An Essential Grammar
Second Edition

This new edition of Chinese: An Essential Grammar is an up-to-date and concise reference guide to modern Chinese (Mandarin) grammar. Refreshingly jargon free, it presents an accessible description of the language, focusing on the real patterns of use today. This Grammar aims to serve as a reference source for the learner and user of Chinese, irrespective of level, setting out the complexities of the language in short, readable sections. It is ideal either for independent study or for students in schools, colleges, universities and adult classes of all types. Features include: • a new chapter on paragraph development • Chinese characters, as well as the pinyin romanisation, alongside all examples • literal and colloquial translations into English to illustrate language points • detailed contents list and index for easy access to information • a glossary of grammatical terms. Yip Po-Ching is former Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds. Don Rimmington is Emeritus Professor of East Asian Studies and former Head of the East Asian Studies Department at the University of Leeds.


Routledge Essential Grammars Essential Grammars are available for the following languages: Chinese Czech Danish Dutch English Finnish Modern Greek Modern Hebrew Hungarian Norwegian Polish Portuguese Serbian Spanish Swedish Thai Urdu Other titles of related interest published by Routledge: The Chinese Lexicon

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Intermediate Chinese

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Colloquial Chinese: A Complete Language Course

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Colloquial Chinese (Reprint of the first edition)

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Basic Cantonese: A Grammar and Workbook

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Colloquial Cantonese: A Complete Language Course


By Keith S. T. Tong and Gregory James

An Essential Grammar
Second Edition

Yip Po-Ching and Don Rimmington


First published 1997 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 Reprinted 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003 (twice) 2nd edition 2006 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 1997, 2006 Yip Po-Ching and Don Rimmington
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2006.
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All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Yip, Po-Ching, 1935– Chinese : an essential grammar / Yip Po-Ching and Don Rimmington. – 2nd ed. p. cm. – (Routledge essential grammars) Includes index. ISBN 0-415-38026-X (hbk.) – ISBN 0-415-37261-5 (pbk.) 1. Chinese language–Grammar. 2. Chinese language–Textbooks for foreign speakers–English. I. Rimmington, Don. II. Title. III. Series: Essential grammar. PL1107.Y57 2006 495.1′82421–dc22 2005025872 ISBN10: 0-415-38026-X (hbk) ISBN10: 0-415-37261-5 (pbk) ISBN10: 0-203-96979-0 (ebk) ISBN13: 978-0-415-38026-3 (hbk) ISBN13: 978-0-415-37261-9 (pbk) ISBN13: 978-0-203-96979-3 (ebk)


3 Common nouns 1.4 Fractions.3.1 Two forms of the number two 2. and ‘every’ 2.3.3 Abstract nouns 3. decimals.2 Ordinal numbers 2.5 Collective nouns v .5 Common nouns: countability 2 Numerals and nouns 2.1 The plural suffix – men 1.2 Nouns and definite or indefinite reference 1.2 Other measure words 3.4 Material nouns 3.1 Noun features 1.3 ‘Half’ 2.1 Measures and gè 3. percentages.1 Cardinal numbers 2.4 Nouns and conjunctions 1.2 Proper nouns 1.Contents Preface Introduction The Chinese language Mandarin pronunciation The Chinese vocabulary Part I Nouns xiii 1 1 2 5 9 9 10 10 11 13 13 14 14 15 15 15 16 17 18 18 19 21 21 22 27 27 27 Introduction 1 Nouns 1.5 Approximation 3 Measures for nouns 3. multiples.1.

3 Adjectival predicates followed by verbs 6.7 Demonstrative and numeral phrases with other attributives 5. comparisons 7.3 Disyllabic adjectives and de 5.3 Non-gradable adjectives as attributives 6.1.4 Prepositional and postpositional phrases as attributives The order of sequential attributives 5.9 Ér between adjectives 5.2 Adjectival predicates and the verb ‘to be’ 6.4 Interrogative pronouns Polysyllabic adjectives and de 5.10 Omission of the noun following an attributive 5.1 Monosyllabic adjectives 5.5 Verbal phrases or clauses as attributives 5.5 The copula shì in its negative form 7 The verb ynu.1 Attributives of shape.2 Possessive pronouns 4.1 Adjectival predicates and degree adverbs 6.2 Adjectives as attributives 5.2.3 Demonstrative pronouns 4.1 Ynu indicating possession .1 Verbs resembling shì 6.1 Attributives 5.6 Pronouns and conjunctions Adjectives and attributives 5.8 Possessive pronoun and other attributives 5.1 The functions of ynu 7.2.4 Nominal and pronominal predicates 6.2.2 Adjectival predicates in the negative 6.2.2 Nominal predicates without a copula 6.11 Attributives in word-formation Verbs 28 28 30 31 32 34 36 36 36 36 36 37 37 38 38 39 39 40 40 41 41 41 41 43 43 44 44 44 44 45 46 46 47 47 49 49 49 50 50 50 Part II vi Introduction 6 Adjectival and nominal predicates.4.Contents 4 5 Pronouns 4.2.5 Other pronouns 4.1 Adjectival predicates 6. the verb shì 6. colour or material 6.3 Nominal attributives 5.1 Nominal attributives and de 5.1 Personal pronouns 4.

1 Action.2.8 9 10 11 7.1 Time expressions 10.1 Time expressions in emergence or disappearance sentences Verbs and location 11.2 Point of time expressions 10.7.3 Comparison: equivalence or similarity 7.5 Dative verbs 8.2.6 Causative verbs 8.1 Dative verbs relating to spoken activity 8.7 Time expressions in existence sentences 10.2 Guo 8.2 Imperatives and aspect markers Motion verbs and direction indicators 9.3 Motion verbs with metaphorical meaning 9.3 Ynu indicating change or development 7.5 Ynu introducing adjectival predicates 7.1 Le 8.1.1 Detailed time expressions 10.2. and dative verbs 8.3 Point-of-time expressions incorporating verbal phrases 10.2 Mli as negative of ynu 7.1 Location expressions 51 51 52 52 53 54 54 55 56 56 56 56 57 57 59 60 61 62 63 64 64 65 66 67 67 67 67 70 72 73 74 74 75 77 78 79 80 80 81 81 81 81 Contents vii .4 Ynu forming idiomatic expressions 7.1 Emphatic or specific comparison Aspect markers Comparison 7.3 Zài 8.6 Frequency expressions with mli 10.1 Motion verbs and simple direction indicators 9. state.5 Indefinite points of time 10.4 State verb 8.3.4 Direction indicators with specific meanings Verbs and time 10.1 Polite requests 8.2 Dative verbs and aspect markers 8.4 Imprecise points of time 10.3 Comparatives and superlatives Verbs and aspect markers 8.2.2 Negative comparison 7.7 Imperatives 8.3.4 Zhe 8.3.2 Motion verbs and compound direction indicators 9.1.2 Action verbs 8.

5.2 Brief duration 12.2 82 83 85 85 86 87 88 89 90 90 90 90 91 92 92 93 93 94 95 95 96 96 97 99 100 100 101 101 102 102 103 103 104 105 106 106 .1 Modification of complement of manner 13.3 Duration expressions and pronoun objects 12.2 Complement of consequential state 13.5 Location phrases in existence sentences 11.1 Brief duration and instrumental objects 12.6 Degree complements Verbs and adverbials 14.1.2 Disyllabic postpositions as location pronouns 11.1 Potential complements using direction indicators 13.1 Shì in existence sentences Le in emergence or disappearance sentences 11.2.5 Duration expressions and definite reference 12.5 Complement of location or destination 13.3 Complements of manner or consequential state with a ‘verb + object’ verb Complements Duration expressions and noun objects 12.1 Disyllabic postpositions 11.1 Duration expressions 12.5.3 Frequency expressions Verbs and complements 13.4 Location phrases modifying main verbs 11.2 Metaphorical meanings of potential complements 13.2 Complements of result 13.4 Adjectival complements of manner in comparisons 13.5 Complement-of-manner comparison with a ‘verb + object’ verb 13.7 Order of sequence of time and location phrases Verbs: duration and frequency 12.3 Potential complements 13.2.2 Zhe in existence sentences 11.1 Adverbials of manner 11.3 Simple location sentences 11.4 Duration expressions in dative construction 12 13 14 viii Zài and postpositional phrases 11.4 Complements of manner and of consequential state 13.4.2 Repetition of the verb in a noun-objectduration structure 12.

1 Summing-up function of le 16.1.1 Question-word questions 17.1 Modal verbs and adverbs of degree 15.4 Affirmative-negative questions 17.1 Le as a sentence particle 16.3 Adverbials of manner with unmarked verbs 14.2 Functions of sentence le 16.3 Referential adverbs 14.1.2 Modal verbs and comparison 15.3 Attitudinal verbs 15.1 107 107 108 108 108 109 110 114 114 115 115 115 116 120 120 121 122 122 122 123 125 125 126 126 126 128 128 129 131 132 132 135 135 137 138 140 141 144 144 Contents Part III Sentences Introduction 16 Statements and the sentence particle le 16.4 Monosyllabic adverbial modifiers without de 14.3 Ne in questions 17.2 Adverbials of manner with marked verbs 14.4 Intentional verbs 15.1. attitudinal.4.2.6 Order of adverbials in sequence Modal and similar verbs 15.5 Order of sequence of referential adverbs 14.2 Le as both sentence particle and aspect marker 16.4 Ultimate versatility of sentence le 17 Questions 17.1 Negation of intentional verbs 14.2.5 Alternative questions with háishì 17.1 Wàngle and Jìde 15.2 Dud in questions 17.6 Tags indicating suggestion ix .1.2 Gaoxìng 15.4 Referential adverbs with negatives 14.2 Attitudinal adverbial expressions 14.3 Surmise questions with ba Monosyllabic adjectives as adverbials of manner 14.5 Particular types of adverbials of manner 14.1 Modal.1.2.3 Cases where sentence le is not used 16.1 Zlnmeyàng Modal verbs 15.2 General questions with ma 17.2. and intentional verbs 15.1.

1.3 Coverbs of human exchange and service 19.1 Dual patterning of sentence structures 18.1 Notional passive sentences 18.3 Topic-comment sentences 18.1 Coverbs of place and time 19.1 Coverbs 19.2 Extended causative constructions 21.1.6 Extended serial constructions 145 145 146 146 146 149 150 150 151 151 152 152 153 155 156 157 157 157 159 159 161 162 162 162 163 163 163 164 165 165 165 166 166 166 167 170 170 170 172 173 173 x .2 Semantic varieties in serial constructions 21.2 Coverbs of methods and means Further ways to form topic-comment sentences Dative constructions 21.1 The bk construction 20.1 Qmng in a causative construction 21.6 Bk and modal verbs 20.7 Tags seeking confirmation 17.2 Subject-predicate sentences The bèi construction versus the notional passives Serial constructions 21.1.7 Bk and indefinite reference 20. topic and comment 18.2 Le and zhe as complements in bk sentences 20.3 Adjectives or state verbs in serial constructions 21.5 Subject | topic-comment sentences Prepositions and coverbs 19.3 Bk and resultative complements 20.1.4 Coverbs of reference 19.1 Ràng and jiào Nòng and Gko in bk sentences 20.5 Coverbs and comparison 19.3 Negative bèi sentences 20.Contents 18 19 20 21 17.1 The bk construction and complements Negative bk sentences The bèi construction with an agent 20.4 Topic | subject-predicate sentences 18.8 Rhetorical questions Subject and predicate.2 Disyllabic prepositions Bk and bèi constructions 20.1 General features of serial constructions 21.1.2 The bèi construction 20.5 Causative constructions 21.

1 Meanings and functions of composite sentences 24.1 Exclamations with tài 25.4 Cotextual omissions Shì as an intensifier 22.1 Shì implying reservation 22.4.4. .2 Shì .1 Subject and object emphasis in shì .3 Shì without de for progression and projection 22.3 Composite sentences as parallel structures 24. de construction 22. and apostrophes 25.2 Question-word questions as exclamations 25.2 Shì and comparison 22.3 Contextual abbreviation 23. .1 Three types of abbreviation 23.3.2 ‘Verb/Adjective + shì + Verb/Adjective’ implying reservation 22.2 Interjections 25.4 Shì and topic-comment sentences 22.1 Exclamations 25.22 23 24 25 Emphasis and the intensiyer shì 22. . .5 Repetition and emphasis Abbreviation and omission 23.3.3 Appositions 25. appositions.3 Shì and negation 22.1 Cotextual omissions and headwords 23.4 Apostrophe 173 173 174 176 176 177 177 178 178 178 179 180 180 181 181 181 183 184 185 185 185 186 186 186 188 196 196 197 199 199 200 200 201 201 202 203 Contents xi .1.1 Tone variations in interjections 25.2.2 Paired conjunctives 24. de construction and bù The shì .2 Conventional abbreviations as subjectless sentences 23.2 Cotextual omissions in answers 23.1 Types of composite sentence 24.2.4. de sentences 22.2 Conjunctions and conjunctives 24.4 Verbs taking object clauses Exclamations and interjections.4.3 Contextual/cotextual omissions in extended passages Composite sentences: conjunctions and conjunctives 24.1 Contexts for shì (without de) sentences 22. .4. .

2 A letter 26.Contents Part IV Paragraphs 205 205 206 209 212 215 217 219 222 226 231 Introduction 26.7 An argumentative piece of writing Glossary of grammatical terms Index xii .1 A diary 26.3 A dialogue 26.4 A welcome speech 26.6 An explanatory piece of writing 26.5 A description 26.

starting with the noun and its modifiers. we have been conscious of functional needs. but also to those with a general interest in languages and linguistics. Where it has been necessary to use specialist terminology. Second.) and a colloquial translation into English. we have endeavoured to keep technical terminology to a minimum to allow as wide a readership as possible access to the material.Preface This book aims to identify the basic features of the grammar of Mandarin Chinese. including pre-verbal adverbials and post-verbal complements. we have sought to provide a structural description of Mandarin Chinese. moving to the verb and its fundamental characteristics. Our approach has been eclectic: we have used both traditional and modern forms of analysis. we have therefore. Our concern has been twofold. It should therefore be of use not only to students and teachers of Chinese. A ‘Glossary of grammatical terms’ is also included (pp. First. where possible. The language examples in the book are in most cases provided with both a literal (lit. and for maximum clarity both syntactic and semantic categories. and finally looking at the paragraph. The literal translations include a limited number of grammatical symbols representing functional words as follows: xiii . we have offered explanations which we hope will be intelligible to the general reader. shaped our analysis in the form of meaningful units and provided a wide range of practical vocabulary to illustrate language usage. While we hope our analysis is based on sound linguistic principles. where the subject and its verbal predication are very much geared to a pragmatic use of word order and sentence particles. then discussing the sentence. in which the component sentences can be seen to acquire extemporaneous features of abbreviation and additional structural flexibility brought about by the context or cotext. 226–229) for reference.

paragraphs. The contents of the book are. and Elizabeth Johnston.Preface asp int mw p aspect marker intensiyer measure word particle phon phonaestheme onom onomatopoeia cv interj coverb interjection Two other symbols used in the text are: > meaning [changes into] * indicating incorrect usage We are deeply indebted to Li Quzhen for extensive assistance with the provision of Chinese script in the examples. Yip Po-Ching and Don Rimmington xiv . of course. at Routledge. senior editor. editorial assistant. entirely our responsibility. We also appreciate support given by Sophie Oliver. and texts.

or Putonghua ([common speech]). where it is known as Huayu ([Chinese language]). Xiang (Hunan. This book describes the main dialect. The Chinese population of Britain. which existed virtually unchanged in China for over two thousand years. the Han language. or group of related languages. modern standard Chinese. Hakka (northeast Guangdong and other southern provinces. though the ofycial language is Mandarin. 5 per cent). 5 per cent).4 per cent of Han speakers). 4 per cent) and Gan (Jiangxi. uses mainly Cantonese. 2. is spoken by the Hans. One word for the language in Chinese is Hanyu. Min (Fujian. In Taiwan a form of Min dialect is used. which is known by various names: Mandarin. but dialects are uniyed by the fact that they share a common script. 4. central and western regions of the country. It is spoken in various sub-dialect forms by 70 per cent of Hans across the northern. The seven other Chinese dialects are Wu (spoken in Jiangsu and Zhejiang. non-Han languages are spoken by the remaining 6 per cent of the population. but its standard pronunciation and grammar are associated with the Beijing region of north China. Written Chinese employs the character script. The Chinese language is divided into eight major dialects (with their numerous sub-dialects). though not Beijing city itself. Different. the so-called minority peoples. brought over by the Nationalists in 1949 and called there Guoyu ([national language]). which comes largely from Hong Kong. including Shanghai. Min and Hakka are widely spoken among overseas Chinese communities. until a range of 1 . Mandarin is also widely used in Singapore. such as the Mongols and Tibetans. Cantonese. Speakers of different dialects in some cases ynd each other unintelligible.2 per cent). Cantonese (Guangdong.Introduction The Chinese language The Chinese language.4 per cent). by 8. who constitute 94 per cent of China]s population.

Chinese has also been transcribed into Western alphabetic scripts. d and g – not voiced as in English. and c in scout. d in doubt and g in gout j – like j in jeep q – like ch in cheap x – like sh in sheep The three above are pronounced with the lips spread as in a smile. if necessary. from a native Chinese speaker. with a little friction in the throat b. and this book makes use of the standard romanisation pinyin. than to b in bout. Since the last century. (w) and (y) – similar to English p. like the initials in pop. l. Where possible. and therefore understood by virtually everyone in the country. 2 c – like ts in bits z – like ds in bids (but not voiced) . the closest equivalents in English pronunication have been given. t in stout. Mandarin pronunciation Syllables can be divided into initials (consonants) and ynals (vowels or vowels followed by -n or -ng). Note: Mandarin is China]s ofycial language. Words in Chinese are made up of one or more syllables. but closer to p in spout. ch – like ch in church sh – like sh in shirt zh – like j in judge r – like r in rung The four above are pronounced with the tip of the tongue curled back. transmitted nationally by radio and television.Introduction simpliyed forms began to be introduced by the mainland Chinese government in the 1950s. s. m. t and k – pronounced with a slight puff of air. with some guidance on pronunciation. but care should be taken with these and conyrmation sought. Below is a full list of initials and ynals. n. each of which is represented by a character in the written script. top and cop h – like ch in the Scottish loch. Initials f.

pronounced with rounded lips. or like ee in see (but pronounced differently with other initials. q and x ue or üe – with initials j. t and x. only with initials j. ch. and similar to u in French une or ü in German über uan – u/ü followed by an. see above) o – as in more ou – as in dough. as in machine. bird (but pronounced differently with other initials. j. which exists only with zero initial as weng ui – u followed by ei.Finals a – as in father ai – as in aisle an – as in ran ang – as in rang. like uan in truant uo – u followed by o. somewhat like i in sir. only with initials j. like wi in wild uan – u followed by an uang – u followed by ang. but with lips rounded u – as in rule. l. the ei – as in eight en – as in open eng – like en + g er – like err. q. n. like ya in yard ian – similar to yen iang – i followed by ang iao – i followed by ao. like yow in yowl ie – like ye in yes in – as in thin ing – as in thing iong – i merged with ong iu – like yo in yoga i – with initials c. z. but with the tongue curled back and the sound coming from the back of the throat i – with initials b. p. q and x (as u) and with initials l and n (as ü) like i in machine. r. similar to way un – u followed by en. similar to war u/ü – with initials j. s. see below) ia – i followed by a. u/ü followed by e as above un – u/ü with n. q and x (as ue) and with initials l and n (as üe). like wang in twang ueng – u followed by eng. or like oo in boot ua – u followed by a uai – u followed by ai. or like oa in boat ong – like ung in lung. sh and zh. like French une. with the a slightly lengthened as in ah ao – like ou in out e – as in her. q and x Mandarin pronunciation 3 . m. d.

and ynals beginning with i (as in machine) and u/ü (like the French une) are written in the pinyin romanisation with y as the yrst letter. falling rapidly in pitch and decreasing in volume . level pitch.Introduction Most ynals can be used without an initial (zero initial). louder at the beginning and end than in the middle starting high. and those beginning with u (as in rule) with w as the yrst letter: -i -ia -ian > yi > ya > yan > yao > yu > yuan > wu > wa > wai > wan -ie -in -ing -iong -iu > ye > yin > ying > yong > you yue > yun > wang > wei > wen > wo -iang > yang -iao -u/ü -uan -u -ua -uai -uan -ue/üe > -un -uang -ui -un -uo > Note the vowel changes with -iu (> you). In the pinyin romanisation. ˇ third tone and ` fourth tone. the mark above a syllable indicates its tone: ¯ yrst tone. -ui (> wei) and -un (> wen). but this book has adopted [a] throughout. First tone high. constant volume Second tone rising quite quickly from middle register and increasing in volume Third tone Fourth tone 4 starting low and falling lower before rising again. Structural words like particles are also often unstressed and are similarly unmarked. Tones In Chinese each syllable (or character) has a tone. Some words have unstressed syllables which are toneless and therefore are not given tone marks. and in Mandarin there are four tones. > > Note: Strictly speaking. in the pinyin system the hand-written form [a] is used instead of the printed version [a]. ´ second tone.

adverbials or complements signiyer of general questions In general. =hki [sea]. when a third tone precedes another third tone it changes to a second tone. since these tonal adjustments are all rule-governed. / / =ta [he/she/it]. The Chinese vocabulary The Chinese vocabulary A large number of words in everyday vocabulary are of one syllable: =wn [I]. However. =nm [you]. These words or expressions derive their meaning explicitly or implicitly from the words or syllables that make them up: =diàn [electricity] + =hki [sea] + =dà [big] + =dk [to hit] + =fáng [house] + =wán [to play] + =znu [to walk] + =pko [to run] + =tc [ladder] = = = =diàntc [lift]. Also. =mki [buy] =tian [sky]. =jib [street]. Structural particles are also almost always monosyllabic: le / / de ma aspect marker and sentence particle indicator of attributives. [to enjoy oneself] =znulù [to go on foot] =pkobù [to run]. [elevator] =hkiyáng [ocean] =dàjia [everybody] =dkduàn [to interrupt]. =pko [run]. the vocabulary is full of disyllabic words or expressions which combine monosyllables in one way or another. [to jog] 5 =yáng [ocean] =jia [family] =duàn [to break] = =zi sufyx =er sufyx =lù [road] =bù [step] = = = = . yc will always be shown as yrst tone and bù as fourth tone. [to break in two] =fángzi [house] wánr [to have fun]. the pronunciation of yc [one] and bù [not] varies according to their context. except if followed by a fourth tone when it changes to second tone yí. Similarly. they will not be indicated in our example sentences. however. Yc [one] is yrst tone in counting but otherwise is fourth tone yì.In speech. That is to say. bù [not] is fourth tone but changes to second tone bú when it comes before a fourth tone.

For example: 1 6 =hua [zower] + =yuán [plot (of land)] = is a modiYer + modiYed structure =huayuán [garden] .Introduction =tiào [to jump] + =sko [to sweep] + =tóu [to throw] + =hòu [behind] + =guó [nation] + =hun [yre] + =shnu [head] + =gao [high] =xìng [interest] =zc [funds] =lái [to come] =jia [family] = = = = = = = =tiàogao [high jump] =skoxìng [to disappoint] =tóuzc [to invest (money)] =hòulái [afterwards] =guójia [nation] =hunchb [train] =shnude [capital (of a country)] =chb [vehicle] =de [capital] Words or expressions of three or more syllables can also be formed: =yóu [postal] + + =dì [to pass on] = =yuán [person] =jia [expert] = = = = = = = =yóudìyuán [postman] =kbxuéjia [scientist] =dk diànhuà [to make a telephone call] =míngxìnpiàn [postcard] =zìxíngchb [bicycle] =Shèngdànjié [Christmas] ! cheze qìchb [taxi] !=bkihuò shangdiàn [department store] =kbxué [science] + =dk [to hit] + =diànhuà [telephone] =xìn [letter] =piàn [piece] =míng [open] + + =zì [self] + + =xíng [to walk] =chb [vehicle] =dàn [birth] =jié [festival] =shèng [saint] + + + + =cheze [to hire out] =qìchb [car] =bkihuò [hundred goods] =shangdiàn [shop] The lists above show how the majority of Chinese words are constructed in accordance with grammatical principles. Chinese wordformation is therefore in a sense Chinese syntax in miniature.

2 3 =tóu [head] + =tòng [to be painful] = is a subject + verb structure =tóutòng [headache] =xué [to learn] + =xí [to practise] = =xuéxí [to study] is a juxtapositional structure where two synonymous items are placed side by side chàng [to sing] + object structure =gb [song] = =chànggb [sing] is a verb + The Chinese vocabulary 4 5 chko [to make a noise] + =xmng [to wake up] = =chkoxmng [to wake (somebody) up (by making a noise)] is a verb + complement structure 7 .

Introduction 8 .

Pronouns are naturally of deynite reference. but four-syllable nouns are quite rare. Nouns do not change for number. but most measure words are speciyc to particular nouns or sets of nouns. though the demonstratives and the numeral yc [one] when used with a noun (with a measure) may indicate respectively deyniteness and indeyniteness. a measure word must be placed between a demonstrative and a noun. A few have three syllables. but most are not obviously distinguishable from other word classes. The plural sufyx -men is used with pronouns. An unqualiyed noun can therefore be singular or plural. The third person pronoun ta in its spoken form may signify any of the three genders: masculine. There is a general measure word gè. Some nouns are identiyable by the sufyxes -zi. The written forms make the distinction clear: 9 . Similarly. If the qualiyer is monosyllabic. Numerals are placed before nouns to specify number. -(e)r or -tou. it is usually placed directly before the noun. If the qualiyer is of two or more syllables. demonstratives. In particular we will look at the different types of nouns and those elements closely associated with them: numerals. Nouns in Chinese generally have one or two syllables. Adjectives or other qualifying elements also come before the nouns they qualify. the particle de will come after the qualiyer and before the noun. since a pre-verbal position is normally deynite and a post-verbal position indeynite. feminine or neuter.Part I Nouns Introduction In this section we discuss nouns and pronouns in Chinese. Perhaps more important is the location of the noun in the sentence. and in particular circumstances with human nouns. Deynite and indeynite reference for Chinese nouns is not signiyed by articles like the or a(n) in English. but a measure word must be inserted between the numeral and the noun. though out of context it is likely to be plural. measure words and attributives.

