你为什么迟到? "Why are you late?" 8. 他为什么不同意? "Why doesn't he agree?" Related Expressions


zěn me (怎么) gàn má (干吗)

xīng qī~ 星期~ xīng qī~ 星期~ days of the week Category time

Level Beginner

type: adverb Xīng qī~ is the form used to name the days of the week in Chinese. The Chinese days of the week are xīng qī (some regions use lǐ bài instead of xīng qī) followed by a number 1-6 corresponding to Monday through Saturday. In the case of Sunday rì or tiān follows after xīng qī instead of a number. Formation • • • • • • •

xīng qī yī (Monday) xīng qī èr (Tuesday) xīng qī sān (Wednesday) xīng qī sì (Thursday) xīng qī wǔ (Friday) xīng qī liù (Saturday) xīng qī rì / xīng qī tiān (Sunday)

Notes Xīng qī by itself means "week".

zài 在 (2)


zài 在 (2) at Level Category Beginner location type: preposition Zài is a preposition we use to identify the location where an action takes place. In most cases, it precedes the verb phrase but follows after both the subject and time phrases. The location follows directly after zài. Formation (subject) + zài + (location) + (verb phrase) Example Sentences 1. 你在哪儿工作? Nǐ zài nǎr gōng zuò? "Where do you work?" 2. 我在公司加班。 Wǒ zài gōng sī jiā bān. "I work overtime at the company." 3. 美国总统在中国访问。 Měi guó zǒng tǒng zài zhōng guó fǎng wèn. "The U.S. president paid a visit to China." Related Expressions dì diǎn 地

zài 在 (4) zài 在 (4) continuing action Category aspect type: aspectual particle

Level Beginner

Zài is an aspectual particle used to show that an action is in progress. It comes directly before the


verb as in wǒ zài kàn shū ("I am reading"). This construction only works with action verbs that are either repeatable or continuing. So passive verbs like zhī dào "to know" or non-repeatable action verbs like jié hūn "to get married" cannot be used with zài. Adding ne at the end of the sentence is optional. Formation (subject) + zài + (verb phrase) (subject) + zài + (verb phrase) + ne Example Sentences 1. 你在干嘛呢?我在看书呢。 Nǐ zài gàn má ne? Wǒ zài kàn shū ne. What are you doing? I'm reading. 2. 老师在说话呢,你最好安静点。 Lǎo shī zài shuō huà ne, nǐ zuì hǎo ān jìng diǎn. The teacher is speaking, you should be quiet. 3. 他在开会呢,你等会吧。 Tā zài kāi huì ne, nǐ děng huì ba. He's attending a meeting, you should wait a little bit. Notes For the negative form, bù comes directly before zài. In the case of past tense, either méi yǒu or bù may be used. Related Expressions zhe 着 zhe 着 (2)

Learn Mandarin : Grammar Book  
Learn Mandarin : Grammar Book  

Basic structures in Mandarin Chinese

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