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Chinese Language Grammar 3

This is a continuation from Chinese Language Grammar 2. In this station, we are going to explore adjectives (形容词) and how to indicate time in a Chinese language sentence.

Adjectives (形容词)

List of adjectives to be learnt: 小 (small)、黑色 (black)、顽皮 (naughty)。

Let’s take a dog (狗) as our model today. You can describe a dog in different ways:

1. 这只狗是黑色的。— This dog is black.

2. 这是一只小狗。— This is a puppy.

3. 这是一只黑色的小狗。— This is a black puppy.

4. 小狗很顽皮。— The puppy is naughty.

5. 那只黑色的小狗很顽皮。— That black puppy is naughty.

As you can see, the style is quite free, you can “mix and match” different adjectives in a sentence. As long as you follow the grammar rules, you can make many different sentences with few simple adjectives.

Time and Tenses (时间)

Another good news for Chinese language learners: there are no tenses to be remembered in Chinese language.

We can use the day to indicate when you did, do or will be doing an action or other words to indicate time.

1. Days — 大前天、前天、昨天、今天、明天、后天、大后天 (In the same order: two days before yesterday, the day before yesterday, yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, two days after tomorrow)

Though we seldom use 大前天 and 大后天, the vocabulary is there for you to express different days and time. When you are speaking of different times of the day, you can use 早上、中午、下午、傍晚、晚上 and 午夜 (morning, noon, afternoon, evening, night and midnight).

(a) 今天早上我在公园跑了一圈。— I ran one round in the park this morning.

(b) 今天下午我去图书馆。— I am going to the library this afternoon.

(c) 今天晚上我早一点睡。— I will sleep earlier tonight.

With the use of different times of the day, we know whether something happened in the past or going to happen.

2. Use of different words to indicate time

(i) 刚刚,刚才 (just)

我刚刚吃饱。— I have just eaten.

(ii) 已经 (already)

我已经吃饱了。— I have eaten already. (It means “I am full.”)

(iii) 还没有 (not … yet)

我还没有洗澡。— I have not taken a shower yet.

(iv) 正在 (-ing)

我正在做功课。— I am doing homework.

What other words that you use to indicate time in Chinese language?

Next station is about 数量词

Writing Chinese Language Sentences

You have been learning Chinese language for some time, you have read some interesting Chinese language story books / novels, you have learnt about the grammar and 数量词… And now, you want to challenge yourself to start writing a journal or diary in Chinese Language.

In this post, we start from short sentences and slowly go for longer sentences.

Chinese language sentences are in the format of subject — verb — object, thus we can start from what we eat, what we wear, what we feel and slowly go for more complex sentences.

Examples of simple sentences:

  1. 我吃饭。 — I eat rice.
  2. 我穿衣。 — I wear clothes.
  3. 我很开心。 — I am very happy.

Examples of longer sentences:

  1. 我今天吃鸡饭。 — I eat chicken rice today.
  2. 今天我穿白衣和黑裤。 — Today, I wear white shirt and black trousers.
  3. 我很开心,因为可以出去玩。 — I am very happy because I can go out to play.

From the examples of longer sentences, we add in more details of when (今天), what (鸡饭, 白衣, 黑裤) and why (因为可以出去玩). We can also add in where, who and how, like the below examples:

Other examples of longer sentences:

  1. 我今天在学校吃鸡饭。 — I eat chicken rice at school today.
  2. 今天我穿白衣和黑裤,哥哥穿白衣和蓝裤。 — Today, I wear white shirt and black trousers, while my brother wears white shirt and blue trousers.
  3. 我很开心,因为可以坐巴士出去玩。 — I am very happy because I can go out to play by bus.

Once you can add in more details and write longer sentences, you are on your way for writing a good journal or diary. Keep it up!

数量词

This is a continuation from Chinese Language Grammar 2. This station is about 数量词. Though 数量词 is sometimes known as collective nouns in English language, it is actually a concept that is more complex than collective nouns.

数 = number, 量 = the “quantifier” (Again, “quantifier” is used for easy understanding, there is no exact English word for 量). The format is  <数 — 量 — noun> as in <一 — 本 — 书>, a book.

In Chinese language, most, if not all, nouns have an associate 量词. Thus, the correct usage of 量词 is important. Below are some of the common 量词 in <数 — 量 — noun> format:

一只鸡 (a chicken)

两个人 (two people)

三条鱼 (three fish)

四辆车 (four cars)

五双筷子 (five pairs of chopsticks)

六张纸 (six pieces of papers)

七朵花 (seven flowers)

八棵树 (eight trees)

九匹马 (nine horses)

十粒球 (ten balls)

As you can see, most of the 量词 do not have the equivalent translation in English language.

If you have been learning Chinese language, you know that there are hundreds of 量词 to be learnt. To add to the complexity, the same 量词 can be used for several nouns and some nouns can be used with different 量词 depending on different situations. No worry, continue learning, reading and listening, you will get used to the concept and eventually use the correct 量词.

Now that you have learnt the grammar, start a journal or diary in Chinese language, start from short sentences, and slowly make longer sentences after some time. By using the language frequently, you will see improvement soon!

Chinese Language Grammar 2

This is a continuation from Chinese Language Grammar 1. In this station, we are going to explore “How do you ask a question in Chinese Language?”

There are three ways to ask a question:

1. 吗?

The particle “吗?” can be added to the end of any sentence to make it into a question.

Examples:

Have you eaten? — 你吃饱了吗?

Has he gone home? — 他回家了吗?

Have you done your homework? — 你做完功课了吗?

2. 不 / 有没有

Do you want to go home? — 你要不要回家?

Does he have a pencil? — 他有没有铅笔?

The above two methods of asking questions are asking for a yes / no answer. For asking 5W1H questions, use method 3.

3. 什么?

什么 — What

What is that? — 那是什么?

为什么 — Why

Why are you crying? — 你为什么哭了?

哪里 — Where

Where is he going? — 他要去哪里?

几时?什么时候 — When

When is daddy coming home? — 爸爸什么时候回家?

谁 — Who

Who are they? — 他们是谁?

怎样?怎么?如何? — How

How do you answer this question? — 这个问题怎么回答?

How about this dress? — 这件裙子如何?

Next station is Chinese Language Grammar 3.