1 1. A noun of more than one syllable is usually formed by building meaningrelated syllables around a headword. 5 Wn ynu bM. round-pearl-pen) pen name. they remain the same whether they are singular or plural (the distinction usually indicated by context or. more obviously. by use of numbers). For example: yc zhc bM hln dud bM one/a pen a lot of pens !5 BM zài zhèr. The Great Wall. and [it]. pseudonym (lit . pen-name) written examination notes notebook (lit . ta as a neuter pronoun indicating an inanimate entity is rarely present as the subject or object of a sentence. For example: bm qianbM máobM yuánzhebM bMmíng bMshì bMjì bMjìbln pen pencil writing brush biro. Nouns may be divided into the following categories: (a) 10 Proper nouns: Zhdngguó.I Nouns [he]. hair-pen) (lit . I have got a pen. The pen is here. lead-pen) (lit . ball-point pen (lit . That is. Nouns with two syllables are by far the most numerous in the vocabulary. However. though in everyday speech monosyllabic nouns are likely to be as frequent as disyllabic ones. China. since its sense is usually understood from the context or cotext. each syllable being represented by a written character. and whether they are the subject or the object of a verb. pen-note) (lit . Christmas . pen-note-book) Nouns do not change for number or case. Chángchéng. [she]. Shèngdànjié.1 Nouns Noun features In Chinese nouns may consist of one or more syllables. pen-examination) (lit .

institutions. chbliàng. shì [city]. the names of individuals in Chinese are in the order of yrst surname. places. In forms of address. nouns denoting title or status follow the surname: Wáng xiansheng Mr Wang Lm xikojie Zhdu znnglm Gao xiàozhkng Zhào jcnglm Miss Li Prime Minister Zhou Headmaster Gao Manager Zhao Note: People are addressed in Chinese by their occupational title far more than in English. etc. in which the chosen name Zhang Lán in which chosen name Lm is the surname and Zhang is the surname and Huìmíng Lán the Note: There is a relatively small number of surnames in Chinese. soccer. etc. It would therefore be normal to address someone as Headmaster Gao.(b) (c) (d) (e) Common nouns: Abstract nouns: Material nouns: Collective nouns: tion. populaxìnjiàn correspondence (letters) 1. train. opinion. cídikn. Qián. =méiqì. rénknu. nénglì. Zhào.2 Proper nouns Proper nouns are names of people. and then chosen name. The names of places can also be followed by a status noun such as xiàn [county]. which can be either one or two syllables. gas yìjiàn. Lm Huìmíng. Nouns =sùliào. water. = Huáng. vehicles. some of the most common. Sen. Hú. zúqiú. dictionary yìnxiàng. impression. which is usually one syllable. are Wáng. zhèn [town]. For example: 11 . ability =shum. Xú. Manager Zhào. plastics. dìqe [district] or shlng [province]. Mk. Contrary to English practice. Wú. hunchb. as well as Lm and Zhang.

and = zhukn [to transfer] is generally used where the letter is c/o somebody else. the sequence of wording is the opposite of English with the largest entity coming yrst and the smallest last: Zhdngguó ( ( ) ) ! !"# !"/ Shanddng (shlng) Jmnán (shì) Jmnán Dàxué Zhdngwénxì Mr Ming Li [c/o Miss Huiming Zhang] Department of Chinese Jinan University Jinan [Zhang Huìmíng Shandong Province xikojil zhukn] CHINA Lm Míng xiansheng shdu/qm A direct translation of the Chinese address would be: CHINA Shandong (province) Jinan (city) Jinan University Department of Chinese [Zhang Huiming Miss to transfer] Li Ming Mr to receive/to open (formal) Note: ShDu [to receive] or qm [to open (formal)] is conventionally added after the name of the recipient.I Nouns Blijcng shì Hébli shlng Shùndé xiàn the City of Beijing Hebei Province Shunde County Similarly. in the names of institutions the place name is followed by a noun indicating institutional function: !"# !"# Shànghki Shcfàn Dàxué Gukngddngshlng Gdng]anjú Shanghai Normal University Guangdong Provincial Public Security Bureau In the case of postal addresses. 12 .

-zhl [person concerned with an activity]. or -tou. etc. particularly when they are grammatical objects. Dates.3. -(e)r. month and day. unless otherwise speciyed: she bm xuésheng lkoshc 1.) Nouns 1. Some incorporate conventional monosyllabic sufyxes such as: -zi.3 Common nouns Common nouns make up a large part of the language]s vocabulary.2. For example: háizi nikor zhuantou child bird brick píngzi huar mántou bottle zower bun yùndòngyuán athlete jìzhL zuòjiA journalist writer jiàshmyuán pilot/driver xuézhL huàjiA scholar painter Common nouns by themselves. singular or plural. they then Human nouns can be followed by the plural sufYx take on deynite reference. are in the order of year. others have more meaningful monosyllabic sufyxes such as: -yuán [person with speciyc skills or duties]. for instance. Compare: xuésheng a student or students xuéshengmen the students háizi háizimen a child or children the children 13 .1.1 a book or books a pen or pens a student or students a teacher or teachers The plural suffix – men -men. (See 10. -jia [specialist]. are indeynite.This principle of the large coming before the small is applied elsewhere in Chinese.

Take.3. book + plural sufyx) *(lit . nwshìmen . and a post-verbal position indeynite reference. my friends? !8 Péngyoumen hko! However. . cat + plural sufyx) Nouns and definite or indefinite reference There are no deynite or indeynite articles like the or a(n) in Chinese. for example.2 *shemen *maomen *(lit . . . envelopes and stamps . Deynite or indeynite reference is usually determined by the positioning of the noun before or after the verb.I Nouns There is usually some implication of familiarity when often occurs when groups of people are addressed: 3 Xianshengmen. it Ladies and gentlemen . . A pre-verbal position normally denotes deynite reference. cat be-at where) Where is/are the cat(s)? !5 Ta xmhuan mAo. -men is used.4 Nouns and conjunctions hé Two or more nouns may be joined together by the conjunctions [and] or huò [or]: dao hé cha bm hé zhm Lm Huìmíng hé Zhang Lán 4 14 xìnzhm. mao [cat(s)] in the following sentences: !9 MAo zài nkr? (lit . she like cat) She likes cats. xìnfbng hé yóupiào knives and forks pen and paper Li Huiming and Zhang Lan letter-paper. 1. How are you. ! NOT: * -men cannot be used with a number: likng gè xuésheng !" *likng gè xuéshengmen two students Neither can -men be used as a plural sufyx for non-human nouns: * * 1. (lit .

towel and soap cats or dogs cash or cheque Numerals and nouns Xiko Lm huò Lko Wáng Little Li or Old Wang Note 1: There are other words in Chinese for [and] used in a similar way to hé. ! gdngyè yO nóngyè [industry and agriculture]. Note 2: In familiar speech xiko [little] and lko [old] are preyxed to surnames or sometimes given names.4 4 !" !" !" yágao. tóng (often used by southerners) and. jiljie tóng mèimei [elder sisters and younger sisters].1 Numerals and nouns Cardinal numbers yc / èr/likng san sì wo one two three four yve liù qc ba jio shí six seven eight nine ten Numbers ranging from eleven to ninety-nine are combinations of members of the basic set one to ten: 15 . hé wn xmhuan gnu. tóng and yo) [and] and [or] may only be used to join words or expressions and NOT clauses: * !"# $5 *Ta xmhuan mao. máojcn hé féizào mao huò gnu xiànjcn huò zhcpiào toothpaste. *(lit. she likes cats. yáshua. Note 3: The conjunctions hé ( gbn.5 Common nouns: countability One feature of common nouns is that they can be counted. yo: !" luóbo gBn báicài [turnips and cabbage]. e. more formally. and I like dogs) huò 1. Xiko generally indicates that the addressee is younger than the speaker. gbn (preferred by northerners). and lko the reverse. 2 2. toothbrush. This involves the use not only of numbers (see Chapter 2) but also measure words (see Chapter 3).g.

.050 Two forms of the number two There are two forms of the number two in Chinese: èr and likng. For example: ! ! !" 2. no. two. room. bus numbers.921 hundred thousand ten thousand hundred million ! èrshísanyì !"#$% sìqianwobkiliùshíqcwàn !"#$ baqiAn jiobKi èrshí yc Care must be taken with large numbers.) .631 2. . líng [zero] must be added as a yller. san. NOT * =*shíqian.005 3. sì . èr hào one. ten thousand is ycwàn.1.1 sanbki líng wo sanqian líng wo sanqian líng woshí 305 3.345. If there is a nought (or noughts) in a ygure. A million in Chinese is ycbkiwàn. four . three.427 58. èr. etc. . room. etc. Èr is used in counting. two (house.: 4 16 4 4 yc. .678. since the English number sets a thousand and a million differ from the Chinese wàn [ten thousand] and yì [hundred million]. or in telephone.I Nouns shí yc shí èr èrshí eleven twelve twenty sanshí sìshí yc jioshí jio thirty forty-one ninety-nine The system extends itself beyond the basic set with the following: bki qian wàn yì For example: !" !"#$ !"# sanbKi liùshí ba jioqiAn sìbKi èrshí qc wowàn baqiAn liùbKi sanshí yc 368 9.

in Chinese the ground zoor is dìxià (or less commonly yc lóu) and the 17 . Note: In the following cases Chinese uses ordinal numbers where English employs cardinals: (1) dates: ! ! (2) zoors/storeys: san yuè yC hào March 1st wo yuè liù hào May 6th èr lóu (American English) the second zoor.. (British English) the second zoor san lóu Whereas the British convention is to number zoors ground. second. èrshí èr [twenty two].èr hào chb !!" no. like cardinals. need to be followed by measure words (see Chapter 3). two mw person) 2. qian. (though likng can also be used with bki. èrbki [two hundred]. For example: yc one èr san two three > > > > > dì yc dì èr dì san ! yrst second third jioshí qc ninety-seven yc bki hundred dì jioshí qc ninety-seventh dì yc bki hundredth When used with nouns. two bus ba jio èr san san liù 892336 (telephone number) Numerals and nouns Èr occurs in compound numbers: shí èr [twelve]. ordinals. Likng is almost always used with measures (see Chapter 3): likng gè rén NOT: * *èr gè rén two people (lit. (British English) the yrst zoor (American English) the third zoor. yrst. etc. wàn and yì).2 Ordinal numbers =dì before Ordinal numbers in Chinese are formed simply by placing the cardinals. etc.

etc. two zoor) in Chinese. eight parts] yve) .5 (lit . hundred parts] sixty) san fBn zhC èr ba fBn zhC wo 2/3 (lit . percentages.4 (lit . etc. This means that [yrst zoor] in British English is èr lóu (lit. one point four) bKi fBn zhC yc bKi fBn zhC liùshí 1% (lit . three parts] two) 5/8 (lit . Bàn may also come after the measure word when it follows a whole number: ! ! ! bàn gè pínggun bàn bbi píjio yc gè bàn lí half an apple half a glass of beer one and a half pears 2. [second zoor] is san lóu. hundred parts} one) 60% (lit . multiples. and ‘every’ Other forms of numbers in Chinese are: (1) Fractions: ! ! (2) Percentages: ! !" (3) Decimals: líng diKn wo yc diKn sì (4) Multiples: likng bèi 18 shí èr bèi 2 times 12 times 0. third.I Nouns zoors above are second.3 ‘Half’ Bàn [half] functions as a number and therefore requires a measure word.4 Fractions. nought point yve) 1. (3) years of study (at an educational institution): yc niánjí yrst year san niánjí third year 2. decimals.

is optional before bki [hundred]. 19 . Also. when used after or its multiples: ! !"# (2) shí jM gè rén san shí jM gè píngzi a dozen or so people thirty or so bottles lái [or so] and dud [just over].5 Approximation Approximation in Chinese may take the following forms: (1) Jm [several]: ! ! ! !" !" jM gè pínggun jM gè jùzi jM gè shbngcí jM shí gè péngyou jM qian gè jmngchá a few apples a few sentences a few new words a few dozen friends (lit. yc [one] is not used before shí [ten]. qian [thousand]. lái is used only after bki: !" !"# ( ) / !" shí lái gè lkoshc èr shí duD gè xuésheng (yc) bki lái/duD gè gdngrén ten teachers or so over twenty students a hundred and more workmen likng qian duD gè rén over two thousand people Note 1: All these expressions of approximation with jm. in these cases. a few tens friends) a few thousand policemen shí [ten’ Jm can also mean [or so. but is obligatory before qian [thousand] and wàn [ten thousand]. However.(5) The inclusive mli [every]: mLi gè rén mLi tian everyone every day Numerals and nouns 2. lái and dud require measure words when used with nouns (see Chapter 3). while dud may also occur after bki [hundred]. or wàn [ten thousand]. and more’. placed like jm after =shí [ten] or its multiples.

etc. apart from being a noun. height and weight: e. This is notably the case in expressions relating to age. money. (4) ( ) (Dà)yub [about /around] and zunyòu [more or less]. wo suì duD !" ! shí liù gDng jCn duD san yCnglM duD over 5 (years old) over 16 kilo(gram)s over 3 miles (3) two consecutive numbers (from one to nine) in increasing order. weight. the measure word gè is optional before rén [person/people]. but its use is limited to approximation about age. !" sanshí suì shàngxià [around thirty years of age]. used with any numbers and any of the above forms of approximation: (a) dàyub is placed before the [numeral + measure word + noun] phrase: ! dàyuB shí wo gè dàren about/around yfteen adults !"/ dàyuB sanshí lái/ about thirty or so visitors ! dud gè láibcn (b) Zunyòu comes after the [numeral + measure word + noun] phrase: ! èrshí gè háizi zuNyòu roughly twenty children 20 Note: Shàngxià functions in a similar way to zunyòu. distance. height. either alone or as part of larger numbers: !" ! ! ( ) sì wO gè kèren sì wO shí gè nán háizi shí qC bA gè nw háizi wO liù bKi (gè) rén four or yve guests forty to yfty boys seventeen to eighteen girls yve to six hundred people Note: As we can see in the last example.g.I Nouns Note 2: Dud must come after the measure when the number is not ten or a multiple of ten. . This is because rén. can be used as a measure word itself.

a measure word must be placed between the number and the noun. the occurrence of gè is decided with reference to rhythm: gè must be omitted before monosyllables but is present before disyllables. with time nouns.1 Measures for nouns Measures and gè Measures for nouns When in Chinese a number is used with a noun. some of which have monosyllabic and disyllabic alternatives. Gè is by far the commonest measure and can be used with almost all nouns. This contrasts with English where nouns can be divided into countables and uncountables. including abstract nouns: ( ) ( ) ! ! ! ! ! yc (gè) rén shí (gè) rén likng gè jiljie san gè shnubiko yc gè huayuán sìshí gè zì wo gè yuè mli gè lwkè yc gè yìnxiàng one/a person ten people two elder sisters three watches one/a garden forty Chinese characters yve months every passenger an impression However.3 3. the former being used directly with numbers and the latter requiring a measure phrase after the number. e. three students (countable) and three loaves of bread (uncountable). For example: yc nián/ yc gè yuè likng tian/ * * *yc gè nián one year one month *likng gè tian two days 21 .g. Chinese nouns on the other hand all take measure words: ! ! san gè xuésheng san gè miànbao three students three loaves of bread Note: Measure words are sometimes also called classiyers.

though any number could appear in its place. jib [street]. Also. etc.I Nouns san wkn/ ! ! likng gè shàngwo san gè xiàwo san gè wknshàng two mornings three afternoons ! sì gè xcngqc/ ! sì gè lmbài ( ) wo (gè) xikoshí three nights sì zhdu/ wo gè zhdngtou/ (colloq. 3.2 Other measure words In addition to gè. qiang . Similarly.) four weeks (colloq.) (1) Shapes: the shape measure words are perhaps the most interesting because they evoke images of their associated nouns. shéngzi [rope]. xiàn [thread]. (In the examples. there is a wide range of commonly used measure words. which can be divided roughly into the categories below. rize].) yve hours Note: The monosyllabic yuè [month] is nevertheless an exception. [string]. (b) zhc (long and slender): yc zhc bm ! yc zhc (xiang)yan Also with zhc: [pistol. with the time word xikoshí [hour]. etc. Other nouns used with tiáo include: kùzi [trousers]. yc yuè means [January]. the numeral yc [one] is used. (c) 22 gbn (slender): ! ! yc gbn xiangjiao yc gbn xiangcháng a banana a sausage a pen a cigarette yágao [(tube of) toothpaste]. san gè yuè [three months] and san yuè [March]. This is because without the measure gè. gè is optional regardless of rhythm. etc. likng gè yuè means [two months] whereas èr yuè is [February]. (a) tiáo (long and zexible): yc tiáo shé yc tiáo hé a snake a river qúnzi [skirt].

chàngpiàn [gramophone record]. zmdàn [bullet].Also with gbn: [needle]. yóupiào [stamp]. (e) kb (small and round): ! Also with (f ) yc kb zhbnzhe yc kb xcng kb: a pearl a star xcn [heart]. zhbn Measures for nouns yc zhang zhm yc zhang piào a piece of paper a ticket Also with zhang: bàozhm [newspaper]. chuáng [bed]. tilsc [wire]. (b) (3) fbng (to seal): yc fbng xìn a letter Particular sets: (a) bln (for books. (2) Associated actions: (a) bk (to handle): ! yc bk dao a knife yc bk yáshua a toothbrush Also with bk: shezi [comb]. dìtú [map]. sun [lock]. etc. zhcpiào [cheque]. míngpiàn [name card]. etc. chmzi [ruler]. ymzi [chair]. zhudzi [table]. etc. (d) zhang (zat): tóufa [hair]. yàoshi [key]. etc. míngxìnpiàn [postcard]. skn [umbrella]. táng [sweets]. birds and insects): yc zhc tùzi yc zhc niko yc zhc cangying a rabbit a bird a zy 23 .): ! ! (b) ! ! yc bln cídikn yc bln zázhì a dictionary a magazine zhc (for animals. zhàopiàn [photograph]. etc. kb): lì (round and smaller than yc lì mm yc lì sha Also with lì: a grain of rice a grain of sand huashbng [peanut]. etc.

kb (for certain plants): yc kb cài yc kb cko Also with: shù [tree].): ! ! (h) ! ! (i) ! 24 ! Also with: yc jiàn chènshan yc jiàn dàyc a shirt an overcoat jian (for rooms. etc. (g) jiàn (for shirts.I Nouns There are alternative measure words for some common animals: yc tóu niú [an ox]. institutions): yc sun fángzi yc sun xuéxiào a house a school ycyuàn [hospital]. etc. . [glass].): yc jian wezi yc jian wòshì a room a bedroom sun (for houses. [mug]. (for utensils): ! yc zhc xiangzi yc zhc wkn Also with: (c) a box/suitcase a bowl bbizi [cup]. etc. yc tiáo gnu [a dog]. etc. yc pm mk [a horse]. [sewingmachine]. etc. coats. yc liàng qìchb yc liàng hunchb a car a train =liàng (for vehicles): ! ! a vegetable a tuft of grass (d) (e) jià (for planes): ! yc jià fbijc a(n) (aero)plane a bomber a jet plane !" yc jià hdngzhàjc !" yc jià pbnqìjc (f ) tái (for machines): ! yc tái jcqì a machine a television féngrènjc !" yc tái diànshìjc Also with: diànnko [computer]. etc.

): ! !" Note: The measures associated with particular sets of nouns are too numerous to list. bao [packet]. and the Chinese measures jcn [catty]. etc. chm [foot]. etc. pán [plate]. mm [metre]. yc shNu gb [a song]. =àngsc [ounce]. etc. [tin]/[can]. yc chkng diànymng yc chkng zúqiú(sài) a palace a hill/mountain chéngshì [city]. etc. mountains. =gdnglm [kilometre]. etc. likng [tael]. bàng [pound]. (4) Containers: ! yc bbi kafbi yc wkn fàn yc tnng shum a cup of coffee a bowl of rice a pail/bucket of water guàn Other containers include: píng [bottle]. [mug]: yc bbi chá ! yc bbi píjio a cup of tea a glass of beer (5) Standard measures: !" yc gdngjcn pínggun yc mk bù !" yc jialún qìyóu a kilo(gram) of apples a yard of cloth a gallon of petrol Other standard measures include: Ycnglm [mile]. They include: ! yc duN huar [a zower]. [glass]. yc chE xì [a play]. a ylm a soccer match Measures for nouns (k) chkng (for activities. Take the case of bbi [cup].(j) zuò (for buildings. Note: Cultural artefacts can sometimes dictate different sets of container measures. hé [small box]. (6) Collections: yc qún rén ! yc tào kèbln yc dá zhm a crowd of people a set of textbooks a pile of paper 25 . cùn [inch].): ! Also with: yc zuò gdngdiàn yc zuò shan qiáo [bridge]. ! yc dMng màozi [a hat /cap].

(8) Indeynite small numbers or amounts ( yc diknr [a little]): yc xib she ! !" yc xib shíjian yc diknr miànfln yc xib [some].3 and 3. etc. However: a pair of trousers yc bK jikndao. dì [land]. books) and material nouns (e. water). ! yc fù shnutào [a pair of gloves]. yèzi [leaf]. etc. =yc qún niú [a herd of cows]. zour) and abstract nouns (e.I Nouns Other collection measures include: chuàn [cluster]. Note 2: Yc xib usually occurs with common nouns (e. =yc qún yáng [a zock of sheep].3). duc [pile]/ Note 1: The collection measure qún [group]/[crowd] in Chinese is matched in English by a range of measures used with different nouns: ! yc qún mìfbng [a swarm of bees]. ! yc tiáo kùzi.4 below. some books some time a little zour yc [one] and with Note 1: Xib can only be used with the numeral demonstratives (see 4. (See also 3. dá [dozen]. etc. ! yc fù yknjìng [a pair of spectacles/glasses]. and yc diknr with material nouns (e.g. time.. etc. Note 2: The notion of pair is usually expressed in Chinese by duì. etc. [heap]. pc [batch]. dc for xil [(drop of) blood]. !=yc shuang kuàizi [a pair of chopsticks]. =yc qún láng [a pack of wolves].g. etc.g. ! yc duì lrhuán [a pair of ear-rings]. a pair of scissors (7) Portion: ! ! yc kuài dàngao yc piàn miànbao yc dc shum Note: for a piece of cake a slice of bread a drop of water piàn kuài is also used for féizào [soap]. opinion).g. shuang or fù: yc shuang xié [a pair of shoes].) 26 .

e.5 yc diknr shum a jin (i.3 Abstract nouns Abstract nouns in Chinese also take measure words.4 Material nouns Material nouns in Chinese. However. For example: 27 . portion measures and indeynite small amount measures: yc jcn mm yc píng jio yc kuài bù yc xib shum ! 3. type] is regularly found with a skill a method a kind of thinking yc zhnng nénglì yc zhnng fangfk yc zhnng scxikng Abstract nouns may always be used with the indeynite small amount measures yc xib or =yc diknr [some]: / / ! ! yc xib/diknr jiànyì yc xib/diknr yìnxiàng some suggestions some impression 3. may only occur with standard measures. half a kilogram) of rice (standard) a bottle of wine/spirits (container) a piece of cloth (portion) some water a little water Collective nouns Collective nouns are formed by attaching a measure word as a kind of sufyx to their related nouns.3. container measures. For example. they are established expressions and new forms are rarely coined. ! !/ ! yc tiáo xiaoxi yc jiàn shì yc sC xiàoróng a piece of news a matter a smile Measures for nouns yc gè zhoyi/zhozhang an idea/a proposal The measure word abstract nouns: ! ! ! zhnng [kind. on the other hand.

