Chinese (Mandarin)/Lesson 4

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Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order



Lesson 4: Word order and Verbs[edit]

Basic Word Order[edit]

Subject-Verb-Object[edit]

The order of most Chinese sentences, like in English, is S-V-O, that is Subject-Verb-Object.

我看这本书。
我看這本書。
Wǒ kàn zhè běn shū.
I read this book.

Word order in Chinese is more rigid than in English. However, sometimes you may find sentences that seem to defy normal word order. For example, 我住在中国。wǒ zhù zài zhōngguó. The English translation does this too: I live in China. The reason for this is that "in China" is a preposition (prepositions indicate place or time) that is tacked on to the main sentence—"I live." More examples:

下午一点半,我们走。
Xiàwǔ yīdiǎn bàn, wǒmen zǒu.
At 1:30 in the afternoon, we'll go.
在青岛,我看到了。
Zài qīngdǎo, wǒ kàn dào le.
In Qingdao, I saw it.

As in English, a preposition can also appear after a subject.

我在我家看这本书。
我在我家看這本書。
Wǒ zài wǒ jiā kàn zhè běn shū.
I read this book at my house.
我明天看这本书。
我明天看這本書。
Wǒ míngtiān kàn zhè běn shū.
I will read this book tomorrow.

When using both a preposition for time and a preposition for place, put the preposition for time first.

我明天在我家看这本书。
我明天在我家看這本書。
Wǒ míngtiān zài wǒ jiā kàn zhè běn shū.
I will read this book at my house tomorrow.
明天在我家,我看这本书。
明天在我家,我看這本書。
Míngtiān zài wǒ jiā, wǒ kàn zhè běn shū.
Tomorrow at my house, I will read this book.
明天,我在我家看这本书。
明天,我在我家看這本書。
Míngtiān, wǒ zài wǒ jiā kàn zhè běn shū.
Tomorrow, I will read this book at my house.

Note the variation in word order. You can also place a preposition for place, but not for time, at the end of a sentence.

我看这本书在我家。
我看這本書在我家。
Wǒ kàn zhè běn shū zài wǒ jiā.
I read this book at my house.

Topic-Comment[edit]

Another structure for Chinese sentences is topic-comment. That is, the first thing mentioned is the topic of discussion and then the speaker will add a comment following that.

It is used to emphasize a certain part of the sentence. In the following example, the speaker wants to emphasize that he is going to read the particular book being discussed.

这本书,我明天在我家看。
這本書,我明天在我家看。

Zhè běn shū, wǒ míngtiān zài wǒ jiā kàn.

I will read this book tomorrow.

Comparisons Using [比][edit]

Comparisons can be made using [比]. Adverbs (like 不,也,只,都)and any auxiliary verbs are placed before in the sentence. The amount of the disparity between the two is placed after the adjective.


A 比 B + Adj.



她比我忙。
Tā bǐ wǒ máng.
She is busier than I am.


东尼也比我忙很多。
東尼也比我忙很多。
Dōngní yě bǐ wǒ máng hěn duō.
Tony is also a lot busier than I am.

Notes[edit]

Lessons: Pron. - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 Search inside this book using Google
Subpages: Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order