The only excepion is: !" likngqianwàn rénknu [a population of twenty million] (no measure word is required). there is no case inzection for pronouns. Note 2: Knu is used as a measure word for the number of people in a family.I Nouns yc zhc chuán a ship yc bln she a book sì knu rén a family of four > > > chuánzhC shipping. . Ta xmhuan wn. they remain the same whether they are the subject or the object: !5 !5 28 Wn xmhuan ta. cannot be used with numerals and measure words. etc. xìnjiàn [correspondence (letters)]. ships shebLn books rénkNu population Note 1: Other collective nouns include: chbliàng [vehicles]. !"# 5 Wnmen bù xmhuan tamen. She likes me. rénqún [crowds of people]. mkpm [horses]. I like him. since they are notionally plural. We don]t like them. bcngkuài [cubes of ice]. They don]t like us. Collective nouns.1 Pronouns Personal pronouns Personal pronouns in Chinese are as follows: singular 1st person 2nd person 3rd person wn I nm ta ta ta you he she it plural wnmen we nmmen tamen tamen tamen you they As for nouns. xulpiàn [snowzakes]. shumdc [drops of water]. !"# 5 Tamen bù xmhuan wnmen. 4 4. zhmzhang [paper]. huadun [zowers/blossoms].

is used where the speaker intends to include the listener(s) in what is said: !8 Zánmen znu ba! Note: (lit. klshì wn !"5 hln xmhuan ta. The second. However. but I like it very much. (lit. Two other personal pronouns are widely used. is a polite form of second person singular: Nm hko! Nín hko! (lit . this mw novel very long. 3 29 . there is no pronoun in the second clause: ! 3 !5 Zhèi bln xikoshud hln cháng. how are you? Pronouns (lit . where jm means [several] and wèi is a polite measure word for people. polite: you good) How do you do? Note: There is no corresponding polite form for the second person plural: *nínmen. ! (lit. and ! wnmen znu ba [let]s go] is now common among northern as well as southern speakers. Zánmen is particularly used by speakers from northern China. the personal pronoun must be used: Nèi gè rén hln jiao]ào. you good) Hello. zánmen meaning [we]/[us]. for example. In the sentence below. klshì wn hln xmhuan. The yrst. the neuter third person singular or plural occurs only rarely. feminine and neuter genders. that mw person very proud. the distinction between zánmen and wnmen seems to be growing increasingly blurred. but I very like) This novel is very long. particularly when the reference is to (an) inanimate object(s). To address a group politely one can use the phrase: nín jm wèi. but I very like him) That person is very proud but I [still] like him very much. ta may mean he/she/it or him/her/it. we [you and I] leave p) Let]s go! =Ba is a sentence particle indicating a suggestion (see 8. when a person is referred to. In contrast. In other words. Note: The neuter third person singular or plural form must still be used in a bk-structure (see last example under 20. The use of these personal pronouns is generally analogous to English.The spoken form of the third person singular is the same for masculine.1(2)). However. nín.6).

etc.g. instead it employs a relevant noun. I like it very much. 5 5 5 Lù hln jìn. it]s a long way).g. (lit. your. time not early p) It]s late. Zuótian tiAnqì hln hko. etc. our. 4. unlike English. yesterday weather very good) It was yne yesterday. does not use the third person neuter pronoun in expressions about time. it]s late. (ta) hln !"5 kl]ài. my. I have one mw cat. distance. (lit. way very near) It]s quite near. (it) very lovely.I Nouns When an animal is referred to. Note: See Chapter 16 for further discusssion of le at the end of a sentence. (lit. Chinese. etc. (lit. (lit. I very like (it)) I have a cat. ours. TiAn qíng le. yours.2 Possessive pronouns The possessive forms of these personal pronouns in Chinese. It is a lovely cat. whether adjectives (e. sky turn-yne p) It]s cleared up. the weather. !"5 ShíjiAn bù zko le. (e. mine. the pronoun may be included or omitted.g.) or pronouns (e. wn hln xmhuan (ta).) are all formed by adding the sufyx de: singular 1st person 2nd person wnde my/mine plural wnmende zánmende our/ours our/ours nmde nínde (polite) tade your/yours your/yours his her(s) its nmmende tamende your/ yours their/ theirs 3rd person 30 . For example: !"3 Wn ynu yc zhc !3 mao.

may be omitted when the reference is to relatives or close friends. Zhè and nà can also modify nouns as demonstrative adjectives. regularly zhè becomes zhèi and nà becomes nèi. Pronouns Note 1: De. 31 . when the noun has already been identiyed). Wn yào mki zhèi bln dìtúcè.For example: wNde she ! She shì wNde.e. ! 5 !" 5 Nèi gè rén shì wn bàba.: wn mama ! nm nw péngyou ta gbge my mother your girlfriend her elder brother Note 2: When a possessive adjective occurs with a numeral-measure phrase. Zhèi wèi shì wnmende lkoshc. e. That one is hers. That is your train/coach ticket. e. 5 Nà bù xíng. as part of a possessive adjective.g. the noun may be omitted: !"5 !"5 !" 5 Nèi gè shì tade. Wn xmhuan zhèi gè. (lit. Note: Where the context is sufycient (i.3 Demonstrative pronouns zhè [this] and nà The two demonstrative pronouns in Chinese are [that]: !5 Zhè shì wnde. I like this one.g. That won]t do. but like numerals they must normally be followed by a measure. This (polite form) is our teacher. With measures. the former precedes the latter and de is usually present. I want buy this mw atlas) I want to buy this atlas. This is mine.: !"# !"# wnde yc gè tóngshì tade likng gè háizi a colleague of mine two children of his 4. !"#5 Nà shì nmde chbpiào. that mw person be my father) That man is my father. my book(s) The book(s) is/are mine. (lit.

measure. Those two letters are yours. the word order of the question does not change from that of statement. These are ours. If a possessive adjective is also present. Those are yours. These three tickets are yours (polite). !"#5 Zhèi xiB qián shì tade. Nèi xiB shì nmmende. !"#$5 Nèi xiB ycfu shì tade. When demonstratives are used with numbers. it always comes yrst (see 5. the inter- . Those clothes are his. the word order is demonstrative. noun: !"#$5 Zhè/Zhèi san zhang piào shì nínde. number. 3. !"#$5 Zhèi xiB xiangzi shì wnde. !"#$5 Nà/Nèi likng fbng xìn shì nmde.8): !"# !"# wnde zhè/zhèi san zhang piào nmde nà/nèi likng fbng xìn These three tickets of mine Those two letters of yours 4. In other words.2 (8)): zhèi xib [these] and nèi xib [those]: !"#5 !"#5 Zhèi xiB shì wnmende. These suitcases are mine. 32 When interrogative pronouns are used.4 Interrogative pronouns The main interrogative pronouns in Chinese are: shéi/shuí shéide/shuíde nk/nli + xib (+ noun) shénme who(m) whose which (plural) what nk /nli (+ measure word + noun) which Note: nà/nèi [that] and nk/nli [which] are differentiated in meaning by their tones and written forms.I Nouns Plurals of the demonstratives can be formed by using the measure xib (cf. This money is hers.

!"#9 Zhè shì shuíde xínglm? (lit. a personal pronoun (as in the second example) is naturally of deynite reference and therefore comes yrst in the sentence. (lit. !"#5 Wn shì nmde língje. Q: !"#$%9 Shéi/shuí shì nmde zhdngwén lkoshc ? (lit. that mw person/Li Ming be my Chinese teacher) That person/Li Ming is my Chinese teacher. 33 . The reason is that a noun of deynite reference in Chinese will normally come yrst as the subject or topic of a sentence. who have match(es)/lighter) (lit. Q: Q: A: ( !) 5 (zheì chuàn yàoshi shì wnde. this be my luggage) This is mine/my luggage. (lit. (lit. who be your Chinese teacher) Who is your Chinese teacher? A: / !"#$%&5 Nèi gè rén/Lm Míng shì wnde zhdngwén lkoshc. I have match(es)/lighter) Who has a match/lighter? I have (a match/lighter). this mw key(s) be whose) Whose keys are these/Whose is this bunch of keys? A: !( )5 Zhè shì wnde xínglm. Similarly.rogative word comes at the point in the sentence where the answer word is expected: Q: !"9 Nèi gè rén shì shéi? (lit. It would be wrong to ask * =[shéi shì nm] or answer * !"#=[nmde línje shì wn]. Pronouns Note: It would be wrong to say * !"= [shéi shì nèi gè rén] in the yrst example because the answer will be !"## [nèi gè rén shì wn bàba] and not * !"#=[wn bàba shì nèi gè rén]. that mw person be my father) That person is my father. this be whose luggage) Whose luggage is this? !"#$9 Zheì chuàn yàoshi shì shuíde? (lit. (lit. Q: !/ 9 A: ( / )5 Shéi ynu hunchái/dkhunjc? Wn ynu hunchái/dkhunjc. (lit. that mw person be who) Who is that person? Q: (A knock on the door) Nm shì shéi/shuí? 9 A: A: !"##5 Nèi gè rén shì wN bàba. whether in a statement or question. this mw key(s) be mine) They/These keys are mine/ This bunch of keys is mine.

5 Other pronouns Other miscellaneous pronouns include: dàjia rénjia zìjm shéi/shuí 34 everybody (used before and after the verb) the other person (occurring before and after the verb) oneself (used before and after the verb or after a personal pronoun) everybody/nobody (placed before the verb and always with ddu [all] or yl [also]) . you know which two mw people) Which two people do you know? !"#9 Nm rènshi nK/nLi xib zì? (lit. you like which mw painting) (lit. I know this two mw people) I know these two people. (lit. (lit. I like this mw painting) Which painting do you like? I like this painting. I know these mw character) I know these characters. I drink mw: cup tea/ coffee/orange juice/beer) I]ll have tea/coffee/orange juice/beer. !"5 Wn zhko wNde qiánbAo. you look-for what) What are you looking for? !"9 Nm hb bbi shénme? (lit. you drink mw: cup what) What will you have to drink? A: !"#$5 Wn rènshi zhè/zhèi likng gè rén. (lit. 5 Q: Q: A: Q: A: Q: A: 4. I look-for my purse/wallet) I]m looking for my purse/wallet. you know which mw character) Which characters do you know? !9 Nm zhko shénme? (lit. !"#5 Wn rènshi zhèi xib zì. (lit.I Nouns Q: !"#9 A: !"#5 Nm xmhuan nK/nLi fú huàr? Wn xmhuan zhèi fú huàr. !/ / / Wn hb bbi chá/kafbi/ júzishum/píjio (lit. !"#$9 Nm rènshi nK/nLi likng gè rén? (lit.

she everybody all/also not like) She doesn]t like anybody. she recognise everybody) She knows everybody. (lit. !"5 Ta bù lm rénjiA. everybody all know this mw zhèi jiàn shì. e. / / 5 5 Note 1: Ddu [all] and yl [also] are referential adverbs used to reinforce the idea of [everybody]. (lit. (lit.g. !"#5Tamen hùxiAng bangzhù.3. everybody all/also like her) Everybody likes her. others not bother-with her) The others ignored her.5. matter) Everybody knows this. she everything all/also not eat) She doesn]t eat anything. (lit. / !5 Ta shéi ddu/ yl bù xmhuan. ta lko teche zìjM. (lit. / 5TA shéi ddu/yl bù lm [she ignores everybody]) is found in 18. A discussion of the joint occurrence of both subject and topic in a pre-verbal position (e. (lit. / !5 / Shéi ddu/ yl xmhuan ta.g. [They help each other/one another.shénme !" 5 everything/nothing (likewise placed before the verb and always with ddu [all] or yl [also]) Pronouns DàjiA ddu zhcdào (lit. (lit. !"5 RénjiA bù lm ta. 5 5 ! Ta shénme ddu/yl bù chc. everybody also not like him) Nobody likes him. !"5 Ta rènshi dàjiA. she not bother-with others) She ignored the others. she everything all/also eat) She eats everything. Any possible ambiguity may be removed by the use of emphasis. Their use is discussed in full in 14. (lit. I self not eat meat) I don]t eat meat myself.g. Shéi ddu/ !"5 yl bù xmhuan ta. (lit.: 35 . Normal stress will usually encode a straightforward question whilst emphatic stress will produce a rhetorical effect. (lit. wn zìjM bù chc ròu.4 and 18. he always stick-out self ) He always pushes himself forward. Ta shénme ddu/yl chc.] Note 3: We can see that shéi/shuí can be used either as an interrogative pronoun or to mean [everybody/nobody]. Note 2: To express [each other] or [one another] the adverb hùxiang [mutually] is placed after the subject: e.

1 Adjectives and attributives Attributives Attributives are words or expressions used to qualify nouns.2. This contrasts with English where many attributives.6 Pronouns and conjunctions hé Pronouns.I Nouns Note 4: 9 shuí shud nm? Who is criticizing you? or Nobody is criticizing you.g.2 Adjectives as attributives When adjectives are used as attributives in Chinese. 5. like nouns. 9 Nm guaì shuí? Who are you blaming? or You can]t blame anyone. In Chinese.4 Note 1. follow the noun. see 10. may be linked by conjunctions. a distinction can be made between monosyllabic adjectives and adjectives with more than one syllable. 5. such as ( gbn. 4. relative clauses.1 Monosyllabic adjectives Monosyllabic adjectives are placed directly before the nouns they qualify: jiù she hKo péngyou !" !" !"#$ 36 yc tiáo hóng qúnzi yc gè dà jiatíng wnde yc fù hBi yknjìng old books good friends a red skirt a big family a pair of sunglasses of mine . tóng and yo) [and] and huò [or] (see 1. e. Lko [always]. prepositional and participial phrases. They may either describe or delimit them. all attributives precede the word they qualify.4): Nm hé wn ! zhèi gè huò nèi gè you and me this one or that one 5 5.

big person). etc. private person). scrén [personal]. gdngyuán [park] (lit. Idiomatic phrases such as hln dud [many] and bù shko [quite a few] may be included with them: ! ! cKisè diànshì gBnbLn yuánzé hLn duD rén bù shKo shì ! bù shKo shíjian colour television fundamental principles a lot of people quite a few matters quite some time 37 . that small knapsack of yours This is real leather.!"#$ !5 nmde nèi gè xiKo bèibao Zhè shì zhBn pí. gratuity] (lit. Adjectives and attributives !"#$5 Nà shì yc gè xCn shnubiko. public garden). a limited number of common two-syllable adjectives are used without de.2 Polysyllabic adjectives and de If the adjective has more than one syllable.2. That is a new watch. Note: A monosyllabic adjective attached to a noun may often become an established word or expression and take on a distinctive meaning of its own: dàren [adult] (lit.2.3 Disyllabic adjectives and de However. small fee). 5. [private] (lit. the particle de is generally used between the adjective and the noun it qualiyes: !" !" !"#$ !" piàoliang de ycfu niánqCng de geniang yc gè cuòwù de juédìng ruKnmiAnmiAn de dìtkn beautiful clothes young girls a wrong decision soft carpet The same general principle applies when a monosyllabic adjective is preceded by an adverb of degree: !" !"# hLn xCn de ycfu very new clothes yc gè shífBn zhòng de a very heavy parcel baogun !"#$ yc sun jí dà de fángzi an extremely big house 5. xikofèi [tip.

In some cases the resulting expressions have become established terms in the language. 5. Note 2: Disyllabic attributives without de may often be used with disyllabic nouns to form idiomatic expressions: ! lwxíng zhcpiào [traveller]s cheque]. etc. gèbié [speciyc]. etc. Ylm house) shíjianbiko grammar book timetable shíjiAn biko > yOfK she ! ! ! diànhuà hàomk telephone number shí bàng fákukn ten pound yne liKng yCnglM lù two miles distance Note: Material nouns are often used as nominal attributives: ! yc shàn tiL mén [an iron gate]. / ! tAde wàzi [his/her socks/stockings]. Whether monosyllabic or polysyllabic. ! yc do zhuAn qiáng [a brick wall].I Nouns Note 1: Other disyllabic adjectives which do not usually require de are: ycqiè [all]. [modern]. xcnshì [new-style]. but in these cases it indicates either possession or close association: ! bàba de lmngdài father]s tie the school]s sportsyeld wNde xié !"# xuéxiào de yùndòngchkng 38 Note: Compare this with the use of de in possessive pronouns: [my shoes]. hundred-goods shop). ! bkihuò shangdiàn [department store] (lit. etc. they do not generally require the particle de. . !" yc jiàn pí jiakè [a leather jacket].3. 5. ! diànshì jiémù [television programme]. as in the yrst three examples below: shE jià diànyMng yuàn > > shejià bookshelf diànymngyuàn cinema (lit. etc. !" yc tiáo jCn xiàngliàn [a gold necklace]. zhoyào [primary].3 Nominal attributives Nouns may also act as nominal attributives.1 Nominal attributives and de The particle de may be used between a nominal attributive and the noun it qualiyes. ! shèngdàn lmwù [Christmas present].

see Chapter 19) and postpositional phrases (e.g.g. kào chuáng [against the bed].4 Prepositional and postpositional phrases as attributives Prepositional phrases (e. when used as attributives.5 Verbal phrases or clauses as attributives Attributives in Chinese become more complex when they contain verbs. They always require the use of the particle de: (1) Verbal phrases: ! !" mài bàozhM de shangdiàn xCn lái de mìshe a shop that sells newspapers the secretary who has just come families which have money clothes which need washing !" yNu qián de jiatíng !" yào xM de ycfu (2) Verbal clauses: !" nM yào fù de qián ! nM jiào de cài !" tAmen qù ZhDngguó ( ) de nèi (yc) tian !" gémìng kAishM de dìfang the money you will have to pay the dish(es) you have ordered the day they went to China the place where the revolution started 39 . zhudzi xià [under the table]. always require de: (1) Prepositional phrases: !" !" (2) kào qiáng de zhudzi yán lù de shangdiàn the desk/table against the wall the shops along the road Adjectives and attributives Postpositional phrases: !"# !" wEzi li de jiajù qiáng shàng de biaoyo furniture in the room slogans on the wall 5. see Chapter 11). Below are some examples of verbal phrase or clause attributives.5.

I Nouns 5. small room [a] very high white house (3) A verbal attributive invariably precedes all other attributives: !" ! huì huà huàr de xCn tóngxué dài yKnjìng de nW lkoshc [a] new coursemate who can draw/paint [the] woman teacher who wears glasses 5.6 The order of sequential attributives Where attributives of various types (adjectival. nominal or verbal) occur in one sentence.7 Demonstrative and numeral phrases with other attributives Demonstrative and numeral phrases precede all attributives: !"# zhè liKng tiáo hóng qúnzi these two red skirts !" ! !" ! nà/nèi xiB kàn ZhDngwén zázhì de rén nà/nèi zhC nM xMhuan de xiKo huA mao those people who read Chinese magazines that little tabby cat (which) you like Note: The only exception is that with verbal attributives the demonstrative/ numeral phrase may come after the attributive: !" ! kàn ZhDngwén zázhì de nà/nèi xiB rén nM xMhuan de nà/nèi zhC xiKo huA mao those people who read Chinese magazines that little tabby cat (which) you like 40 !" ! . they must follow one of the following sequences: (1) An adjectival attributive will always precede a nominal attributive: hBi pí xié !"# (2) huCsè de róng dàyc black leather shoes [a] grey felt coat An adjectival attributive with de always comes before an adjectival attributive without de: !"# !"# gAnjìng de xiKo fángjian hLn gAo de bái fángzi [a] clean.

light-music) 41 .8 Possessive pronoun and other attributives A possessive pronoun will precede all qualifying phrases (e.11 Attributives in word-formation Finally. (lit.10 Omission of the noun following an attributive If the context makes it clear. demonstrative/numeral phrase and attributives): !"#$ !"# ! wNde sAn gè hKo péngyou my three good friends nMde nèi jiàn xCn mKi de pí jiakè that newly-bought leather jacket of yours Adjectives and attributives 5.9 Ér between adjectives When two similar adjectives qualify the same noun. 5. this be I yesterday buy p) This is what I bought yesterday. though in these cases de must always be retained: Wn xmhuan !5 nèi gè xCn de. support-old-money) light music (lit. in Chinese any grammatical category or construction may be attached without de to a following noun headword to become a word or idiom in the language: yKnglKojcn qCngycnyuè old-age pension (lit. beautiful girl (a) clean and tidy room 5. (lit.5. I like that mw new p) I like that new one.g. they are usually joined together by the conjunction ér [as well as]: !" !" !" !" (yc gè) niánqcng ér piàoliang de geniang (yc jian) ganjìng ér zhlngqí de fángjian (a) young. Zhè shì wN !5 zuótiAn mKi de. the noun following the attributive can be omitted.

42 .I Nouns lWxíngshè shuAngrénchuáng lùyCnjc travel agent (lit. record-soundmachine) Note: The italics mark out the attributives from the (non-italicised) headwords. two-people-bed) tape recorder (lit. travel-society) double bed (lit.

Action verbs embrace a wide range of semantic groups including motion verbs. Ynu [to have]. or zài directly before the verb.Part II Verbs Introduction Verbs in Chinese (as in English) may be divided into three major categories: the verb shì [to be]. however. may express existence. can acquire a function similar to verbs. as well as indicating possession. Action verbs without aspect markers usually express habitual action or intention. 43 . intentional verbs. the verb ynu [to have] and a broad set of verbs that may be loosely called action verbs. The time of the action speciyed by the verb is normally indicated by placing a time expression before the verb or at the beginning of the sentence. we have called these state verbs. The various types of complement. usually with the reinforcement of a degree adverb. since they signify state rather than action. This is achieved by introducing an aspect marker le. modal verbs. etc. Many such adjectives. or D zhe as a sufyx to the verb. attitudinal verbs. guo. It does not occur with adjectival predicates. is ongoing. Chinese verbs do have to be related to aspect. dative verbs. Expressions indicating location. One feature common to all verbs in Chinese is that they do not conjugate for tense. Everything that comes after the verb (apart from the object) we have put in the category of complement. in that there needs to be some indication of whether the action has been completed. Shì [to be] is used to introduce nominal predicates. providing the structure for introductory phrases like [there is/are] in English. if followed by the particle le. which come directly after the (pro)nominal subject without any copula. causative verbs. come before the verb. Analysis of these groups enables the characterisation of many verbal constructions and their functions. like time expressions. or is part of past experience. This means that the action of a verb is always expressed against a previously established setting of time and place.

In English such predicates would normally use the verb [to be] as a copula or link verb. I very sad) I am (very) sad. Such potential complements have a slightly different emphasis from néng [to be able]. which is one of a substantial number of modal verbs in Chinese. One interesting feature of result and direction complements is that they can be converted into potential complements.). long attributives. most commonly hln [very]. expensive) The rent of this house is (very) expensive. . encodes most ideas in terms of verbs (instead of prepositions. she very tall) She is (very) tall. Zhèi jiàn shì hLn qíguài. consequential state.2 Adjectival predicates and the verb ‘to be’ In an adjectival predicate the verb [to be] is not normally used. follow logically from the action of the verb. !" Zhèi sun fángzi de (lit. (lit. result.1 Adjectival predicates and degree adverbs The adjective used in such an adjectival predicate must always be modiyed by a degree adverb. this mw house p rent very !5 zejcn hLn guì. It is therefore important to understand the central role of verbs in Chinese sentences and the various syntactic elements associated with them. In Chinese they are slightly more complex. this mw matter very strange) This matter is (very) strange. 6. (lit. Nèi gè rén hLn klkào. direction. that mw person very reliable) That person is (very) reliable. etc. Chinese. Hln is often unstressed. particularly in the case of adjectival predicates. (lit. abstract nouns. etc. (lit.2. as a verb-oriented language. the verb shì Adjectival predicates In this chapter we deal with predicates which describe or deyne the subject.. 6 6.1 Adjectival and nominal predicates. when it carries little meaning: !5 5 44 5 Wn hLn nánguò. This is a distinctive feature of Chinese: 5 Ta hLn gAo. frequency. 6.II Verbs indicating duration. manner.

this mw problem not very important) This problem is not very important. are normally stressed. that mw chair very not comfortable) That chair is very uncomfortable. there is no need for a degree adverb when the adjectival predicate is negated by bù [not]: ! 5 ! 5 Zhèi gè wèntí bù zhòngyào. Note: If a degree adverb is not used with an adjectival predicate. (lit. 45 . that mw chair not comfortable) That chair is not comfortable. That school is really big. fbicháng or Nèi sun xuéxiào zhBn dà. shífbn [extremely]: ! 5 ! !5 ! !5 !5 hln.2 Adjectival predicates in the negative However. a contrast is implied: !"5 Zhèi bln she yNuyòng.2. Nèi bk ymzi hLn bù shefu. Nèi gè háizi xiAngdAng cdngming. spacious. Adjectival and nominal predicates. 6. This book is useful (but that one isn]t). !5 Zuótian liángkuài. this mw problem not important) This problem is not important. That child is fairly clever. (lit. Zhèi tiáo jib shífBn fánmáng. This street is extremely busy. Nèi bk ymzi bù shefu. Yesterday was cool (but today isn]t). the word order becomes import- Zhèi gè wèntí bù hLn zhòngyào. The most xiangdang [fairly]. the verb shì Zhèi gè lmtáng This hall is extremely fBicháng kuanchang. If both hln and ant to the meaning: ! !5 ! !5 bù are present. (lit. (lit.Other degree adverbs. unlike common are zhbn [really].

Note: hko [good]. nán [difycult] can be used similarly to convey the opposite meaning: nánchc [unpleasant to the taste]. nántcng [unpleasant to the ear]. either as antonyms (e. nán= [male]. Most non-gradable adjectives exist in complementary pairs. (lit.II Verbs 6.g. her English very difycultunderstand) Her English is difycult to understand. zhèngquè [correct] and cuòwù [false]) or as positives and negatives (e. These non-gradable adjectives.) and are therefore not so readily modiyed. (lit.3 Adjectival predicates followed by verbs Adjectival predicates are often followed by a verb (phrase) to indicate the area in which the quality or property expressed in the adjective applies: Zhèi gè cài hLn hKochC. Adjectives which have a more deynite either–or quality (e. 6. zhbn [true].2. this be true p) This is true. may be called non-gradable adjectives.g. when functioning as adjectival predicates. his words be false p) What he said is untrue. may be followed by a number of verbs to form established words or expressions: hkotcng [pleasant to the ear]. nw [female]. etc. hkowán [enjoyable]. (lit. jik [false]. (lit. zhèngshì [formal] and fbi zhèngshì [informal]). ! Zhèi xib fúzhuang !5 shì xcnshì de. etc.3 Non-gradable adjectives as attributives In the examples above. this mw dish very good-eat) This dish is delicious. 5 ! 5 ! Zhdngwén yofk (lit.. Tade Ycngwén hLn nán dNng. as in the yrst example. the adjectives may be described as gradable in that they can be modiyed by degree adverbs. etc. (lit. 5 Tade huà shì jik de. nánkàn [ugly].g. 46 . these clothes be new-type p) These clothes are fashionable. Chinese grammar is easy to learn. commonly require the use of the copula shì in conjunction with the particle de: !5 Zhè shì zhbn de. hkokàn [good-looking]. Chinese grammar very easy learn) !5 hLn róngyì xué.

hbi [black]. Note 2: Regarding terms of colour and shape. (colour) hóng [red].4 Nominal and pronominal predicates Nouns and pronouns can also act as nominal and pronominal predicates. (material) jcn [gold]. chángfangxíng [oblong]. hèsè/ kafbisè [brown]. Zhèi tiáo qúnzi shì bù de. (lit. that mw table be round p) shì yuán de. Nèi gè pánzi bù tài yuán. she be my pen-friend) She is my pen-friend. his shirt/blouse be white p) His shirt/blouse is white. huáng [yellow]. Note 1: Other terms in this category include: (shape) fang [square]. huó [alive]. where they generally require the use of the copula or link verb shì [to be]: ! 5 Ta shì wnde bmynu.1 Attributives of shape. 6. xióng [male] (animal). yín [silver].Note: Other common non-gradable adjectives and adjectival idioms are: sm [dead]. [artiycial]. 6. this mw skirt be cloth p) This skirt is made of cloth. it is possible to have different degrees of. bù klnéng [impossible]. pí [leather]. ynu klnéng [possible]. hucsè [grey]. nílóng [nylon]. 47 . gang [steel]. . colour or material similarly tend to indicate an absolute either–or quality or property and as adjectival predicates follow the same . etc. . (lit. [redness] or [roundness]. cí [female] (animal). . cí [porcelain]. til [iron].3. This zower is very red. (lit. it is therefore possible to say: !"5 ! 5 Zhèi dun hua hLn hóng. bikn [zat]. de format: ! 5 ! 5 ! 5 Nèi zhang zhudzi (lit. shì . for example. colour or material Adjectival and nominal predicates. zm [purple]. That plate is not quite round. Tade chènshan shì bái de. rénzào [man-made]. the verb shì Terms of shape. lán [blue]. sùliào [plastic]. tianrán [natural]. . That table is round. mù [wood].

with each year named after a particular animal. pig. this-year be pig year) This is the year of the pig. this be what) What is this? (lit.II Verbs !"5 Zhè shì Wáng xiansheng. dispatch-out-unit) and gdng]anjú (lit. rat. ox. I every mw month p income be one thousand more pound) My monthly income is over a thousand pounds. public-security bureau) are used in mainland China for [police station]. may say 5Wn sho zhe [I belong to the pig]. where it is locating something (or someone) the reference is deynite. (lit. rooster. !" Zhèr shì 5 pàichesun/ jmngchájú. 48 !"5 . (lit. Zhè shì túshegukn. This is the library (you]re looking for). my hobby be climbing-hills) My hobby is hill-walking/ mountain-climbing. This is a library. real or imaginary: i. for example. (as in an introduction) (lit. Note: In the Chinese lunar calendar. Where shì is deyning something (or someone). (lit. dragon. here be police-station) This is the police station. police bureau) in Chinese communities outside mainland China. this be Wang mister) This is Mr Wang. (lit. Someone born in the year of the pig. the years are divided into cycles of twelve years. this mw city p mayor be who) Who is the mayor of this town? (lit. Compare: ! 5 Zhè shì (yc gè) túshegukn. and jmngchájú (lit. horse. rabbit. ! 5 ( ) 5 / Wnde àihào shì pá shan. in contrast with other verbs. dog. Wn(de) fùqcn shì dàifu. may be followed by a noun which is of either deynite or indeynite reference. my father be doctor) My father is a (medical) doctor. Note 1: Paìchesun (lit. (lit. tiger. monkey. the reference is indeynite. Note 2: It will be apparent from the above examples that shì.e. sheep. ! ! !5 Wn mli gè yuè de shdurù shì yc qian dud bàng. !" Zhèi gè chéngshì !9 de shìzhkng shì shéi? !9 ! Zhè shì shénme? 5 Jcnnián shì zhe nián. snake.

(lit. I twenty-one years-of-age) I am twenty-one.4. Wn mèimei jCn tóufa. price. (lit. nouns indicating nationality. may be used as nominal predicates without a copula or link verb: !5 Wn YCngguó rén. age. (lit.1) or a nominal /pronominal predicate (6. or dates. (lit. this pair shoes twelve pound) This pair of shoes costs twelve pounds.6.5 The copula shì in its negative form In the negative form of a non-gradable adjectival predicate (6. I call Ailing) My name is Ailing. the verb shì (lit. today Monday) Today is Monday. this mw child resemble his mother.4 and 6.2 Nominal predicates without a copula However. !"5 Jcntian xCngqC yC. etc.. Wn jiào Àilíng. (lit. the copula shì is always present with bù placed immediately before it: 49 . 5 !"5 Wn èrshí yC suì.3. personal characteristics. 5 6. (lit. Wn shO lóng.1). (See note under 6.4. (lit. Zhèi shuang xié shí èr bàng. Adjectival and nominal predicates.) 6.1 Verbs resembling shì shì: A number of verbs can be said to resemble the copula 5 !5 ! 3 5 5 Wn xìng Lm. not his father. I belong dragon) I was born in the year of the dragon. I surname Li) My surname is Li. my younger-sister golden hair) My younger sister is a blonde. not resemble his father) This child is like his mother.4.4. I England person) I am from England. bù xiàng ta bàba. Zhèi gè háizi xiàng ta mama. (lit.3 and 6.

This is discussed in detail in Chapter 22. (lit. I have one mw younger-brother) I have a younger brother. (lit. 7.5).1. spider have eight mw foot) Spiders have eight legs. today not be week three) Today is not Wednesday. this mw cabinet have yve mw drawer) This cabinet has yve drawers. (lit. We start here with ( ) 5 Wn yNu (yc ) gè dìdi. his trousers not be black p) His trousers are not black. 7 7. He have very much money) He has a lot of money. comparisons ˇ The functions of you ˇ The verb ynu has a number of functions.1 Ynu indicating possession ynu as a verb of possession meaning [to have]: (lit. (lit. tomorrow I have one mw appointment) I have an appointment tomorrow.II Verbs ! Tade kùzi !5 bù shì hbi de. (lit. Ta yNu hln dud qián. Ta bù shì Mliguórén. 5 5 Zhczhe yNu ba zhc jiko. ! 5 5 Jcntian bù shì xcngqc san. ! Zhèi xib chuanglián (lit. (lit. ! ( ) 50 Míngtian wn 5 yNu (yc) gè yubhuì.1 The verb you. he not be American) He is not American. !" Zhèi gè guìzi !5 yNu wo gè chduti. but it also appears in expressions of comparison. Note: Shì may also be used as an intensiYer for emphatic statements. this mw curtain not be silk p) !5 bù shì chóu de. These curtains are not made of silk. Primarily it indicates possession or existence (the latter is discussed in 11. . (lit.

3 Ynu indicating change or development Ynu often takes modiyed or unmodiyed verbal objects to indicate change or development: ! 5 !" !" 5 !" !" 5 Tade Zhdngwén yNu jìnbù. 51 .2 Mli as negative of ynu méi (NOT bù) before it: Ynu is negated by placing Wn méi yNu zìxíngchb. (lit. the object of ynu is not normally qualiyed by the [numeral =yc (+ measure word)]. Ta jia de shbnghuó shumpíng yNu hln dà de tígAo. (lit. Ycngguó de jcngjì zuìjìn yNu yc xib fAzhKn. (lit. comparisons Tamen méi yNu diànshìjc. I not have bicycle) I haven]t got a bicycle. here p situation have not-few change) There have been quite a few changes in the situation over here.1. I now not-have work) I haven]t got a job at the moment.7. they not have television-set) They don]t have a television. (lit. (lit. Britain p economy recently have some develop) There has been some development in Britain]s economy recently. 5 ! 5 (lit. His Chinese have progress) He has made progress in his Chinese. The verb ynu.1. Her family p living standard have very big p rise) The living standard of her family has greatly improved. *I not have one mw bicycle) Méi ynu may often be abbreviated to Wn xiànzài méi gdngzuò. méi in speech: 5 (lit. !" Zhèr de qíngkuàng !"5 yNu bù shko biànhuà. because in Chinese there is no need to quantify what one doesn]t possess: * !" 5 Wn méi ynu yC liàng zìxíngchb. Note: In a negative sentence. 7. (lit.

ynu jcngyàn [experienced]. Her income have some increase) There has been some increase in her income. 7.5 52 Ynu introducing adjectival predicates Ynu may also be used to introduce an adjectival predicate which incorporates a number: . this mw novel very have meaning) This novel is very interesting. ( (lit.II Verbs !" !5 Tade shdurù yNu yc xib zBngjiA. (lit. !"# Zhèi gè lko rén 5 fbicháng yNu jCngyàn. These regularly function as gradable adjectival predicates and can be modiyed by adverbs of degree: !" 5 ! !5 Zhèi bln xikoshud hLn yNu yìsi. that mw young person really rén zhbn not-have politeness) That méi(yNu) lMmào. which may be equivalent to English adjectives. That businessman is (very) rich. méi(ynu): These expressions must be negated by !" ) 5 !" ( ) 5 Wn jcntian wknshang méi(yNu) kòng. that mw actor/actress extremely have name) That actor/actress is extremely famous. young person is really impolite. Nèi gè yknyuán fBicháng yNu míng. Nèi gè niánqcng (lit. I today evening not-have leisure) I am busy tonight.1. This old man is extremely experienced. ynu xuéwèn [learned].1.4 Ynu forming idiomatic expressions Ynu often takes abstract noun objects to form idiomatic expressions. Nèi gè jiàoshòu hln yNu xuéwèn. For example: ! 5 ! !5 Nèi gè shangrén hln yNu qián. That professor is very learned. (lit. Note: Other commonly used idioms with ynu are ynu qián [rich]. (lit. 7.

(lit. this mw storey-building have twenty lóufáng yNu metre high) This building is twenty èrshí mM gAo. you(r) home have how far) How far is your home from here? 7. My father is thinner than my mother. (lit. return-ticket compare singlejourney-ticket yt-calculation) A return ticket is more economical than a single. distance.2 Comparison Comparison in Chinese may be expressed in a number of ways. etc. comparisons 5 By extension ynu may be followed by dud (how) and an adjective to express questions about age.5 Zhèi zhuàng (lit. shífbn [extremely]. (lit. (We noted in 6. you(r) younger-brother have how tall) How tall is your younger brother? (lit. you(r) younger-sister have how big) How old is your younger sister? (lit. that mw road have two hundred mile long) That road is two hundred miles long.2. Chinese compare English difycult) Chinese is more difycult than English. Nèi tiáo lù yNu liKng bKi yCnglM cháng. The verb ynu. The adjective in a comparison cannot be modiyed by degree adverbs such as hln [very]. fbicháng. 5 ! 5 Zhdngwén bM Ycngwén nán. (lit. and follows the pattern X bm Y + gradable adjective.. time. Láihuípiào bM danchéngpiào hésuàn. and it would be wrong to say: * Zhdngwén bm !5 Ycngwén hLn nán. my father compare my mother thin) 5 wn mama shòu.1 that a gradable adjective unmodiyed by a degree adverb implies a contrast or comparison.) Wn bàba bM (lit. metres high. and so on: Nm dìdi yNu 9 duD gAo? Nm mèimei 9 yNu duD dà? 9 Nm jia yNu duD yuKn? (lit. The most common makes use of the preposition bm [compared with]. *Chinese compare English very difycult) 53 .

Wn gbge bm wn dà liKng suì. (lit.II Verbs 7.2 Negative comparison A negative comparison can be expressed in two ways: (1) By placing ! 5 bù before Jcntian bù bM zuótian lLng.e. (lit. either by using the adverbs gèng or hái meaning [even more]: !5 ! 5 Jcntian bm zuótian gèng llng. (lit. . Chinese compare English difycult p much) Chinese is much more difycult than English. than Y): (lit. X is not more . my elder-brother compare me big two years-of-age) My elder brother is two years older than I am. (lit. . Wn mèimei bm wn jiljie gao yC diKnr.1 Emphatic or specific comparison The degree of comparison may be made clear. Zhèr bm nàr hái anjìng. (lit.2. .2. today compare yesterday even-more cold) Today is even colder than yesterday. as Y): . my younger-sister compare my elder-sister tall one bit) My younger sister is slightly/a bit taller than my elder sister. this mw road not compare that mw near) This is not a shorter way than that.6. however. / (nàme/ ! Zhèi tiáo lù !5 bù bM nèi tiáo jìn. 5 5 5 Note: For further discussion of degree complements see 13. or by tagging various kinds of degree complements to the adjectives: Zhdngwén bm Ycngwén nán de duD. . bm (i.e. X is not so . 7. here compare there even-more quiet) It is even quieter here than there. (lit. (2) 54 By using the formulation X ( ) méi(ynu) Y zhème [so]) adjective (i. today not compare yesterday cold) Today is not colder than yesterday.

3 Comparison: equivalence or similarity ycyàng ycyàng Equivalence or similarity is conveyed by use of the adjective [the same] (lit. 7. 55 . one kind) in the formulation X gbn Y (i. their meaning overlaps with that of the ycyàng structure (see 7. (lit. i. today p weather not-have yesterday (so) warm/cool) It]s not so warm/cool today as it was yesterday.2. (lit my and your one-kind) Mine is the same as yours.( ( L ( ( ) L ! Jcntian de tianqì méi(yNu) zuótian ) (nàme/zhème) 5 nuKnhuo/liángkuài. (lit.e. speak Japanese have speak Chinese so easy p) Is speaking Japanese as easy as speaking Chinese? In fact these questions are asking about [equivalence]. gbn. Note 2: This formulation with a question is asked: ! 9 ! ! 9 Zhèi gè yNu nèi gè piányi ma? Shud Rìyo yNu shud Hànyo nàme róngyì ma? ynu may be used in a positive sentence when (lit. hé. X is the same as Y): Wnde gBn !5 nmde yCyàng. tóng and yo [and] may be Note: We have seen earlier that used interchangeably (see 1. ! Wnde wéijcn méi(yNu) nmde (nàme/zhème) hKokàn.e.2. I and you same tired) I am just as tired as you are. that mw luggage and this mw same light) That piece of luggage is as light as this one. this mw have that mw cheap p) Is this as cheap as that? (lit. it is not necessary to say ! zuótian de tianqì. Chinese like English can concentrate on the contrasting attributive rather than expressing the comparison in full.4). Wn hé nm yCyàng lèi. This structure can be extended by the addition of a further adjective: ! 5 5 Nèi jiàn xínglm gBn zhèi jiàn yCyàng qCng. (lit.3). (lit. my scarf not-have your (so) good-to-look-at) My scarf doesn]t look as nice as yours The verb ynu. comparisons ) L 5 ) Note 1: As illustrated in the yrst example under (2).

this mw brand p honey comparatively cheap) This brand of honey is (relatively) cheaper. 5 Permanent or long-term characteristics: Wn yc jio san wo nián chEshì.3 Comparatives and superlatives Where only one item is mentioned in a comparison. action verbs may also occur without any marker. However. or zài (preceding the verb). (2) (lit. when they describe one of the following: (1) Habitual action: Háizimen tiantian kàn diànshì. hb [drink]). [strike]. Nèi gè gdngyuán (lit. (lit. 8 8. state verbs and dative verbs. [beat].g. and dative verbs Having discussed shì [to be] and ynu [to have]. Apart from being used in imperatives (see 8. dk [hit]. guo or D zhe (sufyxed to the verb). children day-day see television) The children watch television every day. One of the most prominent features of action verbs in narration is that they are almost always used in conjunction with an aspect marker.1 Verbs and aspect markers Action. they are generally employed for narrative purposes. we will now look at action verbs.2 Action verbs Action verbs signify movement or action (e. 8. state. horse eat grass) Horses eat grass. le. pko [run]. that mw park most beautiful) zuì mlilì.6). 5 Mk chC cko. 56 5 . (lit. I one-nine-three-yve year come-out-into-world) I was born in 1935. ! 5 ! (lit.II Verbs 7. That park is the most beautiful [of all]. a simple comparative or superlative expression like bmjiào [comparatively] or zuì [most] is placed before the adjective: Zhèi gè páizi de mìtáng !5 bMjiào piányi.

I eat asp two bowl rice) I ate two bowls of rice. ! Ycsclánjiào [Islam]. Verbs and aspect markers (3) Intended action: ! 5 5 Wn xiànzài qù bàngdngshì. (lit.1 Le Le indicates the [completion of an action]: Wn xiLle san fbng xìn. Wn mKile likng zhang láihuí piào. I buy asp two mw come-return ticket) I bought two return tickets. today I invite-guest) It]s on me today. I wash asp one mw bath/ shower) I took a bath/shower. the sentence is generally felt to be incomplete: * !5 Wn chCle fàn. (lit.3. (lit. (lit. Dàojiào [Taoism]. I write asp three mw letter) I wrote three letters. (lit. Note: Other religions (branches of religion): Fójiào [Buddhism]. If the object is a single unmodiyed noun. I now go ofyce) I am going to the ofyce now. D zhe and zài: The aspect markers 8. (lit. (lit. 5 Wn xMle (yc) gè zko.3 Aspect markers le. Tianzhojiào [Catholicism]. *I eat asp cooked-rice) This problem is resolved if the object is speciyed or the sentence is extended: Wn chCle liKng wKn fàn. etc. 5 57 . guo.5 Wn xìn Jcdejiào. 5 ( ) 5 As in these three examples. 8. (lit. I believe Christ-religion) I am a Christian. the object of a verb with le is usually something speciyed or deyned. Jcntian wn qMngkè.

present Ta ymqián bù chDuyAn. I yesterday ynish asp lesson xiàle kè ymhòu after-that go see ylm) Yesterday qù kàn diànymng. Wn zuótiAn (lit. Shéi méi(yNu) tCng zuótian de gukngbd? (lit. He before not inhale-smoke) He did not smoke before.e. (lit. ( ) méi(ynu) is used. míngtiAn shdushi fángzi. in Chinese time expressions specify the time of the action of the verb (compare Chapter 10). I tomorrow ynish asp lesson xiàle kè ymhòu after-that go see ylm) Tomorrow qù kàn diànymng. Note: For a full discussion of composite sentences like this last extended sentence. tomorrow tidy-up house) Yesterday I read a novel. (lit. A completed action with ! ! !5 ! ! !5 le may take place in the past or future. Wn míngtiAn (lit. when I ynish class. I went to see a ylm. jCntiAn xil xìn. i. who not(-have) listen yesterday p broadcast) Who didn]t listen to yesterday]s broadcast? ) bù is used for a habitual action. I]ll go and see a ylm. (lit. He not(-have) go Europe) He did not go to Europe. ! 3 3 !5 Wn zuótiAn kàn xikoshud. or future: Ta méi(yNu) qù duzhdu. today I]m writing letters and tomorrow I will tidy the house. today write letter. Whereas in English the form of the verb changes to indicate tense.II Verbs ! 5 Wn chCle fàn jiù huí jiA. I yesterday read novel. WITHOUT le: ( ) 5 ( 9 Note: However. 58 5 . To express the negative of completed action. I eat asp rice-meal then return home) I]ll go home as soon as I ynish the meal. when I]d ynished class. to say what did not happen in the past or has not happened. whether in the past. see Chapter 24. (lit. It must be stressed that aspect markers are NOT indicators of tense.

(lit. ! Tamen jcnnián !5 qùle Táiwan. I drink asp Maotai (wine/spirit)) I have tried Maotai.) (lit. (lit. Verbs and aspect markers 8. Hence the colloquial enquiry !"# Nm chcguo fàn méiynu [Have you eaten?] is acceptable because the speaker has subconsciously in mind the immediate meal-time. future also not drink) I]ve never drunk before. 59 . and I won]t drink in the future. The sentence !"#$%5 Tamen jcnnián qùguo Táiwan shows that guo can be used to indicate experience within a deyned period of time. this mw person from-the-start not speak dirty words) This man has never used bad language. jcnnián [this year] (as well as experience up to the present). they this-year go asp Taiwan) They went to Taiwan this year (and they are still there). consider the 5 ( )5 To illustrate the difference between following: ! Wnmen chCguo !5 Blijcng kkoya. that day. I don]t drink now. (lit. (I therefore know what it tastes like. jianglái yl bù hb. (lit. now not drink.) le and = guo. Wn hBguo máotái(jio). I up-to-now not drink wine. they this-year go asp Taiwan) They went to Taiwan this year (but they are back now). I see asp Beijing-drama) I have seen Peking opera.2 Guo Guo denotes that an action is a {past experience}: Wn kànguo Jcngjù. ! ! 5 (lit. (I therefore know what it is. Nèi tian wnmen (lit. ! Tamen jcnnián !5 qùguo Táiwan. xiànzài bù hb.3. (lit. that day we eat asp Beijing chCle Blijcng roast-duck) We had Beijing duck kkoya. we eat asp Beijing roast-duck) We have tried Beijing duck before.! 3 3 5 ! 5 Wn ycxiàng bù hb jio. The deyned period can of course be any period including the immediate past. Zhèi gè rén cónglái bù shud zanghuà.

zài. (lit. they just rest p) They are just having a rest.II Verbs ( ) Méi(ynu) also functions as the negative in a past experience sentence. The fact that the sentences !5 ta zài xuéxí and !"#5 ta zài nàr xuéxí can be seen to be identical in meaning [He is (there) studying] would seem to conyrm this point. he not go asp Africa) He has never been to Africa. (lit. she (just) asp: in-the-process-of tidy-up lounge p) She is just tidying up the lounge. in fact. elder-sister asp: in-the-processof read university) (My) elder sister is studying at the university. Zhèng [just] is regularly used with slightly more emphatic: ! !5 Tamen zhèng zài dk pcngpangqiú. (lit. Jiljie zài niàn dàxué. (lit. (lit. Note: The use of zài in this construction appears to derive from its function as a preposition (coverb). provides no precise indication of place. but in this construction guo is retained: ( ( ) !5 Ta méi(yNu) qùguo Fbizhdu. employing Note: It is possible to express action in progress without zhèng and ne: 60 5 Tamen zhèng xiexi ne. The nàr in the second sentence. . (lit. The sentence particle ne may be added to [action-in-progress] sentences to introduce a tone of mild assertion: ( ) !5 Ta (zhèng) zài shdushi kètcng ne. they just asp: in-the-process-of beat pingpong-ball) They are just playing pingpong/table tennis.3 Zài. join-sound music-group asp: in-the-process-of play Beethoven p music-song) The symphony orchestra is playing Beethoven]s music. which is placed before the verb.3. who not(-have) drink asp Maotai) Who has not tried Maotai? ) Shéi méi(yNu) !9 hBguo máotái? Zài 8. zài and makes the sentence (lit. indicates an {action in progress}: ! ! 5 5 Jiaoxikng yuè tuán zài yKnzòu Bèidudfbn de yuèqo.

He last-year asp: in-the-processof learn ride-horse) He was learning to ride (a horse) last year. He before every-day evening tiAn wKnshang all in-the-process-of drink wine) ddu zài hb jio. I asp: in-the-process-of with her talk) I am not talking to you. (lit. (lit. they day-day asp: in-theprocess-of quarrel) They are quarrelling every day. 8. 5 or a {state resulting from an action}: D Mèimei chuAnzhe !"5 yc tiáo bái qúnzi.4 Zhe D Zhe implies either that the action is an {accompaniment to another action}: D [ 8] D 3 Lkoshc xiàozhe shud. In negative [action-in-progress] sentences. they stand asp chat) They stood chatting. ! !5 Ta ymqián mLi (lit. I not asp: in-the-process-of with you talk. He used to be drinking every night.Zài can refer to deyned periods of time other than the immediate present: ! 9 ! 5 Nm jìnlái zài zuò shénme? Ta qùnián zài xué qí mk. I am talking to her. 61 . younger-sister wear asp one mw white skirt) (The) younger sister is wearing a white skirt. you recently asp: in-the-processof do what) What have you been doing recently? (lit. which rarely occur. (lit. wn zài gbn ta shud. the negator bù comes before zài: ! 3 5 Wn bù zài gbn nm shud. Verbs and aspect markers With a frequency adverb. teacher smile asp say: thankthank) The teacher smiling/with a smile said. [Thanks!] (lit.3. (lit. (lit. it can also express continuing or persistent [action in progress]: ! 5 Tamen tiAntiAn zài chkojià. [Xièxie!] Tamen zhànzhe liáotian.

Chuang kAizhe. 8. are just discussing that question. the yrst emphasises a persistent state while the second implies an ongoing action. (lit. (lit. they high-spirited p asp: in-the-process-of sing-song) Both the above sentences mean [they are/were singing happily]. door-on paste asp one mw yc fù duìlián. Note: Most verbs expressing the wearing of articles of clothing may be sufyxed with D zhe: D / chuanzhe píxíe/wàzi [wearing leather shoes/socks]. she right-now put-on big-coat) She is putting on an overcoat. It is also possible for D zhe to be used in action-in-progress sentences: D ( ) 5 Tamen (zhèng) (lit. couplet) On the door was posted/pasted a couplet. D dkzhe lmngdài [wearing a tie]. but the following sentences illustrate the difference between them: ( ) 5 D Ta (zhèng)zài chuAn dàyc. she wear asp big-coat) She is wearing an overcoat. they high-spirited p sing asp song) (lit. D wéizhe wéijcn [wearing a scarf].4 State verb 62 The aspect marker le may be used with adjectival predicates (see Chapter 6) to create state verbs. etc. (lit. (lit. Whereas adjectives indicate existing or . Ta chuAnzhe dàyc.II Verbs D5 D5 D Mén guAnzhe. door closed asp) The door is closed. they just asp: in-the-process-of zài tkolùnzhe discuss asp that mw question) They nèi gè wèntí. !! Tamen gaogaoxìngxìng !5 de zài chànggb. ( ) (Zhèng) zài and D zhe have similar meanings. If there is any distinction. (lit. !5 Mén shang tiBzhe (lit. 5 Note: There is some similarity between the use of = zài and D zhe when a verb-zhe phrase is modiyed by an adverbial expression: D !! Tamen gaogaoxìngxìng 5 de chàngzhe gb. D / dàizhe màozi/shnutào [wearing a hat/gloves]. window open asp) The window is open.

I heavy asp two kilo) (lit.5 Dative verbs There are a few dative verbs which take two objects in the order indirect object followed by direct object.permanent properties. Note: As we can see from the examples above and also those given below. state verbs express changed or changing features. Jiljie gLi mèimei yc hé táng. aspect marker le can generally be omitted with dative verbs indicating completed actions. Certain action verbs with pattern: ! !5 gli [to give] as a sufyx follow the same She handed in a composition to me. Compare the following pairs: State verb Adjective Verbs and aspect markers !"#5 !"#5 Wn zhòngle likng gdngjcn. 5 Tian hln hBi. But see also 8.2. (The) elder sister gave (her) younger sister a box of sweets. (lit. 5 Ta hln pàng. Wn huán ta likng bàng qián. she very fat) She is very fat. Note 2: To say nm pàngle in a Chinese context is a compliment since it implies that the person you are addressing looks to be in good health. Ta jiAo gLi wn yc pian zuòwén. sky very black) It is (very) dark. (lit. 63 . (of weight). 5 !5 5 Ta sòng wn yc zhc He gave me a pen [as a gift]. sky black asp/p) It has gone dark.5. you fat asp/p) You]ve put on weight. 5 Tian hBile. (lit. 8. I gave him back [his] two pounds. (lit. 5 Nm pàngle. Note 1: This use of le at the end of a sentence is linked with the function of le as sentence particle (see Chapter 16). gangbm. Zhèi gè xiangzi zhbn zhòng. (lit. this mw box/suitcase really heavy) I have put on two kilos This box/suitcase is really heavy.

He told me something. Tamen dài gLi wn yc shù hua. I passed him two letters. 8. !" Tamen sòngle !" wn yc gè jmngtàilán 5 huapíng.] 8. !"5 Note: An idiom with wèn in the dative construction is Wn bàba wèn nm hko.5. I get them very much help) I got a lot of help from them. (lit. Lkoshc wèn wn yc gè wèntí. He borrow asp you money not-have) Has he ever borrowed money from you? (lit.II Verbs ! 5 ! !5 Wn dì gLi ta likng fbng xìn.4. guo and occasionally ( may occur with dative verbs but not D zhe. (lit. . This dative construction may be reversed with the subject of the verb becoming the recipient: ! 5 Wn shDudào ta yc fbng xìn. [My father sends you his regards. I receive her one mw letter) I received a letter from her.5. They brought me a bouquet of zowers. ! 9 Ta jièguo nm qián méiynu? (lit.2 Dative verbs and aspect markers ) (zhèng) zài The aspect markers le. (lit. !"#$5 Ta gàosù wn yc jiàn shì. 64 Note: For a further discussion of dative constructions. see 21. !" Wn dédào tamen !5 hlndud bangzhù. They call me Old Li. she (just) asp: in-theprocess-of teach us English) She is teaching us English now. they give asp me one mw cloisonné vase) They gave me a cloisonné vase. ( ) !5 Ta (zhèng) zài jiao wnmen Ycngyo.1 Dative verbs relating to spoken activity Some verbs relating to spoken activity may also be used in a dative construction: !"#5 ! !5 Tamen jiào wn Lko Lm. The teacher asked me a question.

These verbs take objects which are usually human or animate beings and can therefore engender further actions on their own under the verbal or physical instigation or manoeuvre initiated by the subject (for details. Jiljie lA/tuC wn shàngle chb. mìnglìng [order]. school require us wear school uniform) The school requires us to wear school uniform. (lit.5): Gbge cuC wn qù bàomíng. teacher teach (asp) us one mw song) The teacher taught us a song. (causative verb) Lkoshc jiao(le) wnmen yc shnu gb. elder brother urge me go register/put one]s name down) (My) elder brother urged me to go and register/put my name down. dàilmng [guide]. We can see from these examples that causative verbs themselves do not normally incorporate aspect markers whether they indicate past. Xuéxiào yAoqiú wnmen chuan xiàofú. she want me help her) She wants/wanted me to help her. (lit.8. they help (asp) me a lot busy-ness) They gave me a lot of help. elder sister pull/push me get on asp bus/train) (My) elder sister pulled/pushed me on to the bus/train. it can take the aspect marker le. Verbs and aspect markers 5 5 !" !5 / !5 Ta yào wn bangzhù ta.6 Causative verbs There are a number of causative verbs like cuc [urge] jiào [tell]. but if the second verb in the construction indicates completed action. (lit. 65 . completed or habitual action. [lead]. they help me do asp a lot things) They helped me deal with a lot of things. see 21. (lit. in the language. etc. (dative verb) (lit. (dative verb) Tamen bang wn bànle hlndud shìr. Note also that in some cases an action verb may be used as either a dative or a causative verb: ( ) !5 ! ! 5 ( ) 5 Tamen bang(le) wn hlndud máng. (lit. (lit. progressive.

(lit. (causative verb) Remind him to go and register. (action verb) Have a bit of cheese. Zánmen dK (yc ) chkng lánqiú ba. across come) Come (over) here! (lit. imperatives are more like commands: (lit. one mw song) The teacher (causative verb) taught us to sing a song. ( ) 5 ! !5 ! 5 ! !5 ! 5 Tíxmng ta qù dbngjì (lit. (lit. (dative verb) Sòng ta yc píng jio ba. and the particle ba is often added at the end to connote suggestion: ( ) !5 ChC (yc) diknr rolào (lit. teacher teach us sing asp chàngle yc shnu gb. Without the particle 8 8 8 8 Guò lái! Zhàn qm lái! Bié sa hukng! Bié luànlái! 66 Note: For negative commands. see 15. (lit. (lit.7 Imperatives Action verbs. give-as-a-gift him one bottle wine/spirit p) Give him a bottle of wine/spirits. . In these sentences the subject (apart from zánmen [we] inclusive or wnmen [we]) is generally omitted. don]t confusion come) Don]t do/touch it [because I know you]ll make a mess of it]. eat (a) little cheese p) ba. ba. stand up-come) Stand up! (lit. don]t tell lie) Don]t lie/tell lies. (dative verb) Jiao wnmen dk tàijíquán ba.2 (6). (action verb) GLi wn yc bbi júzishum ba. we hit (a) game basketball p) Let]s have a game of basketball. (causative verb) (lit. remind him go register p) ba.II Verbs ! 5 Lkoshc jiao wnmen (lit. 8. dative verbs and causative verbs may also be used in imperatives. give me one glass orangejuice p) Give me a glass of orange juice. teach us hit shadow-boxing p) Teach us (to do) shadow boxing.

which express not only motion but also direction. (lit. put asp p) Keep it. I]ll come. QMng gbn wn lái. They]ll go. carry asp p) Bring [it] with you. qmng zuò! (lit. guo or zài) may be used in imperatives to imply that the action is expected to be continued in some way. Dàizhe ba. 9 9.7. please sit) Please sit down. (lit. (lit. please follow me come) Please follow me. 67 lái [come] and . I won]t go.8.2 5 QMng (nm) shud (lit. In these cases the verb is generally monosyllabic: D D D 5/ 5 5 D5 Fàngzhe ba/ Liúzhe ba.1 Polite requests Polite requests may be expressed by using qmng [please] at the beginning of the imperative with or without the second person pronoun and the particle ba (see 21. Qmng dlngzhe.1 Motion verbs and direction indicators Motion verbs and simple direction indicators There are a number of common motion verbs in Chinese. (lit. please (you) speak English (p)) Ycngwén (ba). please (you) excuse) Please forgive me. please wait asp) Please wait. They won]t come.7.1): ( ) ( )5 !5 ( ) 8 8. QMng (nm) yuánliàng. Motion verbs and direction indicators Imperatives and aspect markers The aspect marker D zhe (not le. They may be used transitively or intransitively and they fall naturally into two groups: (1) The yrst group consists of the two basic verbs qù [go]: 5 Wn lái. Please speak English. Tamen qù. !5 Tamen bù lái.5. 5 5 Wn bù qù. (lit.

!"5 Tamen xià qù le. Note: The particle le which comes at the end of these sentences has the simultaneous functions of aspect marker and sentence particle (see 16. They went down. Please go over (there). He went up. ! 5 ! 5 Tamen xià lóu lái le. the location object is always placed between the verb and =lái or =qù: !"5 Ta shàng lóu lái le. and with qù movement away from the speaker: (a) shàng [upwards]: !5 !5 Ta shàng lái le. She]ll come to my place. The car has come over the bridge.2. Wnmen qù BLijCng. Tamen xià lóu qù le.2). We are going to Beijing. Please come over (here). If used transitively. Qmng guò qù. She came upstairs. (c) =guò [across or over a distance]: 5 5 ! Qmng guò lái. They came down. 68 5 . Ta shàng qù le. He went upstairs. !"5 Ta shàng lóu qù le. They came downstairs. They went downstairs. Linked with lái they indicate movement towards the speaker. Qìchb guò qiáo lái le. She came up. these can take location objects: !"5 !"5 (2) Ta lái wN zhèr.II Verbs Used transitively. The second group comprises a number of verbs which regularly precede lái and qù to express movement in particular directions. (b) =xià [downwards]: !"5 Tamen xià lái le.

huí [returning to a place]: !5 Mama huí lái le. Grandfather has gone back.5 (d) Chuán guò hé qù le. The boat has gone across to the other side of the river. Please come in. My younger brother has got up. Mother has come back. Motion verbs and direction indicators 5 !" 5 (e) Bàba huí jia lái le. The guest(s) came into the room. (h) dào [arriving]: !"5 Chentian dàolái le. It is also rarely used transitively with an object. Please go in. 69 . but !"5 Lkobkn chE qù le. Kèren jìn wezi lái le. The hostess came out. Note: Qm does not occur with qù in spoken Chinese. Father has come home. (lit. =jìn [entering]: 5 5 !5 5 Qmng jìn lái. She out door go p) She is away. Grandmother has gone to town. (f) =che [exiting]: 5 Nw zhorén chE lái le. Nkinai jìn chéng qù le. Qmng jìn qù. (g) qm [directly upwards]: !5 Dìdi qM lái le. lái or qù. The boss has gone out. Spring has arrived. Note: che is seldom used transitively with there are established phrases such as: !"5 Ta chE mén qù le. The ambassador has gone back to London. !5 Yéye huí qù le. Dàshm huí Lúnden qù le.

or. jìn. Jiljie dào jùyuàn qù le. 70 .II Verbs ! 5 !5 Xiàozhkng dào wn jia lái le. cigarette. * !"#5 Ta pKo shàngqù lóu le. or. (My) elder sister went to the theatre. (lit. gull zy back p) The gulls zew back (to where the speaker is). but it can occur with =qù with a location object. guò. lái or qù imply motion towards or away from the speaker. (lit. (lit. Jmngchá pKo !5 guòqù le.1. public car drive across come p) The bus drove up. She ran upstairs. Ta ná chElái yc zhc yan. Hki]du !5 fBi huílái le. NOT. huí. They have brought a packet of cigarettes. He took out a Ta ná chE yc zhc yan lái. policeman/policewoman run across go p) The policeman/ policewoman hurried across (away from the speaker). Again. If the action verb is used transitively. che and qm express more precise directions. but also serve as direction indicators for other action verbs.) 9. The headmaster came to my house. ! Gdnggòng qìchb !5 kAi guòlái le. the object may be placed either after the whole verb phrase or before lái or qù: !" 5 ! !5 !"#$5 !"#$5 Tamen dài lái le yc bao yan. However. and their partner verbs shàng. Note: Dào is not used with qù on its own. (See 19.1 (2) where dào is classiyed as a coverb. Tamen dài le yc bao yan lái. it must go between the yrst part of the direction indicator and lái or qù: !"#5 Ta pKo shàng lóu qù le.2 Motion verbs and compound direction indicators These motion verbs not only function as independent verbal expressions. if the object is a location. xià.

5 !5 ! !5 ! !5 ! !5 ! !5 5 Bàba tiào xià chuáng lái. Motion verbs and direction indicators ! Yóudìyuán dì guò The postman handed over a !5 jm fbng xìn lái. Yéye gKn huí jia lái le. The nurse came out of the ambulance. Xiko mao pá shàngqù le. Hùshi zNu chE jiùhùchb lái. Yùndòngyuán pKo chElái le. The athlete ran out (towards the speaker). The guests all sat down. Jiljie zNu jìn shangdiàn qù le. Xíngrén héng guò mklù qù le. (lit. The manager has gone (or hurried) back to the company. few letters. Ycshbng zNu guòlái le. Jcnglm pKo huí gdngsc qù le. The balloon zoated up into the sky. Grandfather came hurrying home. (The) elder sister walked into a shop. Qìchb kAi guòqù le. The doctor came over. Father jumped out of bed. Qìqiú piAo shàng tiankdng qù le. Mum has bought a ysh. bought and come back with a ysh) Tàiyáng zhèngzài The sun is rising. The pedestrian has crossed the road (to the other side). The kitten has climbed up (away from the speaker). 71 . The car has gone past. Kèrenmen ddu zuò xiàlái le.Further examples: (1) intransitive: ! 5 ! !5 5 !5 5 5 (2) transitive: !5 Mama mKi huí yc tiáo yú lái. shBng qMlái.

xiàlái and xiàqù. Motion verbs with metaphorical meaning Motion verb expressions may carry meanings beyond simply physical movement. 72 !5 . For example: (1) The motion verb !"5 guò qù may indicate the passsage of time: Ddngtian guò qù le. (d) xiàqù continuation or resumption of an action: !5 Qmng shuD xiàqù. The car has gradually come to a stop. which can be used with both state and action verbs. xiàlái gradual diminishing of an action or state: 5 !5 Qìchb tíng xiàlái le. Dàjia ddu jìng xiàlái le. !"#5 Háizi kE qMlái le. Everybody became quiet. The weather is getting warmer. The duck(s) swam to the opposite bank. Jianchí xiàqù! Please go on (with what you were saying).II Verbs 9. He started singing. She brought this matter up. She recalled that incident. Ta xiKng qM nèi jiàn shì lái. =qmlái (ii) initiating an action or a state: !"5 Ta chàng qm gb lái. Winter has passed. ! 5 (c) Tianqì nuKnhuo qMlái le. may convey various meanings: (a) qmlái (i) mentioning or recollecting something: ! 5 ! 5 (b) Ta tí qM zhèi jiàn shì lái. The child started to cry.3 ! !5 Yazi yoú dào duì]àn qù le. Stick it out/keep at it. (2) The direction indicators qmlái.

e. He closed the window. (2) (a) xià removing. The old professor put on his glasses. He put on a blue shirt/blouse. He has passed the examination for university. Ta tiB shàng likng zhang yóupiào. !" 5 Ta zhAi xià yc dun huar. (d) making an addition: !"5 Qmng jiA shàng san gè. Ta guAn shàng le chuanghu. Motion verbs and direction indicators closing something: ! 5 ! 5 Ta bì shàng le yknjing. She took off her sweater. (c) implying success: 5 Ta kKo shàng dàxué le. xià. She closed her eyes.9. detaching: !"5 Ta tuD xià máoyc. che and guò may occur alone with action verbs. 5 Suàn shàng wn. He plucked a zower. Lko jiàoshòu dài shàng tade yknjìng. without lái or qù. i. Please add three more. She stuck two stamps on [the envelope].4 Direction indicators with specific meanings shàng. 73 . depending on the verbs they are associated with. They then have speciyc meanings. Count me in. Some of the most common usages are: (1) (a) shàng putting on the body or the surface of something: !" 5 !" !5 !" 5 (b) Ta chuAn shàng yc jiàn lán chènshan.

He came up with a good plan. He went past the stop/station. I often into city go) I often go to town. 5 5 5 Because of their signiycance. The following sentences illustrate the point: Wn zuótiAn jìn chéng qù. I tomorrow into city go) I]ll go to town tomorrow. I yesterday into city go) I went to town yesterday. Thursday see) See [you] on Thursday.II Verbs (3) (b) noting down: ! 5 che revealing: ! 5 Ta shuD chE le zhèi jiàn shì. time expressions invariably occur in an early position before the verb. (lit. ! Ta xiKng chE le !"5 yc gè hko bànfk. Wn chángcháng jìn chéng qù. which does not change tense. Ta jì xià le zhèi jù huà. (lit. (lit. (4) guò doing in excess: !"5 Ta zuò guò zhàn le. the time reference has to be made clear before the action is stated. In the mind of the Chinese speaker. ! 74 5 Wnmen míngtiAn xiàwO qù Ddng jcng. we tomorrow afternoon go Tokyo) We are going to Tokyo tomorrow afternoon. . This means that the word order of a Chinese sentence is likely to contrast with its English translation. Wn míngtiAn jìn chéng qù. (lit. 10 10. (lit. He made a note of these words. He revealed this matter. in that they provide a time reference or context for the action of the verb. which will almost certainly have the time reference towards the end of the sentence: !5 XCngqC sì jiàn.1 Verbs and time Time expressions We have seen in Chapter 8 the importance of time expressions in the Chinese sentence. often at the beginning of the sentence.

! qùnián chentian ‘spring last year’. =yc nián hòu ‘a year later’. sanyuè ‘March’. ( ) 5 Note: The following are examples of some of the most common point-of-time expressions. (lit. ddngtian ‘winter’. #$5 Qùnián chEntiAn wn qù Zhdngguó. ! 5 Wn míngnián shàng Blijcng qù. 75 . !"#5 !" 5 Wn jCnnián shíjio suì. I morning seven hour (clock) get-up bed) I get up at seven in the morning. If the time expression is more speciyc. next-year I up-to Beijing go) I am going to Beijing next year. míngnián ‘next year’. She graduated in 1995. xiàtian ‘summer’. it is likely to come after the subject: Wn zKoshàng qC diKn (zhDng) qm chuáng. Wn yéye sAn nián qián qùshì le. qietian ‘autumn’. !"#$5 Ta yC jiO jiO wO nián bìyè. ! yc jio jio wo nián ‘(in) 1995’. èryuè ‘February’.2 Point of time expressions Verbs and time Time expressions indicating a point of time for an action can be placed either in front of the subject or after it: ! 5 or. I next-year up-to Beijing go) I am going to Beijing next year. Míngnián wn shàng Blijcng qù. (lit. jcnnián ‘this year’. I went to China in the spring of last year. Season chentian ‘spring’.10. My grandpa died three years ago. !"#5 Wn fùmo sAnyuè lái. I]m nineteen this year. !" Month The months in Chinese are formed simply by placing the cardinal numbers one to twelve before yuè [month]/[moon]: ycyuè (also zhbngyuè) ‘January’. (lit. which normally appear before the verb: Year qùnián ‘last year’. etc. san nián qián ‘three years ago’. My parents are coming in March. qiánnián ‘the year before last’.

II Verbs

For days of the month hào, or more formally !/ shíyuè èr hào/rì ‘2nd October’. !"# 5 Tamen shíyuè èr hào lái wn jia.

rì, follows the number:

They will come to my place on the second of October.

Other expressions include: shàng gè yuè ‘last month’; zhèi gè yuè ‘this month’; xià gè yuè ‘next month’; ! likng gè yuè qián ‘two months ago’; ! san gè yuè hòu ‘three months later/in three months’; ! qùnián ycyuè ‘in January last year’; ! jcnnián èryuè ‘in February this year’; ! míngnián sanyuè ‘in March next year’. !"# !"5 !" 5 !" !5 Week ( ) Shàng (gè) xcngqc ‘last week’; ( ) zhèi (gè) xcngqc ‘this week’; ( ) xià (gè) xcngqc ‘next week’; ( ) ( ) likng (gè) xcngqc (ym)qián ‘two weeks ago’; ( ) ( ) san (gè) xcngqc (ym)hòu ‘three weeks later/in three weeks’. ( ) 5 ( ) ( ) !"5 Wnmen xià (gè) xCngqC kkoshì. Zhang tàitai liKng (gè) xCngqC (ym)qián láiguo zhèr. We]ll have an examination next week. Mrs Zhang was here two weeks ago. Wn shàng gè yuè mki le yc liàng xcn qìchb. Ta sAn gè yuè hòu jiéhen. Wn jCnnián èryuè líkai zhèr. I bought a new car last month. He]s getting married in three months} time. I]ll leave this place in February this year.

Days For days of the week apart from Sunday the cardinal numbers one to six are placed after xcngqc or lmbài [week], and for Sunday either =tian or rì is used instead of a number: =xcngqc yc ‘Monday’; xcngqc èr ‘Tuesday’; = xcngqc san ‘Wednesday’; xcngqc rì/ = xcngqc tian ‘Sunday’; ( ) shàng (gè) xcngqc yc ‘last Monday’ (lit. Monday last week); !"= zhèi gè xcngqc èr ‘this Tuesday’; ! xià xcngqc san ‘next Wednesday’ (lit. Wednesday next week). !" 5 Wnmen xCngqC sAn kaihuì. We are holding a meeting on Wednesday.


Other expressions for days include: zuótian ‘yesterday’; qiántian ‘the day before yesterday’; jcntian ‘today’; = míngtian ‘tomorrow’; hòutian ‘the day after tomorrow’; ( ) ba tian (ym)qián ‘eight days ago’; ( ) =jio tian (ym)hòu ‘nine days later/in nine days’.

!"5 !"5 Time of day

Ta qiántiAn húi jia. Wn hòutiAn xiexi.

She came back the day before yesterday. I]ll take a day off the day after tomorrow.

Verbs and time

Zkoshàng ‘(in) the morning’; shàngwo ‘(in) the morning (i.e. forenoon)’; xiàwo ‘(in) the afternoon’; zhdngwo ‘(at) noon’; wknshang ‘(in) the evening’; yèlm ‘(at) night’; =bànyè ‘midnight/in the middle of the night’. ! 5 ! 5 !"5 ZKoshang tianqì bù cuò. XiàwO tianqì biàn le. Ta bànyè xmng lái. The weather wasn]t bad in the morning. The weather changed in the afternoon. She woke up in the middle of the night.

( ) Likng dikn (zhdng) ‘two o]clock’; likng dikn bàn ‘half past two’; ! likng dikn yc kè ‘a quarter past two’; ! likng dikn san kè (lit. two hour three quarters) ‘a quarter to three’; !" yc dikn líng wo fbn ‘yve minutes past one’; !"# sì dikn èrshí wo fbn ‘twenty-yve minutes past four’; !" yc dikn chà wo fbn ‘yve minutes to one’; ( ) zkoshang jio dikn (zhdng) ‘nine o]clock in the morning’. ! 5 !" !"5 ! ( ) General Shàng (yc) cì ‘last time’; ( ) xià (yc) cì ‘next time’; ( ) !" (zài) sì dikn yo sì dikn bàn zhCjiAn ‘between four and four thirty’; ( ) (zài) jiàqc li ‘during the holidays’; zhdumò ‘(over) the weekend’; sì tian nèi ‘within four days’. !" 5 ! 5 Wn xià cì zài lái kàn nm. JiàqC li wn qù lwxíng. I]ll come and see you again next time. I went travelling during the holidays. ( ) Wn liKng diKn bàn xiàban. Tamen yC diKn chà wO fBn chc wofàn. Wnmen zKoshang jiO 5 diKn (zhDng) chefa. I came off work at half past two. They have lunch at Yve to one. We]ll set out at nine in the morning.


Detailed time expressions 77

In detailed time expressions giving years, months, dates, etc., the larger always precede the smaller. For example, 2.35 p.m. on 31 August, 1995 is:

II Verbs

!"# yc jio jio wo nián ba (lit. 1995 year 8 month !"# yuè sanshí yc hào xiàwo 31 day afternoon !"# likng dikn sanshí wo fbn 2 hour 35 minute)
Note 1: Lengthy expressions of time and date are more likely to be placed at the beginning of a sentence before the subject. Note 2: The descending order of scale for these time expressions is similar to that for location expressions, e.g. addresses (see Chapter 1).


Point-of-time expressions incorporating verbal phrases

More complex point-of-time expressions in the form of verb phrases also go before the main verb. In these phrases the verb is followed by . . . . . . de shíhou or shí [when/while], ymhòu or zhchòu [after], or ymqián or =zhcqián [before]: ! Wnmen shàngkè )3 (de) shí(hou), . . . lkoshc shud . . . ! Wn xià le bAn ! yMhòu jiù qù !5 tc zúqiú le. ! Huí jiA yMqián !5 ta lái zhko wn. (lit. we have-class p time, teacher say) When we were in class, the teacher said . . . (lit. I ynish asp work-shift after immediately go kick football p) After I came off work, I went to play football. (lit. return home before she come look-for me) Before she went home, she came to see me.

( )


The last two examples illustrate that if the time phrase and the main verb have the same subject, the subject may go before either verb.
Note 1: The adverb jiù [then] is regularly found in the second clause of such sentences. It is placed immediately before the verb (and after the subject, if there is one). (See Chapter 24.) Note 2: These time expressions may be preceded by the preposition zài [in/during]. Expressions with ( ) ( ) (de) shí(hou) may also be linked with the preposition dang [when] if a subject is present: !" zài xmzko ymqián before having a bath while I was getting up


!( ) ( ) dAng wN qmchuáng (de) shí(hou) NOT: * ( ) dAng qmchuáng (de) ( ) shí(hou)

Note 3: Other complex point-of-time expressions are: !"#$ !"#$ !"# !5 zài Zhdngguó dòuliú qC jiAn while staying in China

Verbs and time

zài Ycngguó fkngwèn qC jiAn while visiting England Wn zài ZhDngguó dòuliú qCjiAn bìng le. I fell ill during my stay in China.


Imprecise points of time

Adverbs expressing imprecise points of time are generally placed after the subject: !"#5 Ta yMjing bìyè le. !" 5 !5 One cannot say: * * !"#5 YMjing ta bìyè le. Jiùhunchb lìkè dào le. Ta xiAn hb tang. He has already graduated. The yre engine arrived at once. She drank the soup Yrst.

!"#$5 Lìkè jiùhunchb dào le.
= mkshàng ‘immediately’; ( ) cóng(lái) bù ‘never’; I]ll be with you immediately. He]s always bringing up this matter. I have never smoked. He]s been helping me all along.

Note 1: Common adverbs of this kind include: =chángcháng ‘often’; / znng/lko ‘always’; ( ) yczhí (ddu) ‘all along’. !"5 ! 5 !"#5 ! !5 Wn mKshàng jiù lái. Ta lKo tí qm zhèi huí shì. Wn cónglái bù chduyan. Ta yCzhí dDu zài bangzhù wn.

Note 2: There are however some adverbs which can occur both before and after the subject: / jianglái/ymhòu ‘in future’; xiànzài ‘now’; guòqù ‘in the past’; qmche ‘at yrst’; =shnuxian ‘yrst of all’; ymqián ‘formerly’; hòulái ‘later/afterwards’; D jibzhe ‘next’; zuìhòu ‘ynally/ in the end’; zuìjìn ‘lately’; jìnlái ‘recently/lately’. !"#5 Wn xiànzài qù yínháng. I]m going to the bank now. At Yrst I didn]t believe him.

!"#$5 QMchE wn bù xiangxìn ta.


II Verbs

! !"5 !"#5 !"#9

Wn hòulái qù Àodàlìyà le. Zuìhòu ta tóngyì le. Nm jìnlái zlnme yàng?

I went to Australia later on. She Ynally agreed [to it]. How have you been lately?


Indefinite points of time

Phrases indicating indeYnite points of time (often with ynu) are invariably placed at the beginning of a sentence, as they set the time for a narrative: !"#5 YC tiAn wn qù ta jia. One day I went to his place. !" 5 YNu yC nián nàr xià dà xul. One year that place had a heavy snowfall.

Note: Many expressions of this type can be formulated. For example, ( ) = (ynu) yc gè xcngqc tian ‘one Sunday’; ( ) !"#$= (ynu) yc gè xcngqc tian wknshang ‘one Sunday evening’. ( ) !"5 ! YNu (yC ) gè xCngqC tiAn wnmen qù pá shan. One Sunday we went mountain-climbing.


Frequency expressions with mei ˇ

Frequency expressions with mli [every] may be placed before or after the subject. They are usually followed by the adverb ddu [all]: ! !5 ! !5 Wn mLi tiAn dDu duànliàn shbntm. Ta mLi cì dDu mkshàng huí xìn. (lit. I every day all temper body) I do physical exercises/I work out every day. (lit. He every time all immediately reply-to letter) He replies immediately to letters every time. (lit. every mw Saturday morning I all go market buy things) I go shopping in the market every Saturday morning.


!" MLi (gè) xCngqC !" liù zKoshang wn !"5 dDu qù shìchkng mki ddngxi.

which identify the locus of an action or event. See 11. (lit.5. always precede the verb. Place and time have to be made clear before the verb is expressed to establish the context for the action. 11 11. just-now leave asp one mw train) A train left just now. (lit.1 Time expressions in emergence or disappearance sentences Time expressions can also introduce emergence or disappearance sentences in which the verb is marked by the aspect marker le: GAnggAng znule yc liàng hunchb. 81 .7. (lit. Note: Location phrases occur in a similar construction. Xià xCngqC liù yl yNu lánqiú/ yomáoqiú bmsài ma? MíngtiAn méi(yNu) gdnggòng qìchb dào chéng li qù.7 Time expressions in existence sentences Verbs and location Time expressions may also introduce existence sentences with ynu [there is/are] in the pattern: time expression + ynu + (qualiyer) + noun. 10. tomorrow there-isn]t public car to town-in go) There aren]t any buses to town tomorrow. !5 ! MKshàng láile yc !"5 liàng jiùhùchb. immediately come asp one mw ambulance) An ambulance arrived immediately. next Saturday also there-is basketball/badminton contest p) Is there a basketball/badminton match next Saturday too? (lit.6. parallel English sentences usually begin with [there is/are]. Note: For similar use of location phrases. location phrases. ( ) 5 ! !/ 9 ( ) ! !5 ( ) JCn(tiAn) wKn(shang) yNu yc gè ycnyuèhuì. see 11. In contrast. (lit.1 Verbs and location Location expressions Like the time expressions described in Chapter 10.10. today evening there-is one mw concert) There will be a concert this evening.

II Verbs !" 5 Tamen zài XC}An gdngzuò. they yesterday at library study) They were studying at the library yesterday. As illustrated in the above examples. at] with a simple location pronoun ( zhèr [here]. the time phrase normally precedes the location phrase. location phrases may take the form of zài [in.2 Zài and postpositional phrases Another. túshegukn [library]). perhaps more common form of location phrase uses zài with what we will call a postpositional phrase. !"#5 Qmng zài zhèr dlng wn. it may come right at the beginning of the sentence. below in front of Postpositional phrase wezi li chéng wài zhudzi shang shù xià mén qián in the room outside the town on the table under the tree in front of the door 82 . over under. Postposition li wài shang xià qián in(side) out(side) on. above. Where a location phrase and a time phrase are both present. (lit. Qùnián wn zài !"#5 XiAnggKng zuò shbngyi. They are working in Xi}an. 11. last-year I at Hong Kong do business) Last year I was doing business in Hong Kong. nàr [there] or nkr [where]) or with a place name or location noun E Xi]an. Please wait for me here. before the subject: !" !"5 Tamen zuótiAn zài túshEguKn xuéxí. = Xianggkng [Hong Kong]. (lit. that is. which consists of a noun followed by a postposition.

!" yàoshi zài mén shang (lit. . xià.1 Disyllabic postpositions Li. above. shang.=-tou to form disyllabic postpositions. 11. qián and hòu take the sufyxes . newspaperon) [in the newspaper]. [among]. over under. =bào shang (lit. sìzhdu [around]. door to].g.2. -miàn/-mian lmmiàn wàimiàn shàngmian xiàmian qiánmian hòumian -bian lmbian wàibian shàngbian xiàbian qiánbian hòubian -tou lmtou wàitou shàngtou xiàtou qiántou hòutou in(side) out(side) on. etc. below in front (of) at the back (of) Note: Other disyllabic postpositions with - -miàn or - -bian are: 83 . wài. e.Postposition hòu L L bian/ pángbian at the back of/behind by the side of Postpositional phrase shaf a hòu lù biAn dàtcng zhDngjiAn xuéxiào duìmiàn lvshc nàr behind the sofa by the side of the road in the middle of the hall opposite the school at the lawyer]s place = zhcjian gébì [next Verbs and location zhdng/ in the zhdngjian middle of duìmiàn L nàr/ zhèr opposite At a place (where sb or sth is) Note 1: Other postpositions include: [between]. Note 2: Inevitably there are some idiomatic differences between Chinese postpositions and English prepositions. dmxia [underneath].=-miàn/-mian. fùjìn [nearby]. !" tàiyáng xià sànbù (lit. key be-at door-on) [the key is in the door]. sun under stroll) [stroll in the sun].=-bian/-bian or more colloquially .

and the above examples could be reformulated as: chuang qián mén hòu / lù páng (written)/lù bian (colloq.) yuán zhdng (written) The general rule to remember is that a disyllabic noun can be followed by either a disyllabic or monosyllabic postposition whereas a monosyllabic noun is only followed by a monosyllabic postposition. e.: !/ !/ !/ /* !/ /* 84 / péngyou zhc jian/ péngyou jian hkitan shàngmian/ hkitan shàng wezi lmmiàn/wezi lm/ welm/we lmmiàn amongst/between friends on the beach in the room / dàhki shàngmian/ on the sea dàhki shàng/hki shàng/ hki shàngmian .g.II Verbs / / / / / / zunmiàn/zunbian yòumiàn/yòubian ddngmiàn/ddngbian nánmiàn/nánbian xcmiàn/xcbian blimiàn/blibian to the left (of) to the right (of) to the east (of) to the south (of) to the west (of) to the north (of) Such disyllabic postpositions usually follow disyllabic nouns to maintain a matching rhythm: !/ !/ ! ! chuanghu qiánmian/ qiánbian dàmén hòumian/ hòubian mklù pángbian huayuán zhdngjian in front of the window behind the door/gate by the side of the road in the middle of the garden There is also a tendency to match monosyllabic elements.

Ta zài Zhdngguó li. the postposition =li [in] is optional: 85 . !"#5 Wn péngyou zài Blijcng. !"5 Shefáng zài zhdngjian. zài Blijcng li.2.2 Disyllabic postpositions as location pronouns Disyllabic postpositions can also act as location pronouns and form location phrases with zài: zài hòubian zài lmtou zài shàngmian at the back inside on top Verbs and location 11. rather than objects. My home is near Hyde Park. !" !5 Wn jia zài Hkidé gdngyuán fùjìn. The book is on the bookshelf. With nouns indicating location. !"5 Ta zài huayuán li. Zuì jìn de yóutnng zài nkr? Háizi ddu zài wàitou. Postpositions should not be attached to place names: !5 NOT: * !"5 Ta zài Zhdngguó. She is in China. or a postpositional phrase: !"5 Cèsun zài èr lóu. Your seat is in the third row.11. She is in the garden. !5 She zài shejià shang. My friend is NOT: * !"#$5 Wn péngyou in Beijing.3 Simple location sentences Simple location sentences are formed by using the verb zài [to be in/at] followed by a location noun or pronoun. !" 5 !" 9 ! 5 Nm de zuòwèi zài dì san pái. The toilet is on the yrst zoor. The study is in the middle. Where is the nearest pillar-box? The children are all outside.

!" Tamen zài kètCng !5 li tcng ycnyuè. !! Nm zài dàxué xué !9 shénme kbmù? ! ! 5 5 Wn zài yínháng kai le yc gè zhànghù. elder-sister at outside takeout-to-dry clothes) My elder sister was hanging out clothes to dry (outside). !"#5 Wn zài túshegukn li. mother at market buy food) Mum is buying food at the market. she at grass-land on lie asp) She was lying on the grass. (For further discussion of zài and other similar prepositions. ! Mama zài shìchKng mki cài.4 Location phrases modifying main verbs As illustrated by the yrst set of simple sentences in 11. you at university study what subject) What subject are you studying at the university? (lit. 5 D5 !" Ta zài cKodì shang tkngzhe. ! Jiljie zài wàimiàn liàng ycfu. We were sunbathing on the beach.II Verbs or. 11. since the verb that comes at the end of a statement must have more than one syllable: . see Chapter 19 on coverbs.1. (lit. I at bank open asp one mw account) I have opened an account at the bank. He at garden in cut grass) He is cutting the grass in the garden. I was in the library. !"5 Wn zài túshegukn. (lit. Note: It must be made clear that zài has two functions: (1) location verb [to be in/at] and (2) a location preposition (coverb) [in]/[at] (see 11.) !" Ta zài huAyuán li gb cko. they at lounge in listen music) They listened to music in the lounge. (lit. 86 In the last example. zài functions as a preposition (or coverb) meaning [in] or [at]. tkng must have the aspect marker D zhe (which almost functions as a rhythm yller).4 below). we at beach on bask sun) !5 shang shài tàiyáng. (lit. (lit. (lit. in a location phrase used adverbially to modify the main verb of the sentence. 5 !" Wnmen zài hKitAn (lit.

Verbs and location NOT: * / / Note: The verb zhù [live/lodge] is the main exception to this rule. pine-tree under there-is one mw hare [or rabbit]) There is a hare under the pine tree.5 Location phrases in existence sentences Sentences expressing the existence of someone or something in a particular locality usually have a phrase indicating location plus the verb ynu [there is/are] as follows: phrase indicating location + ynu + (qualiyer) + noun(s). there is a contrast with English in which parallel sentences usually begin with [There is/are . the structure is only acceptable with verbs like tkng [lie]. (lit. Sdngshù dmxia yNu yc zhc tùzi. tíng [stop/park/ alight] jiàngluò [land/descend]. (lit. stage on only there-are two mw actor) There are only two actors on the stage. . Ta chàng/chc zài ckodì shang. However.. den [crouch]. . She rested/rolled/ sunned herself on the grass. 87 . Again. zhàn [stand]. This construction is similar to the time expression existence sentences discussed in 10. zuò [sit]./ !"#$/ 5 ! 5 Ta zài cKodì shang xiexi/dkgon/ shài tàiyáng. (For more about zài phrases see 13. She sang/ate on the grass. 11. She lay/sat/crouched/ stood on the grass.7. etc. She lay/sat/stood on the grass. mirror beside have one mw pot zower) There is a pot of zowers beside the mirror. Ta xiexi/dkgon/shài tàiyáng zài ckodì shang. where the action terminates on arrival at the location. (lit.]: !" !5 !" !5 !" !5 Jìngzi pángbian yNu yc pén huar. when the location phrase with zài comes at the end of the sentence.5): / * * / 5 / / !"#5 / / !"5 Ta tkng/zuò/den/zhàn zài ckodì shang. Ta zài cKodì shang tkng/zuò/zhàn. She rested/rolled/sunned herself on the grass. Wotái shang zhm yNu likng gè yknyuán.

Where is the toilet? The person/people (or. It would not be natural to say: * 5 Dòngwùyuán li yNu nèi tóu xióngmao. (lit. 88 Note: See also the last note under 6. [s/he]/[they]) is/are inside. theatre next-door be one mw exhibition-hall) Next door to the theatre is an exhibition hall. the noun after shì is of deynite reference: ! 5 Kètcng duìmiàn (lit. When the emphasis is on [deyning] what exists at a location. As illustrated by the above examples.4. colloquially. The function of shì in these sentences is more complex than that of ynu. the noun following always of indeynite reference. where there-is toilet) Where is there a toilet? (lit. (lit. When the emphasis is on [locating] where something is. ynu is 11. zoo in there-is that mw panda) There is that panda in the zoo.II Verbs 9 !" Zhèr fùjìn yNu !9 xmycdiàn ma? Nkr yNu cèsun? !5 Lmbian yNu rén. here nearby there-is laundry p) Is there a laundry near here? (lit. shì is followed by a noun of indeynite reference: ! 5 Jùchkng gébì shì yc gè zhknlkngukn.1 Shì in existence sentences The verb shì may also be used in existence sentences which start with a phrase indicating location.5. bedroom) Opposite the sittingroom is the bedroom. Note: We have already pointed out (see Chapter 1) that the subject of a verb tends to be of deynite reference. The last two examples could therefore be rephrased as: !"9 Cèsun zài nkr? !5 Rén zài lmbian. (lit. guest-hall opposite be shì wòshì. inside there-are people) There is somebody inside. .

these verbs indicate a [state resulting from an action]: D 5 Qiáng shang guàzhe yc fú huà.3. As in 8. square on (just) asp: in-theprocess-of hold handicraft exhibition) A handicraft exhibition is being held in the square. rùknuchù [entrance]) which themselves indicate some form of location are commonly used without a postposition. wall on hang asp one mw painting) There is a painting hanging on the wall. (lit. ( ) 5 89 .2 Zhe in existence sentences Like ynu and shì. Zhudzi shang fàngzhe likng bbi chá. gymnasium in (just) asp: in-theprocess-of conduct gymnastics competition) A gymnastics contest is going on in the gymnasium. zoor/ground on all be water) There is water all over the zoor/ ground.5. Fángzi li zhùzhe bù shko rén. (lit. Note: Some nouns (e. (lit. table on put asp two mw:cup tea) There are two cups of tea (placed) on the table. ) (zhèng)zài is used (lit. Gukngchkng shang (zhèng)zài jObàn gdngyìpmn zhknlkn. (lit. Dì shang quán shì shum. ice-box inside all be fruit) Inside the fridge there was nothing but fruit. (lit. If the action verb denotes persistent activity. ( instead of D zhe: ! ( ) !5 Tmyùgukn li (zhèng)zài jìnxíng tmcao bmsài. (lit.4.g. theatre entrance queue asp one mw:queue people) There was a line of people queuing at the entrance to the theatre.Shì can also be modiyed by ddu or quán [all] to mean that a location is ylled or covered with identiyed objects or people: ! !5 5 Bcngxiang lmbian dDu shì shumgun. Verbs and location 11. (lit. action verbs sufyxed with the aspect marker D zhe may be used in location-related existence sentences. house in live asp not few person) There are quite a lot of people living in the house. D 5 D 5 D ! 5 Xìyuàn rùknuchù páizhe yc duì rén.

7 Order of sequence of time and location phrases Where a location phrase and a time phrase occur in an existence or an emergence/disappearance sentence. duration and frequency on the other hand.1). 12 12. (lit. As observed above. yesterday evening town-in there-was one mw demonstration parade) (lit. discussed in 11. a phrase indicating location may be followed by a verb with the aspect marker le to express the emergence or disappearance of something or somebody at or from that location.1 Verbs: duration and frequency Duration expressions 90 Unlike deyned point-of-time expressions. (lit. 11. Chéng li zuótiAn ! wKnshang ynu !" yc gè shìwbi 5 yóuxíng. in a Chinese sentence. town in yesterday evening there-was one mw demonstration parade) There was a demonstration in (the) town yesterday evening. either phrase may come yrst.6 Le in emergence or disappearance sentences In the same way.1 in which the time expression must come yrst. or.) For instance: ! ZuótiAn wKnshang !" chéng li ynu yc gè !5 shìwbi yóuxíng. setting in time and space is established before the action of the verb is expressed.7. my house come asp very many guest) Many guests came to/turned up at my place. duration and frequency expressions usually come after the verb. 5 Note: Compare the similar structure for time expressions (10. (lit. library lost asp not few book) The library has lost quite a few books. Túshegukn diEle bù shko she. The pattern is: phrase indicating location + action verb + le + (qualiyer) + noun(s). For example: ! !5 Wn jia láile hln dud kèren. as . (This differs from the adverbial use of location and time phrases.II Verbs 11.

and numerals may therefore be placed immediately before it (e. I slept for eight hours. zhdngtóu [hour].1 Wn zài Ycngguó zhùle liKng nián. we talk asp very long) We talked for a long time. (lit. (lit. With xikoshí [hour] and xcngqc [week] the measure gè is optional. I at Britain live asp two year) I lived in Britain for two years. (lit. I sleep asp eight mw hour) xiKoshí/zhDngtóu. care must be taken to distinguish. (lit. Wnmen tánle hLn jiO. In some cases the time word requires a measure (e.g. yc nián [one year]. which take gè). (lit. Another more general duration expression is / ! hln jio/hln cháng shíjian [a long time]. sì tian [four days]). Note: Since numerals up to twelve are used with yuè to denote the calendar months (see Chapter 10 above). In other cases the time word is itself a measure word.g. Wn zhonbèi zài Ycngguó dai liù gè yuè. I prepare at Britain stay six mw month) I am preparing/ intend to stay in Britain for six months. I study asp four mw more month Chinese) I studied Chinese for more than four months (at one stage). I hit asp half mw hour badminton) I played badminton for half an hour.consequences of the verb.1. are delineated after the action of the verb has been described. yuè [month]. Duration expressions naturally take the form of a numeral followed by a time word. for example san yuè [March] and san gè yuè [three months]. Duration expressions and noun objects If the verb in the sentence has a noun object as well as a duration phrase. 91 !" Wn dkle bàn !"5 gè zhDngtóu yOmáoqiú. Verbs: duration and frequency ! !5 ! L 5 !" 5 5 12. The duration phrase may also be regarded as attributive and used with or without de: . lmbài [week]. / Wn shuìle bA gè (lit. the duration phrase is placed between the verb and the noun: !" !5 Wn xuéguo sì gè duD yuè ZhDngwén.

I wait asp him half mw more hour) I waited for him for over half an hour.2 Repetition of the verb in a noun-object-duration structure An alternative pattern when a noun object is present is to repeat the verb after the object and then place the duration phrase after the repeated verb: ! !5 ! ! 5 Wn xué Zhdngwén xuéle sì nián. (lit. (lit.3 Duration expressions and pronoun objects When there is a pronoun object. !" Wn míngtian !" xiàwo yào 5 jikng liKng gè zhDngtóu de kè. judge sentence thief sit one year prison) The judge sentenced the thief to one year in prison. ( ) 5 12.1. I study Chinese study asp four year) I studied Chinese for four years. 12. Fkguan pàn xikotdu zuò yC nián láo.1. (lit. piano teacher require me every day practise three mw hour de piano) The piano teacher told me to practise the piano three hours a day. four months (at one stage). This is the case whether the sentence is a simple or causative construction: ! !" !" 5 Gangqín lkoshc yaoqiú wn mlitian liàn sAn gè xiKoshí (de) qín. the duration phrase always follows the pronoun: !" Wn dlngle !5 tA bàn gè duD zhDngtóu. 92 . they chat chat asp one mw evening) They chatted the whole evening. In this construction the repeated verb is usually one of completed action with aspect marker le. Tamen liáotian liáole yC gè wKnshang. (lit. I tomorrow afternoon will talk two mw hour p lesson) I am going to lecture for two hours tomorrow afternoon.II Verbs !" Wn xuéguo (lit. (lit. (lit. I study asp four mw month !"5 sì gè duD yuè de p Chinese) I studied Chinese for Zhdngwén.

1. 93 . Wn zhèi sAn nián lái ddu méi jiànguo wnde biko dì. biko mèi. (lit.1): !" ! 5 ( Lkoshc jiao le wn (lit. Duration expressions of this type are often followed by / li/nèi [within (the last) . táng dì.12.1. (lit. it then takes on deynite reference and is placed. Verbs: duration and frequency ( ) !" Ta qiàn le ) 5 yínháng bàn nián (de) zhài. (lit. she owe asp bank half year de debt) She was in debt to the bank for six months. where both direct and indirect objects are present. (lit. biko jil. On the mother]s side they are biko gb. Wn Shèngdànjié yMlái ddu méi shàngguo ban. I three mw month within see asp yve times ylm) I have been to the cinema yve times in the past three months.1. 12.] or (ym)lái [since . I half year not go see ylm p) I have not been to see a ylm for the last six months. . like other family relationships. teacher teach asp me two mw likng gè xikoshí hour de Chinese) The teacher (de) zhdngwén. and on the father]s side =táng gb. biko dì. . I Christmas so-far all not go-on asp shift) I have not been back to work ever since Christmas. like other time expressions. etc. before the verb. I one year so-far all at laboratory work) I have been working in the laboratory for the whole of the past year. Wn yC nián (yM)lái ddu zài shíyànshì gdngzuò. the duration phrase comes after the indirect object and precedes the direct object as an attributive (see 12. (lit. I this three year within all not see asp my cousin) I haven]t seen my cousin for the last three years. (lit.4 Duration expressions in dative construction In a dative construction. taught me two hours of Chinese. are very precise.5 Duration expressions and definite reference If the duration expression alludes to a period of time in the past within which something has or has not happened. Wn bàn nián méi qù kàn diànymng le. 5 ( ) 5 ! ! 5 ! ! 5 ! Note: In Chinese. . terms for cousins. .]: ! / !5 Wn sAn gè yuè nèi/li kànle wo cì diànymng.

II Verbs 12. . We]ll rest for a while. We danced for a while. brief duration phrases. wash hands wash one]s hands sweep the zoor swept the zoor (briezy) (2) With yc xià or !"5 Ràng wn kàn yC xià. 94 !"#$5 Wn kànle yC huìr she. Where the verb has an object. sometimes after yc [one]. like other duration phrases. or by using phrases like yc xià [a moment] or yc huìr [a short while] after the verb: (1) Repetition of verbs: (a) Monosyllabic verbs: kànkàn kàn yc kàn kànle kàn (b) have a look have a look had a look yc or le): Disyllabic verbs (cannot be used with jièshào jièshào NOT: * * give a brief introduction jièshào yc jièshào give a brief introduction jièshàole jièshào gave a brief introduction (c) Verb object constructions (only the verb is repeated): xm shnu xm (yc) xm shnu sko dì skole sko dì NOT: * or * xm shnu xm shnu sko dì sko dì yc huìr: Let me have a look. I read for a while.2 Brief duration Brief duration can be conveyed by repeating the verb. !"#$5 Zànmen xiExi yC huìr. come before the object: !"#$5 Wnmen tiàole yC xià wo.

! 5 Wnmen jiànguo ta liKng huí. [I met him once. the frequency phrase is generally placed between the verb and the object.3 Frequency expressions Frequency phrases. like duration phrases. !"5 Wn qùguo jM tàng. ! 5 Wnmen (lit. huí [to and fro]. Wn tCle ta yC jiKo. We have met him/her twice. (lit.2. While cì simply indicates an occurrence. We met once. !"5 Wn niànle yC biàn. coach look asp everybody one eye) The coach cast a glance at everybody.] 12. He hit asp me one yst) He dealt me a blow. come after the verb. biàn. !5 !5 Wn kànguo liKng cì gbjù. Note: The last example may be reformulated as a dative construction: 5 Wn jiànguo ta yc miàn. 95 . (lit. Verbs: duration and frequency ! Jiàoliàn kànle !5 dàjia yC yKn. I see asp two times opera) I have been twice to see an opera. They]ve come/been here three times.12. (lit. Ta zuòguo sAn tàng fbijc. (lit. I read [it] through once (from beginning to end). and tàng [back and forth from a place]: 5 Tamen láiguo sAn cì. we see asp one face) jiànguo yC miàn. often part of the body. I kick asp him one foot) I gave him a kick. huí and tàng. They consist of a numeral combined with one of a number of common frequency measure words such as cì. which follows the indirect object in a dative construction: ! 5 ! 5 Ta dKle wn yC quán. If the verb has a noun object. He sit asp three trip (air)plane) He has been on a plane three times.1 Brief duration and instrumental objects Brief duration may also be expressed by employing an instrumental object. biàn implies [from beginning to end]. I have been [there] several times. (lit.

the frequency phrase may be placed either between the verb and the location object or after the location object: !"#$5 Wn qùle liKng tàng Blijcng. I went to !"#$5 Wn qùle Blijcng liKng tàng. my father took me on a trip to Europe. (lit. Father take me go asp one-trip Europe/father take me go asp Europe one-trip) On one occasion. she help asp me one-time busy) She helped me once. She has been to my place once. however. I looked for/visited NOT: * !"#5 Wn zhkoguo yC cì ta.1 Verbs and complements Complements 96 As we have seen. !"#$5 Ta láiguo wn jia yC cì. 13 13.II Verbs If the object is a location phrase. him once. (dative) Bàba dài wn qùle yc tàng iuzhdu. or. As with duration phrases. Beijing twice. (causative) Skosao quàn wn zhko ta yc cì.g. The above-mentioned rules regarding the position of the frequency phrase in relation to noun or pronoun objects always apply whatever the construction: ! 5 ! !"/ ! !"5 !5 Ta bangguo wn yc cì máng. Chinese verbs are seldom used without some form of marker or attachment. Complements in Chinese are those elements of a sentence which come after the verb (apart from the object) and which either describe the action of the verb or express its result. by time and location expressions) or complemented in some way. !"#$5 Ta láiguo yC cì wn jia. or. (causative) (lit. the frequency phrase is placed after the pronoun: !"#5 Wn zhkoguo ta yC cì. if the object is a pronoun. (lit. sister-in-law persuade me look for him one-time) My sister-in-law persuaded me to at least go and see him once. They are regularly modiyed (e. .

).2 Complements of result Complements of result are adjectives or verbs which follow immediately after the main verb. you listen understand asp p) Did you understand (what was said)? 9 97 . !" Ta méi tCng 5 qCngchO wnde huà. those indicating result. (lit. (lit. manner.A number of complements which occur with action verbs have already been encountered. He make dirty asp her skirt) He has dirtied her skirt. He repair good asp that mw motorbike) He has repaired that motorbike. some of the adjectival ones are disyllabic (e. listenwrong) and kàn cuò [to misread] (lit. ganjìng [clean]. for example. look-see) and tcng jiàn [to hear] (lit. (lit. as in tcng cuò [to mishear] (lit. listen-apprehend). (1) Adjectives: !5 Nm cAi cuò le. look-wrong). aspect markers.g. Verbs and complements 13. either what it achieves or what happens unintentionally. I already do ynish asp my homework/coursework) I have already done my homework. ! !5 Ta nòng zAng le tade qúnzi. (lit. Nm tCng dNng le ma? (lit. the verb complement jiàn [to see] implies successful seeing or apprehension. location/ destination and degree. qcngchu [clear]. direction indicators and duration/frequency markers. potential. while the adjective complement =cuò [wrong] indicates a mistaken result. Here we introduce a further range of complements. as in kàn jiàn [to see] (lit. He not listen clear my words) He didn]t hear clearly what I said. etc. (lit. (2) Verbs: !" Wn ymjing zuò wán le 5 wnde zuòyè. They indicate the direct result of an action. Although most complements of result are monosyllabic. For example. you guess wrong p) You have guessed wrong. !" Ta xiE hKo !5 le nèi liàng mótudchb.

II Verbs ! 5 !" ! !5 Nm liù dikn zhdng jiào xMng wn. 98 attain. I have eaten my yll/I]m full. Note: The most common complements of result. !5Wn chC bKo le. I broke my glasses. (lit. are: (a) Adjectives huài =duì bko zuì bad right full (with eating) drunk !"#$%&'(5Zhèi gè háizi nòng huài le wnde diànnko. !5 Nm cAi duì le. ! "#$5 achieve Ta zhKo dào le tade qiánbao. apart from the above. He hit-broken-in-two asp my speech) He interrupted my speech. . (purpose) She]s found her purse/wallet. !"#$5Wnde péngyou hB zuì le. (lit. (lit. people p life level raise-high p) The people]s living standards have improved. Many verb-and-complement expressions in fact are established terms in the language: ! 5 ! !5 Rénmín de shbnghuó shumpíng tígAo le. they pull separate asp two mw asp yght p person) They pulled apart two people who were yghting. Ta dKduàn le wnde fayán. My friend is/was drunk. Tamen lA kAi le likng gè zhèngzài dkjià de rén. (lit. (b) Verbs pò dào break !"#5Wn dK pò le yknjìng. You guessed right. you six o]clock call wake me) Wake me up at six.

) (lit. Nm zhàn de wLn ma? (lit. !"#$5Jmngchá zhuA zhù le xikotdu. etc. that is that the outcome is to some extent dependent on external circumstances beyond the speaker]s control. has been ill.) (1) Adjectival potential complements: 5 Ta chC bù bKo. Verbs and complements dko zhù fall over stop. which is a distinctive feature of Chinese. He eat not full) He couldn]t eat his yll. you stand can stable p) Can you stand up (without falling)? (i. see 15. The policeman (has) caught the thief.) 99 . This is formed by placing de (positive) or bù (negative) between a verb and a complement of result. he is such a big eater.diào drop !"#$%&5 Ta gKi diào le nèi gè huài xíguàn. The potential complement. The athlete fell over. (because they were not too profound. somebody has had too much to drink. He]s dropped that bad habit. not strongly accented. etc.) (lit. make yrm 13.3 Potential complements Ability or inability to do something is regularly expressed by a potential complement. Try and remember this. She listen can understand my words) She could understand my words. etc. !"#5Yùndòngyuán shuAi dKo le. there wasn]t enough food to go round.e. (This contrasts with the use of the modal verb ( ) néng(gòu) [can]. (i.2 (5).e. (lit. !"5Jì zhù zhèi jiàn shì. this mw jeans wash can clean p) Can these jeans be washed (clean)? 9 ! 9 (2) Zhèi tiáo niúzkikù xM de gAnjìng ma? Verbal potential complements: ! 5 Ta tCng de dNng wnde huà. implies that the result of the action can (or cannot) be achieved or happen.

the weather is too bad. etc. the words/characters are too small. etc. etc.) 5 Wnmen (lit. has not been vacated yet. etc. (lit. too full.2 (lit.) (lit.e. (i. (lit.) Metaphorical meanings of potential complements We have seen in 9. Similar metaphorical usages are found with potential complement of direction: ! 5 100 ! 5 Zhèi gè lmtáng zuò de xià yc qian rén. too tired.) She yào 9 de huílái ma? 13.g. zat. I buy not up camera) I can]t afford a camera.) (lit.e.3 that direction indicators/complements may carry meanings beyond simply physical movement. into a zat.3.1 Potential complements using direction indicators Directional complements (see direction indicators discussed in 9. book get can come-back p) Can I/you get the books back? (i. etc. someone will or won]t return them. there are no more trains. I eat not down) I can]t eat any more. (i. we today move not into-go) We can]t jcntian bAn move in today (e. (lit. etc. (i. . etc.) (lit. this mw person rely de fast p) Is this person reliable? ! ! 5 Dàjia ddu kàn bù jiàn hbibkn shang de zì.3.e. the work isn]t ynished yet.e.II Verbs 5 Wn zNu bù liKo le. having already eaten too much. (i. I walk not move p) I can]t walk any further (i.e. the blackboard is too far away. Zhèi gè rén kào de zhù ma? 13. 5 ! 9 Wn zNu bù dòng le. (lit. leave not achievable) I can]t (possibly) leave. this mw auditorium sit can contain one thousand person) This hall can seat one thousand people. Wn mKi bù qM zhàoxiàngjc. the 5 bù jìnqù.).2) can also be used in the potential form: Wn chC bù xià le. everybody all look not see blackboard-on p words/characters) Nobody can see the words/ characters on the blackboard. etc.e.

5 Mama xiKng bù qM zhèi jiàn shì.e.e. The adjectival phrase in a complement of manner describes the way in which an action is seen to be carried out. ! Wn jcntian qm 5 de zko de duD. I today get-up p early much-more) I got up much earlier today.4. 101 ! Gbynngduì !5 chàng de hko jí le. soldiers stand p very straight) The soldiers stood very straight. etc.1 for further comment on this point. (i. (i.) (lit.6 below): ! 5 ! / 5 Ta shud de bù tài qcngchu. (lit.) Verbs and complements 5 13. her memory lets her down. Nèi pm mk pko de bMjiào/ zuì kuài. (lit. Ta shuD bù xiàqù le.1 Modification of complement of manner In the complement of manner. chorus/choir sing p good extreme p) The chorus/choir sang extremely well. she speak p not too clear) She did not put it too clearly. etc. being shouted down. . choked by emotion. that mw horse run p comparatively/most fast) That horse ran faster [than the others]/the fastest [of all]. (lit. Zhànshìmen !5 zhàn de hLn zhí. 13. (This contrasts with adverbial modiyers which emphasise more the intention or demeanour of the initiator of the action – see 14.4 Complements of manner and of consequential state The complements of manner and of consequential state involve placing de after a verbal or adjectival predicate followed by either an adjectival phrase (normally indicating manner) or a verbal phrase or clause (usually indicating consequential state). It depicts an observed situation which arises from an action or an ongoing state but which is not necessarily an intended outcome. (lit. she speak not continue p) She can]t carry on talking any more. (lit. having a sore throat. (lit. the adjective in the adjectival phrase must be either adverbially modiyed or followed by a degree complement (see 13. it happened a long time ago. mother think not up this mw matter) Mum can]t recall this matter.) The complement of consequential state can follow either an adjectival or a verbal predicate.

(lit. He smile/laugh p mouth all/also close not together p) He grinned broadly. the preposition or coverb = lián [even] may precede the subject in the clause. He walk p leg all/also weak p) He walked till his legs were very weak. the verb is repeated after the object and then followed by the complement: . In addition. 13. (lit. she run p non-stop pant) She ran till she was out of breath. Ta xiào de zuM dDu/yL hé bù lNng le.2 Complement of consequential state The complement of consequential state is either a verbal phrase or a clause: (1) Verbal phrase: 5 5 (2) Clause: / 5 / 5 Ta znu de jiKo dDu/yL ruKn le.3 Complements of manner or consequential state with a ‘verb + object’ verb 102 When a complement of manner or consequential state occurs with a [verb + object] verb.4. For instance. that mw girl dress-up p very beautiful) That young girl is dressed up very beautifully. (lit. Note: The last two examples illustrate that with some verbs the manner complement borders on expressing consequential state. I tired-and-sleepy p eye both also / yKnjing dDu/yL open not separate p) I was so sleepy !5 zhBng bù kAi le. Wn kùn de (lit.II Verbs ! ! 5 Nèi gè geniang dkbàn de hLn piàoliang. (lit. the second example above may be rewritten as: !"#$%&'5 TA xiào de lián zuM dDu hé bù lNng le. 13. she cold p shiver p) She was so cold that she began to shiver.4. Note: For emphasis these complemental clauses often make use of the adverbs / ddu/yl [all]/[also]. Ta pko de zhí chuKnqì. (lit. that my eyes refused to open. Ta llng de fAdNu le.

I examine p not-have he so good) I did not do as well as he did in the examination. I not-have he examine p so good) Zhèi pm mk gBn ! nèi pM mK pko !"5 de ycyàng kuài. ( 5 ) Wn méi(yNu) tA kko de nàme hko. equivalence. Wn kko de méi(yNu) tA nàme hko. ( ) 5 or. this mw horse run p and de gBn nèi pM that mw horse same fast) This mK ycyàng kuài. in 7. (lit. [ gbn + (pro)noun] or [ ( ) méi(ynu) + (pro)noun] phrase located either before the repeated verb or before the adjective in the complement: 103 . (lit. the same rule applies. (lit. 13. or before the adjective in the complement: Wn tiào de bM tA gao. (lit. she dance-dances dance p very well) She danced very well. (lit.2. Wn bM tA tiào de gao.5 5 ! 5 13. I run-step run p whole-body all hot p) I ran (so much) that I was hot all over.3). 5 !" ! 5 or. Verbs and complements Adjectival complements of manner in comparisons Adjectival complements of manner may express comparison (note the general discussion of comparison. horse runs as fast as that one.4 Ta tiàowo tiào de hLn hKo. Ta dKzì dK de hLn kuài.. I compare he jump p high) 5 or.5 Complement-of-manner comparison with a ‘verb + object’ verb Where the complement-of-manner comparison occurs with a [verb + object] verb. with the [ bm + (pro)noun]. [ gbn + (pro)noun] and [ ( ) méi(ynu) + (pro)noun] expressions are placed either before the main verb.2 and 7. Zhèi pm mk pko (lit. etc. I jump p compare he high) I jump higher than he does. Wn pKobù pKo de húnshBn dDu rè le.4. he type-words type p very quick) He types very fast. In such complements the [ bm + (pro)noun]. (lit.4. this mw horse and that mw horse run p same fast) (lit. (lit.

! !5 ! !"5 ( ! ) !5 ! ) !5 Ta chànggb chàng de bM wN hkotcng. one must get to the library before one can settle down to study there. Ta chànggb bM wN chàng de hkotcng. ( Note: The [ bm + (pro)noun] and other comparative phrases cannot precede the yrst verb: e. car stop at garage) The car was parked at the garage.e.II Verbs or. s/he sing-songs sing p compare me good-to-hear) She sings better than I do. * !"!#$%5TA bM wN chànggB chàng de hKotCng. I speak Chinese speak p not-have he (so) zuent) I don]t speak Chinese as zuently as he does.g. I speak Chinese not-have s/he speak p (so) zuent) or. In contrast. the location/destination phrase as complement indicates where the subject ynishes up after the action has taken place. Mama huí dào jiA li. (lit. mother return to home in) Mother came home. Qìchb tíng zài chBfáng. . 104 The location phrase as an adverbial placed before the verb indicates where the subject was before the action of the verb took place. Wn shud Zhdngwén méi(yNu) tA shud de nàme liúlì. (lit. i. (lit. s/he sing-songs compare me sing p good-to-hear) (lit. (lit. Wn shud Zhdngwén shud de méi(yNu) tA nàme liúlì. (lit.5 Complement of location or destination Complements of location/destination occur with motion verbs and indicate the location where the subject ends up through the action of the verb. 13. (lit. (lit. he study at library) because xuéxí [study] does not express any spatial motion. It would be more natural to use an adverbial modiyer before the verb: !" 5 Ta zài túshEguKn xuéxí. 5 5 It would not be normal to say: * ! 5 Ta xuéxí zài túshEguKn. he at library study) He studied at the library.

(lit.e.Compare the following two sentences: Ta znu dào gDngyuán qù. she walk to park go) She went to the park [on foot]. Ta dào gDngyuán qù znuznu.) (lit. gòu [enough]. etc. tài [too].2.). (i.6 Degree complements Degree complements follow and intensify adjectives. xiangdang [rather].e.g.1 (e. she got to the park yrst and then took a walk there. hln [very].terribly terribly hungry terribly terribly hot de bùdeliko exceedingly huài de bùdeliko exceedingly bad de + adjective/verb expressions: ! ! de cìykn liàng de cìykn de cì]lr xikng de cì]lr eye-dazzling dazzlingly bright ear-piercing ear-piercingly loud 105 . she get-to park go walk-walk) She went for a walk in the park. she set out with the park as her destination.) 5 ! 5 Verbs and complements 13. ynu diknr [a bit]. (i. They are generally stronger in meaning than the degree adverbs and expressions introduced in 6. The most common degree complements are: (1) (2) de hln llng de hln de dud hko de dud dud le guì dud le ! (4) (5) (6) ! (7) ! (8) other jí le gaoxìng jí le tòu le shc tòu le sm le è sm le de yàomìng rè de yàomìng very very cold much much much much more better more more expensive (3) extremely extremely happy thoroughly wet through extremely.

while the complement is more concerned with the manner and result of the verb as observed by a third party. consequential state and degree complements is different from the attributive de we have met earlier. etc. Compare: Adverbial !"D5 Ta hLn kuài de pkozhe. he run p very fast) He ran very fast. Ta yúkuài de xiàole xiào..4) is that the adverbial is concerned mainly with the [demeanour]. (i. (lit. she speedy p run across) She came over swiftly. he listen p extremely enchanted) He listened with great fascination. The character for the de which appears in Chapter 14 in adverbial modiyers is different again. usually placed immediately before the verb or sometimes at the beginning of a sentence. manner. They fall into three main categories: background. The difference between an adverbial of manner and a complement of manner (see 13. (lit. (lit. which give additional information concerning the action or state expressed in the verb. he extremely enchanted p listen asp) He listened with great fascination. Complement !"5 Ta pko de hLn kuài. normally two-syllable. as could be observed) 106 . here the focus is on adverbial modiyers of manner and attitude. (i. We have already discussed background indicators such as time and location expressions (see Chapters 10 and 11). 14 Verbs and adverbials Adverbial modiYers are words or expressions. [intention].II Verbs Note: de as used throughout this chapter in potential. (lit. (lit. he very quick p run asp) He ran very fast.1 Adverbials of manner Adverbials of manner consist of adjectives. followed by the particle de: ! 5 ! 5 Ta xùnsù de pko guòlái. 14. manner and attitude indicators.e. as apparent to an onlooker) !"#$5 Ta tcng de shífBn chEshén.e. (lit. (i.e. He was intent on running fast) !"#$D5 Ta shífBn chEshén de tcngzhe. she happy p smile asp smile) She smiled happily. of the subject.

!"#$%5 Tcanqì jiànjiàn de nuknhuo qmlái. he very quick p turn around body come) He quickly turned round. (lit. she quiet-quiet p sit p) She sat (there) quietly. ! !5 Ta hLn kuài de zhukn guò shbn lái. In the following examples zhàn is marked by qmlái and xià by D zhe. She stole a glance at me. . 107 D5 . the verb preceded by an adverbial modiyer usually has to be marked in some way. Xul fBnfBnyángyáng de xiàzhe. The weather gradually got warmer. snow hard-and-fast p fall asp) The snow came down thick and fast.1. !!" 5 ! Wn péngyou mànmàn de zhàn qMlái.14. !"#$%5 Ta tDutDu de kànle wn yc ykn. .g. She looked at me silently. !D 5 Ta mòmò de qiáozhe wn. (lit. . He told me quietly that .1. Note: Some disyllabic repetitions are established adverbial expressions and do not derive from monosyllabic adjectives: quietly qiaoqiao de furtively tdutdu de silently mòmò de gradually jiànjiàn de !"#5 Ta qiAoqiAo de gàosù wò . 14. (lit. my friend slow-slow p stand up) My friend stood up slowly. e.2 Adverbials of manner with marked verbs As in the above sentences illustrating adverbials of manner.1 Monosyllabic adjectives as adverbials of manner A monosyllabic adjective must either be repeated or made disyllabic by the addition of a degree adverb to become an adverbial of manner: D5 Verbs and adverbials Ta jìngjìng de zuòzhe. by a direction indicator or an aspect marker. . (lit.

(lit. slow-slow come) Take it easy! Monosyllabic adverbial modifiers without de de occur in certain estab- Monosyllabic adverbial modiyers without lished expressions and imperatives: màn znu kuài qmlái duD xiè duD bkozhòng 14. bee in zower-cluster middle onom p zy asp) The bees were humming amongst the zowers. and the monosyllabic adverbial usually either reduplicated or extended by words such as diknr or =xib [a bit]/[a little].II Verbs 14. good-good sleep) Go to sleep nicely! (parent to a child) (lit. 108 D5 . much take-care (a good wish at parting) Particular types of adverbials of manner Adverbials of manner are also formed from some particular types of phrase: (1) Onomatopoeic coinages: D5 Fbng hEhE de chuczhe. slow go (a polite expression when seeing guests off) lit. quick a-bit come) Come here quickly! (lit.1. HKohKo shuì! Mànmàn lái! (lit. (lit. quick get-up (waking somebody in the morning) lit.1. De is generally omitted.3 Adverbials of manner with unmarked verbs Adverbial modiyers may occur with unmarked verbs in expressions such as imperatives.1. !8 !5 8 8 14. !" Mìfbng zài huacóng zhdng wBng wBng de fbizhe. much thank (an expression of gratitude) lit.4 Kuài diKnr lái! ZKo xiB huílái.5 take care up you get many thanks look after yourself lit. (lit. early a-little return-come) Come back a little earlier. wind onom p blow asp) The wind was howling.

she smile-phon p nod asp nod head) She nodded with a smile. !5 ! ! D5 14. (lit. (lit. ! Ta xiàomCmC de 5 diknle dikn tóu. she of-course not agree) She naturally disagreed. They occur either immediately after the subject or. she one mw character one mw character p write asp) She is writing [it] down character by character. 5 ! Ta xìngchDngchDng de znu jìnlái. he spirit-phon p walk in) He entered in high spirits. at the beginning of the sentence: Ta dAngrán bù tóngyì. (lit. 109 5 . (lit. Ta yC gè zì yC gè zì de xilzhe. verb or noun to extend its descriptive quality through an association of sound and meaning: D5 Verbs and adverbials ! Ta lKnyAngyAng de tkngzhe. (lit. (lit. (lit.(2) Phonaesthetic expressions. I not-know-not-feel p sleep achieve p) I fell asleep without realising it. (4) Parallel constructions: Ta yC bù yC bù de xiàng qián znu qù. he lazy-phon p lie asp) He idly lay there. (3) Quadrisyllabic idioms: !" 5 Ta wúkL nàihé de snngle snng jian. she one step one step p towards front walk go) She went forward step by step. (lit. !" Wn qíng bù ( ) zì jìn de tànle 5 (yc) knu qì. in which a repeated syllable comes after an adjective. if they are phrases.2 Attitudinal adverbial expressions Attitudinal adverbial expressions are words or idioms used by the speaker to bring a tone of judgement or evaluation to the sentence. she without-able-do-what p shrug asp shrug shoulder) She shrugged her shoulders helplessly. I feeling-not-self-forbid p sigh asp one mw:mouthful breath) I sighed despite myself. (lit. D ! Wn bù zhC 5 bù jué de shuì zháo le.

znngsuàn [after all]. ta shì duì de. but here we deal with their place in simple sentences. We arrived very early. while cái indicates that something ensued only at a particular time or under particular circumstances: ! 5 ! 5 ! ! 5 ! ! 110 5 Wnmen hLn (lit. they very late only-then come) They didn]t come till very late. hln bù xìng [unfortunately]. (lit. they last-year then begin learn Chinese p) They began to study Chinese (as early as) last year. They can probably understand Cantonese. Tamen hLn wKn cái lái. Since they refer forwards and/or backwards. we will call them referential adverbs. we very early then arrive p) zKo jiù dào le. klnéng [probably]. according-I-see. she is right. (lit. (lit. ylxo [perhaps].II Verbs !"5 Wn bùyCdìng qù. Some are best discussed in pairs: (1) Jiù [then] and cái [only then]: jiù emphasises a direct consequence. she is right p) As far as I can see. they last-year only-then begin learn Chinese p) They did not begin to study Chinese until last year. I not-certain go) I can]t say for sure that I will go. Tamen qùnián jiù kaishm xué Hànyo le. We]ve ynished writing [it] at last. klndìng [deynitely]. (lit. 14. ! 5 Wnmen zNngsuàn xil wán le. ! háowú yíwèn [no doubt]. ! zài wn kàn lái [as I see it]. (lit. ! duì wn lái shud [as far as I am concerned]. These referential adverbs also function as conjunctives linking clauses or predicates/comments in composite sentences (see Chapter 24). Tamen qùnián cái kaishm xué Hànyo. Note: Other common expressions of this type include: shènzhì [even]. 3 !5 YC wN kàn. !" Tamen yLxO tcng de !"5 dnng Gukngzhduhuà. .3 Referential adverbs There are a number of monosyllabic adverbs which are placed directly before the main verb and have an important linking function in the meaning of the sentence.

in contrast with follows in the sentence: 5 ! 5 Wn zhM qù XiAnggKng. (lit. object transposed to a pre-verbal position – see 18. (lit. ! 5 Nèi liKng gè diànyMng wn dDu bù xmhuan.g. here every-year winter all come-down-snow) It snows here every winter. Note 2: Biàn [then] may be used interchangeably with sense. since they almost certainly express a change in circumstances (see Chapter 16 for discussion of sentence le). with mli [every]). (or I]ll be right with you) (lit. (lit. However. a frequency expression (e. the tone is more reassuring. (lit. Xi]an and Shanghai. Zhèr mLi nián dDngtiAn dDu xià xul. Note: Le here is optional: without it.4). the subject. we only talk asp one time) We talked [about it] only once. It never relates to what follows it or follows the verb: ! DàjiA dDu qù !5 chc wofàn le. e. jiù in this Verbs and adverbials Jiù can also emphasise immediacy: ( )5 ( )5 Wn jiù lái (le). everybody all go eat lunch p) Everybody has gone for lunch. !4 Wnmen BLijCng. those two mw ylm I both not like) I don]t like either of those two ylms. I immediately come (p)) I]m coming. Wnmen zhM tánguo yC cì. generally refers to what (lit. as above. ddu. Xi]an. ! 5 ! 5 4 Tamen liKng gè rén dDu huí lái le. regularly end with le. the sentence sounds somewhat abrupt. Shanghai XC }An. they two mw people both back-come p) Both of them have come back.g. with it. (2) Ddu [all]/[both] always refers back to a preceding phrase.3 (9). 111 (3) Zhm [only]. Wn qùqù jiù huí lái (le). .Note 1: Sentences with jiù. (lit. (lit. we Beijing. particularly in the written language. Beijing. I only go Hong Kong) I]m only going to Hong Kong. I go-go immediately back-come (p)) I]ll be right back. ShànghKi all go asp) We]ve been to 5 dDu qùguo. a posed topic (i.e. le is not generally used with cái – see 16. (lit.

thief in-addition steal asp television-set) The thief also stole the television. lián [even] is used with ddu or yl in the pattern: subject + lián + noun or verb phrase + =ddu or yl + verb (or with [ lián + noun or verb phrase] preceding the subject): ! / 5 Ta lián shnuxiàng (lit. He even knows the prime minister. Lián yc fbn qián ta yL méi ynu. (lit. university additionally have Chinese-department) The university has a Chinese Department as well. (lit. (i. she also start-burn p) She has a fever too. he even move also not move) He did not so much as move. and is generally preferred when the sentence is negative: / 5 ! !5 Zhèi jiàn shì shéi dDu/yL zhcdao. this mw matter everybody also not know) Nobody knows this. (lit. he even prime-minister all/also know) 5 dDu/yL rènshi. even one cent money she also not have) She doesn]t (even) have a cent. I also not-have money) 5 méi (ynu) qián. 5 ! 5 Note 1: 5 5 Hái also has the meaning [still]: Ta hái zài zhèr. (lit. yl can be used interchangeably with ddu. Yl generally refers back to the subject.II Verbs (4) Yl [also] and hái [additionally] have similar meanings.e. I haven]t got any money either. always refers to the following verb or object of that verb. implying an additional action or situation: Xikotdu hái tdule diànshìjC. this mw matter everybody all/also know) Everybody knows this. 112 ! !5 . (lit. she still at here) She is still here. they still not return home) They haven]t gone home yet. Zhèi jiàn shì shéi yL bù zhcdao. (lit. in addition to other things) (lit. Ta lián dòng yL bù dòng. on the other hand. (lit. Dàxué hái yNu ZhDngwénxì. though it may also point forward to the following verb and/or object: 5 ( ) TA yL fashao le. Tamen hái méi huí jia. WN yL (lit. (lit. Hái. Note 3: In another construction. Note 2: In sentences with shéi/shuí [everybody]/ shénme [everything] as the subject.

113 . Ta znu le. zài may also imply the Verbs and adverbials 5 As an indicator of projected repetition. (lit. not now) It is possible for =zài to be used in the past when repetition is anticipated rather than realised. Similarly.(5) Zài and yòu both mean [again]. Nèi gè háizi yòu zài kàn diànshì le. (lit. but there is a subtle distinction between them. Zhèi gè wèntí ymhòu zài kkolv ba.e. That is why = zài occurs naturally in negative sentences where the anticipated repetition does not take place: ! ! 5 3 ( ) 5 Hòulái wnmen bù zài qù zhko tamen le. (lit. méi(ynu) zài huí lái.e. ! 5 ! 5 Tamen zuótian yòu lái le. next mw month we again have-to start-holiday p) Our holiday comes round again next month. (lit. This means that often yòu is used in a past or continuous present context. (lit. they yesterday again come p) They came again yesterday. postponement of an action: ! 5 ! 5 Wnmen míngtian zài tán. not-have again backcome) He left and did not come back again. whereas zài is used in a future context: Wn míngtian zài lái. while zài indicates projected repetition. = yòu may occur in future contexts where repetition can be seen as part of a predetermined plan or course of action: ! ! 5 Xià gè yuè wnmen yòu yào fàngjià le. (i. not today) (lit. (lit. (i. we tomorrow again talk) We]ll discuss [it] tomorrow. (lit. that mw child again asp watch television p) That child is watching television again. I tomorrow again come) I]ll come again tomorrow. afterwards we not again go look-up them p) Afterwards we did not go and look them up again. Yòu expresses actual repetition. this mw question again consider p) We]ll consider this question in future. he go p.

(lit. I day-after-tomorrow again must go see tutor p) I]ll have to go and see my tutor again the day after tomorrow. they in-contrast again also bù/méi mányuàn not complain us p) After that they 5 wnmen le. that time after they only-then not-have go yshing) It was only after that that they did not go yshing again. [on the other hand]. Xiko Lm què bù xmhuan chc shecài.4 Referential adverbs with negatives bù and Referential adverbs generally precede the negative adverbs ( ) méi(ynu): !5 Míngtian wn jiù bù lái le. They are almost interchangeable. 5 14. Little Li caught a cold. (lit.II Verbs ! 5 Wn hòutian yòu dli qù jiàn dkoshc le. Little Li however not like eat vegetables) Little Li. (lit. (lit. tomorrow I then not come p) I won]t come tomorrow then.5 Order of sequence of referential adverbs When two or more referential adverbs occur together or with negative adverbs. (6) Dào and què both mean [but]. the sequence is as follows: / or / dào/què zài zhm =yl / ddu/jiù / ( ) bù/méi(ynu) dào/què zài =yl / ( ) bù/méi(ynu) zhm / 114 !" Tamen dào zài yl (lit. or [on the contrary]. (lit. ! Nèi cì ymhòu !( ) tamen cái 5 méi(yNu) qù diào yú. doesn]t like (to eat) vegetables. however. didn]t complain about us any more. [however]. though què occurs more often in negative sentences: 5 Xiko Lm dào gknmào le. 14. . little Li however catch-cold p) However.

etc. xmhuan [like]. = bù implies an intention (in this case a past rather than future intention) whereas =méi is simply factual. 15 15. (lit.). children also all not again tell lies p) The children also didn]t tell lies any more. Ta hLn kLnéng zhèi (gè) shíhou yL rènrènzhBnzhBn de zài bówùguKn kàn zhknpmn ne. dli [must]. néng [can]. dksuàn [plan]. However. yào [want]. (lit. Dàjia jiù bù zài zhm kkolw zìjm le. 5 ! 5 ! ! 5 14.g. etc. [time] may change places with [attitude].Note: In the above sentence. there are also intentional verbs (e. and [location] with [manner]: ! ( ) ! ! 5 or. Modal 115 . the general order is: [attitude]. Other verbs of this type are those that express attitude in some way (e. [location].6 Gbge yl jiù bù chduyan le. Where a number of adverbials occur in sequence before a verb. tóngyì [agree].g. [time]. we have discussed a whole range of adverbials.1 Modal and similar verbs Modal.). attitudinal. etc. (lit. which we refer to loosely as attitudinal verbs. she very possible this (mw) time also conscientiously at museum see exhibit p) It is most likely that at this moment she is also looking conscientiously at the exhibits in the museum. Háizimen ylddu bù zài sahukng le. [referential]. ( ) !"#$ Ta zhèi (gè) shíhou hLn kLnéng !!""#$%&'5 yL zài bówùguKn rènrènzhBnzhBn de kàn zhknpmn ne. Modal and similar verbs Order of adverbials in sequence In this chapter and Chapters 10 and 11. Chief among these are modal verbs (e. and intentional verbs In this chapter we focus on verbs which precede the main verb in a sentence.g. (lit. elder brother also then not inhale smoke p) My elder brother didn]t smoke again after that either. everybody then not again only consider oneself p) Nobody thought only about themselves after that. zhonbèi [prepare]. [manner].).

Note: Modal verbs may be preceded by verbs expressing hope or aspiration. such as xcwàng.1). 116 . (2) they are almost never preceded by another verb (see note below). I hope can again see polite:you) I hope to see you again. pànwàng. as required by meaning or emphasis: Wn jcntian bù néng lái. ! !5 Wn xCwàng néng zài jiàn dào nín. admonition or daring. 5 ! 9 5 Wn jcntian (lit. [have to]): ! 5 ! / / 5 5 Nm yCnggAi qù shuìjiào le! dli indicate obliga- (lit. 15. necessity. etc. permission. The negator bù usually comes before the modal. Wn gAi/ dLi znu le. Nm bù yCnggAi (lit. more colloquially. I today not can come) I can]t come today.3. you not should at here inhalezài zhèr smoke) You shouldn]t smoke here.2 Modal verbs Modal verbs express obligation. you not can not come) You must come (you cannot but come). (3) they are never immediately followed by a noun or pronoun object (though yào [want] can be used as a full verb when it may take an object). (1) Ycnggai or. or occasionally after it. desire. I should leave p) I must be off. (lit. I today can not come p) néng bù lái ma? Can I not come today? Nm bù néng bù lái. attitudinal or intentional verb.2 below. attitudinal verbs and most intentional verbs regularly appear with the negator bù but never with ( ) méi(ynu). sentences with modal verbs are topiccomment rather than subject-predicate sentences. gai or tion ([ought to].3./It]s time you went to bed. See also note on gaoxìng [happy] at 15. As we will see later (18. ability. (lit. though they occur less commonly with shì [to be] or ynu [to have]. Note that: (1) they can precede any type of verb including attitudinal and intentional verbs. chduyan/xcyan. (lit. [should]. (lit. possibility.II Verbs verbs. klwàng. you should go sleep p) You ought to go to bed.

I may/can raise one mw question) May I ask a question? 117 / Wn kLyM/néng tí !"9 yc gè wèntí ma? . Lwkè ddu dLi tiánxil zhèi zhang bikogé. but it cannot be used in an afyrmative-negative form: * bìxe bù bìxe. Like modal verbs it is placed before the verb. you must answer my question) You must answer my question. (lit. Nm bìxE huídá wnde wèntí. (lit. (lit. / ! !9 Wn kLyM/néng (lit. passengers all should yll-write this mw form) All passengers should yll in this form. néng express permission ([may]. Note: Bìxe may be considered an adverb. you not need go meet her) There]s no need for you to go and meet her. you not may/can at here stop car p) You may not park your car here. ! !5 (3) =Klym and !"/ !9 Wnmen bùyòng gàosù tamen. we not need tell them) There]s no need for us to tell them. bùyòng or more formally (lit. The negation of bìxe is bùbì ([there]s no need]): / Nm bùyòng/ !"5 bùbì qù jib ta. !/ Nm bù kLyM/néng !"5 zài zhèr tíng chb. I now may/can leave p p) May I leave now? (lit.5 ! ! 5 (2) Nmde xcn shnubiko dLi bàoshuì. you must go hit-needle) You must go and have an injection. (lit. your new watch should report-tax) You will have to declare your new watch [at customs]. (lit. Modal and similar verbs Bìxe conveys necessity or compulsion ([must]): ! 5 !" !5 Nm bìxE qù dkzhbn. I may/can look-look your kànkàn nmde jiàshm driving licence p) May I have zhízhào ma? a look at your driving licence? (lit. [can]): Wn xiànzài kLyM/ néng znu le ma? (lit.

tourist-guide can speak English) The tourist guide can speak English. (lit. (lit. I not can play piano) I cannot play the piano. determine ability (or inability). Wn bù huì tán gangqín. [would (lit. ( ) néng(gòu) tends to imply that personal attitude. Nm xiKng qù canguan gdngchkng ma? Ta yào xué kai chb. (6) Xikng and like to]): ( ) 5 yào expresses wish or desire ([want].II Verbs (4) Huì indicates either possibility/probability ([may]. Wn xiKng mki (yc) xib shípmn hé ymnliào. (lit. I want buy some food and drink) I]d like to buy some food and drink. today likely blow wind p) Is it likely to be windy today? (lit. (lit. rather than external circumstances. I one day able run ten miles road/way) I can walk/run ten miles a day. they tomorrow not likely come) They won]t come tomorrow. 9 118 5 . [is likely to]): 9 ! 5 Jcntian huì gua fbng ma? Tamen míngtian bù huì lái. (lit. s/he want learn drive-car) S/he wants to take driving lessons. capacity or judgement. or. you can hit shadow-boxing p) Can you do shadow-boxing? 5 ! 9 (5) Néng and ( ) néng(gòu) also convey ability but in the sense of physical strength or capability ([can]): ( ) Wo yc tian néng(gòu) pko shí ycnglm lù. (lit. you want go visit factory p) Do you want to go and visit a factory? (lit. !5 ! ( ) 5 Note: In contrast to the potential complement. ability in the sense of an acquired skill (‘can’): 5 Dkoyóu huì shud Ycngyo. today I not can go on-shift) I can]t go to work today. Jcntian wn bù néng(gòu) qù shàngban. Nm huì dk tàijíquán ma? (lit.

Note 2: dai and dai can be used interchangeably to mean ‘stay’. (lit. Xiàozhkng yuànyi tuìxie. I want change yve-hundred wobki yuán. but with bù yào it is optional. Note 2: =Yào may also be used by itself as a transitive verb to mean [want] or [need]. not coffee. to go by car.Ta yào zài ( ) Gukngzhdu dai !5 likng gè lmbài. she want at Guangzhou stay two mw week) She wants to stay in Guangzhou for two weeks. I want tea. Note 1: The yuán (or more colloquially kuài) is the basic unit of Chinese currency. Bié can be used as an alternative to 8 8 8 (7) Bié dòng! Bié xiào wn! Bié jìn lái! Don]t move! bù yào for [don]t]: Don]t laugh at me! Don]t come in! Yuànyi and ! 5 ! ! 5 kln indicate willingness ([be willing]): (lit. headmaster willing retire) The headmaster is willing to retire. you must small-concern) You must be careful! (lit. when it takes a noun or pronoun object: 3 !5 !" !5 Wn yào chá. not must move) Don]t move! Note 1: With yào in this sense the pronoun subject is normally present. yuan) I would like to change yve hundred yuan. It is divided into 10 jiko (more colloquially máo) and 100 fbn. bù yào kafbi. 119 . Zuò chb qù zhm It takes only an hour yào yc gè xikoshí. 5 (lit. in imperative sentences yào and its negative form bù yào mean respectively admonition ([must]) and prohibition ([don]t]): !8 Nm yào xikoxcn! 8 Bù yào dòng! (lit. Modal and similar verbs Wn xiKng huàn (lit. However. he not willing talk religion or politics) He is not willing to talk about religion or politics. Ta bù yuànyi tán zdngjiào huò zhèngzhì.

with the [ bm + (pro)noun] phrase preceding the modal verb (see 7. I not too dare eat raw-oyster) I]m a bit of a coward when it comes to eating raw oysters. nobody dares to hit him) 15. I very want go spend-holiday) I want very much to go away for a holiday. (lit. he not too willing support me) !5 yi zhcchí wn.II Verbs ! 5 9 (8) Jcnglm bù kLn (lit.2.2 for comparison structures): . hln. tomorrow not too likely fall-rain) It is not too likely to rain tomorrow. (lit. 15. ! Ta bù tài yuàn (lit. Ta kLn jiao nm ma? (lit. The manager is not willing to see me. He is not too willing to support me. she willing teach you p) Is she willing to teach you? Gkn indicates either bravery or audacity ([dare]): ! Ta bù gKn !5 tiào jìn shum li qù. he not dare jump enter water in go) He did not dare to jump into the water. negative expressions are regularly softened by the addition of / tài/dà [too]: ! 5 Míngtian bù dà huì xià yo. they extremely willing help you) fBicháng yuànyi They are extremely willing to help bangzhù nm. ! 5 Wn bù dà gkn chc shbng háo. 5 5 Tamen (lit.) naturally occur with xikng [want] and yuànyi [be willing]: Wn hLn xiKng qù dùjià. (lit. manager not willing see me) jiàn wn. Also. However.g. adverbs of degree (e. you dare scold people) How dare you use abusive language (to people)! (lit. !8 Nm gKn mà rén! !8 Shéi gKn dk ta! (lit. fbicháng.2. (lit.e.2 Modal verbs and comparison 120 Comparisons can be expressed using modal verbs. who dare hit him) Who dares to hit him! (i.1 Modal verbs and adverbs of degree Modal verbs do not generally take adverbial modiyers. you. etc.

(lit. Tamen hln !5 fKnduì chC ròu. but they can also be followed by nouns or pronouns. (lit. I agree your opinion) I agree to your idea. that person. Wn hln tóngyì xuKn ta.5 ! 5 Nm bM wN néng chc. Wn pà guM. (lit. Tamen fbicháng (lit. 121 ! Wn hln tóngyì !5 nMde yìjiàn.3 Attitudinal verbs Attitudinal verbs may. Westerners very like dog) Westerners like dogs very much. they very oppose eat meat) They are opposed to eating meat. she compare me able speak) She can speak better than me. . Ta bM shéi ddu yuànyi bangzhù wn. I very agree elect him) I agree to vote for him. (lit. like modal verbs. they regularly take adverbial modiyers of degree: Xcfangrén !5 xMhuan yKng gnu. I fear ghost) I am afraid of ghosts. you compare me can eat) You can eat more than I can. (lit. she compare anybody all willing help me) She is willing to help me more than anybody else. Tamen fbicháng (lit. I fear sit cable-car) I am afraid to ride in a cable-car. Unlike modal verbs. (lit. they extremely hate that tKoyàn nèi mw person) They really loathe gè rén. ! 5 ! 5 ! 5 5 5 ! 5 Xcfangrén hln xMhuan gNu. ddngxi. Ta bM wN huì shudhuà. (lit. (lit. Modal and similar verbs 5 15. Wn pà zuò lknchb. ! Tamen fKnduì !5 zhèi gè tíyì. (lit. (lit. precede verbs. they extremely hate buy thing) tKoyàn mKi They really hate shopping. Westerners like raise dog) Westerners like keeping dogs. (lit. they oppose this mw proposal) They are opposed to this proposal.

we extremely happy have opportunity come here visit) We are extremely happy to have the opportunity of coming here for a visit. (lit.2 Gaoxìng The adjective gaoxìng [happy] can take on the function of an attitudinal verb and precede another verb: ! 5 ! Wn hln gAoxìng rènshi nín.3. 15.1 Wàngle and Jìde Two commonly used verbs which may be categorised as attitudinal verbs are wàngle [to forget] and jìde [to remember]: ! 5 Bié wàngle dài yàoshi. I calculate go travel) I am planning to go travelling. please remember lock door) Please remember to lock the door. (lit. our factory calculate install air-conditioning) Our factory is planning to install air-conditioning. 5 Note: Wàngle [to forget] invariably incorporates the aspect marker le. Wnmen de gdngchkng dKsuàn zhuAng kDngtiáo.II Verbs 15.4 Intentional verbs Intentional verbs are always followed by verbs and do not take adverbial modiyers of degree: Wn dKsuàn qù lWxíng. Note: Gaoxìng like ! ! 5 xcwàng [to hope] may precede a modal verb: (lit. 15. (lit.3. (lit. (lit. Wn hln gaoxìng néng lái Zhdngguó liúxué. 5 ! 5 122 . (lit. I very happy can come China study-abroad) I am very happy to be able to come to study in China. Qmng jìde suN mén. I very happy know polite: you) I am pleased to meet you. don]t forget asp bring key) Don]t forget to bring [your] keys [with you]. Wnmen fbicháng gAoxìng yNu jchuì lái zhèr !5 fkngwèn.

g. For instance. Wn bù juédìng canjia bmsài.1 Negation of intentional verbs Negating intentional verbs is slightly more complicated than negating modal or attitudinal verbs. (lit. NOT: * !"#$%5 (lit. Exceptionally. The negator ( )méi(ynu). jìhuà [plan]. etc.4. (lit. The negator =bù can come either before or after the intentional verb. ! Wn dKsuàn bù !5 canjia bmsài. I not plan take-part-in contest) I am not planning to take part in the competition. she prepare apply one mw job) She is planning to apply for a job. usually preceded by =hái [still]. !"#5Ta zài zhonbèi gdngkè [She is preparing (for) the lesson]) but they are then full verbs and carry no meaning of intention.. can be used before juédìng. however. follow this pattern. (lit. I still not-have decide take-partin not take-part-in contest) I haven]t yet decided whether to take part in the competition or not. I decide not take-part-in contest) I have decided not to take part in the competition. ! Wn bù dKsuàn !5 canjia bmsài. without there being any signiycant difference in meaning.! 5 9 Ta zhOnbèi shBnqMng yC fèn gDngzuò. 15. juédìng [decide] can only be followed (not preceded) by the negator bù: ! Wn juédìng bù !5 canjia bmsài. The action verb which follows juédìng may then take an afyrmative-negative format: ( ) Wn hái ( ) méi(ynu) juédìng can(jia) 5 bù canjia bmsài. I plan not take-part-in contest) I am planning not to take part in the competition. Zhonbèi. you decide eat what) What have you decided to eat? Modal and similar verbs Note: Some of these verbs can be followed by nouns (e. . 123 . (lit. Nm juédìng chC shénme? (lit.

II Verbs 124 .

Part III


A distinctive characteristic of many Chinese sentences is the inzuential role of the particle le in their formulation. The addition of le at the end of a statement introduces an assertiveness of tone implying change, updating, etc. The presence of le may therefore convert a subjectpredicate sentence into a topic-comment sentence (see Chapter 18). Other sentence particles, ma, ne, ba, etc., transform statements into various forms of question; imperatives may be signalled by ba; and exclamations are indicated by a and its variants. Prepositional or coverbal phrases are a regular feature of Chinese sentences. The location phrases introduced in Part II are coverbal, and other coverbal phrases provide background information on method, direction, destination, etc. The coverb bk, which expresses intentional manipulation or unintentional intervention, has the important function of moving an object to a pre-verbal position, leaving the post-verbal space clear for the complement. The coverb bèi, rarely used except in narration, introduces the agent in a passive construction. (Passives are more readily formed, however, through topic-comment structures where sentence le is generally indispensable.) Serial constructions occur frequently in Chinese sentences. They bring together verbal elements through meaning relationships such as timesequence, purpose, etc., rather than through syntax. Composite sentences, on the other hand, consist of more than one clause or predicate/ comment, usually linked by conjunctions and/or conjunctives. As a non-morphological language, Chinese relies heavily on its speakers]/listeners] knowledge of the real world. This makes for not only standard constructions like notional passives in the form of topiccomments but also frequent abbreviations and omissions in sentences so that sense depends on reference to non-linguistic contexts and verbal cotexts.


III Sentences

Emphasis is regularly generated by the use of the intensiyer shì which can focus stress on almost any element in the sentence. In addition, topicalisation may emphasise an object by transferring it to a topic position in a topic-comment sentence. The subject-predicate and topic-comment dichotomy we have proposed offers insights into the organisation of Chinese sentences. The shift from subject-predicate to topic-comment through the introduction of sentence particle le, modal verbs, the intensiyer shì, etc., represents a move by the speaker from a narrative to a descriptive, explanatory, or argumentative stance.


Statements and the sentence particle le
Le as a sentence particle

We have earlier discussed the function of le as an aspect marker sufyxed to a verb of action to indicate the completion of the action (see 8.3.1). A second, important use of le is as a sentence particle placed at the end of a sentence and inzuencing its meaning as a whole. By adding le to a sentence, the speaker introduces some form of comment on the action or the situation, implying a commitment or involvement on his/ her part. The speaker may be suggesting that circumstances have changed or are about to change, that things are not as the listener expects, or that circumstances have reached a particular point. When using le in this way, the speaker readily lets his/her enthusiasm, interest and involvement be known. Sentence le does occur in written Chinese, especially in letters, but its function makes it particularly common in speech. In effect, adding sentence le updates the situation; thus, underlying all such statements with le is the fundamental notion of change. For example, 5 Wn bù chduyan. Wn bù 5 chduyan le. (lit. I not inhale-cigarette) I don]t smoke. (lit. I not inhale-cigarette p) I don]t smoke any more. (i.e. I have given up smoking)

The yrst statement is simply a statement of fact, whereas the second implies a change in habit from [smoking] to [non-smoking].


Functions of sentence le


In the examples below, sentence le conveys to the listener (or reader) a sense of updating, change, reversal, etc. of the previous situation.


Sentences containing result or direction complements which in one way or another signal new situations or conditions:


Ta shuì zháo le. Bàba hb zuì le.

(lit. she sleep achieved p) She has fallen asleep. (lit. father drink intoxicated p) Father has got drunk. (lit. she out go p) She has gone out. (lit. sun rise up-come p) The sun has risen.

Statements and the sentence particle le

5 !5

Ta che qù le. Tàiyáng shbng qMlái le.

5 (2)

Sentences with verbs or indicators which mean [begin], [end], [start], [ynish], [emerge], [disappear], [change], etc., which by deynition introduce new circumstances: !"5 Tánpàn kAishM le. (lit. negotiation begin p) The negotiations have begun. !"5 Huìyì jiéshù le. !5 Tianqì biàn le. (lit. meeting end p) The meeting has ended. (lit. weather change p) The weather (has) changed. (lit. she cry/weep start p) She (has) started to cry.

!"5 Ta kE qMlái le.

Similarly, an adverbial in the sentence may indicate that something is about to take place: ! 5 5 (3) Fbijc kuài yào qmfbi le. Tian jiù yào xià yo le. (lit. plane quick about take-off p) The plane is about to take off. (lit. sky soon about fall-rain p) It is about to rain.

Sentences with a monosyllabic action or state verb which naturally poses a contradiction to a previous action or state: !5 5 5 Hunchb dào le. Ta bìng le. Tian liàng le. (lit. train arrive p) The train has arrived. (lit. she ill p) She has fallen ill. (lit. sky bright p) It is light (now). 127

III Sentences

!5 Huar kai le. (lit. zower open p) The zowers have come out. !5 Ddngxi guì le. (4) (lit. things expensive p) Things are getting more expensive.

Sentences which have nominal predicates indicating age, height, weight, etc., and register change or updating: Wn jcnnián !5 liùshí suì le. Xikohunzi !5 yC mM bA le. Háizi liù !5 gè yuè le. ! 5 Wn kuài qCshí gDngjCn le. (lit. I this-year sixty years-old p) I am sixty (years old) this year. (lit. young-man one metre eight p) The young man is one metre eight tall (now). (lit. child six mw month p) The child is six months old (now). (lit. I almost seventy kilogram p) I am almost seventy kilograms (in weight) (now).


Summing-up function of le

Since the primary function of sentence le is to emphasise updating or change of situation, a speaker narrating and commenting on a series of events will tend to delay le to the end of the statement, thereby summing up the situation: ! !5 ! 3 !5 ! 3 3 !5 Ta bk ycfu xm ganjìng le. Ta bk ycfu xm ganjìng, liàng cheqù le. Ta bk ycfu xm ganjìng, liàng cheqù, ránhòu jì xìn qù le. (lit. she grasp clothes wash clean p) She washed the clothes (clean). (lit. she grasp clothes wash clean, hang out p) She washed the clothes and hung them out to dry. (lit. she grasp clothes wash clean, hang out, then post letter go p) She washed the clothes, hung them out to dry and then went to post a letter.


Le as both sentence particle and aspect marker


When le follows a verb phrase at the end of a sentence, it often functions both as aspect marker indicating completed action and as sentence particle:


Tamen lái le.

(lit. they come asp+p) They]ve come. (i.e. they have arrived [completed action] and they are here now [updating, change of situation, etc.]) (lit. winter pass go asp+p) The winter is over. (lit. they knot-marriage asp+p) They have got married.

5 5

Ddngtian guò qù le. Tamen jiéhen le.

Statements and the sentence particle le

Note: Jiéhen le could also be expressed as jiéle hen le with the yrst le indicating completed action and the second le as a sentence particle.


Cases where sentence le is not used

Sentence le is usually not used where the indication of [change] is not the speaker]s primary concern. For example, in: (1) Sentences which indicate habitual actions, where the emphasis is more on persistence than change: 5 5 (2) Ta chángcháng dK wKngqiú. Wn tiantian diào yú. (lit. she often-often hit net-ball) She plays tennis very often. (lit. I day-day hook-ysh) I go yshing every day.

Sentences with verbs marked by a continuous aspect marker or brief duration indicator, where the focus is on the continuity or brevity of the action: ( ) 5 Ta (zhèng)zài tCng guKngbD. Ta diKnle diKn tóu. (lit. she (just) asp: in-the-processof listen broadcast) She is listening to the broadcast. (lit. he nod asp nod head) He nodded.

5 (3)

Sentences with verbs complemented by duration or frequency indicators or used with objects qualiyed by numeral and measure word phrases, where the interest is in what took place: Ta xuéle sì nián (lit. he study asp four year !5 Zhdngwén. Chinese) He studied Chinese for four years.


situation. where attention is usually focused on the resulting location.). she sit at land on) She sat on the zoor/ground. etc. she go asp China two times) She has been to China twice. (5) Sentences using adjectival predicates. ! 5 ! 5 Zhèi zhc mao shì xióng de. she be painter) She is an artist. she eat asp three mw bread) She ate three slices of bread. etc.: 5 5 Ta zuò zài dì shang. (lit. (lit. which by deynition (6) Sentences using the verbs present a state of affairs: !5 Ta shì huàjia. (lit. (lit. I really foolish) I was really stupid. this mw cat be male p) This cat is a tom(cat). (lit.III Sentences Ta qùguo !5 Zhdngguó likng cì. where the interest is in the object or entity that exists./How stupid I was! (lit. (lit. (lit. Ta yNu hln dud zhebko. Note: Le can naturally be added to sentences like these where the speaker is providing updated or signiycantly changed information: !" 5 !" 5 Wn xuéle sì nián I have been studying Zhdngwén le. (4) Sentences with location or manner complements. Ta chcle san !5 piàn miànbao. emergence or disappearance. shì or ynu. (lit. Ta hb le ba bbi píjio le. where the interest is in the present state or situation of the subject: 8 ! 5 Wn zhBn bèn! Nèi gè zhdngniánrén hLn pàng. (7) 130 Sentences expressing existence. emerges or disappears: . He has drunk eight glasses of beer (and he does not look well. that mw middle-aged-person very fat) That middle-aged man is very fat. she have very many pearl-jewel) She has got a lot of jewellery. Chinese for four years. Yo xià de hLn dà. should not have done so. rain fall p very big) The rain came down heavily.

For example: 131 . (lit.3 (3) above). (lit. (lit. (lit. she very late until-then return home) She returned home very late. (lit. There are roses in the vase. last-year fall asp one mw big snow) There was a heavy snowfall last year. carpet-on all be dust) There is dust all over the carpet. but it is possible to ynd it added to unlikely sentences if the situation demands. Statements and the sentence particle le !5 (8) Sentences in which a manner adverb is the centre of interest: ! Qìqiú mànmàn !"5 de piao shàng tiankdng qù. D Huapíng li chazhe (lit. 16. vase-in insert asp rose) méiguìhua. Qùnián xiàguo yc cháng dà xul. Lmtáng li zuò mkn le rén. (lit.4 Ultimate versatility of sentence le Nevertheless. balloon slow-slow p zoat up sky go) The balloon rose slowly into the sky. mother tight-tight p embrace yrm child) The mother held the child yrmly in her arms. Naturally sentence le occurs in some circumstances more than others. s/he drink intoxicated p only-then write p out good poem) Only when s/he is drunk can s/he produce good poems.! 5 ! 5 ! !5 Dìtkn shang ddu shì hucchén. le may be used with almost any sentence if the speaker wishes to impart his/her awareness of development or difference in a situation (see note under 16. auditorium-in sit full asp people) The auditorium is full (of people). cái which emphasise the (9) Sentences with the referential adverb time or condition referred to: ! 5 ! ! 5 Ta hLn wKn cái huí jia. Ta hB zuì le cái xil de che hko shc. (lit. ! !5 Moqcn jMnjMn de bào zhù háizi.

1 Question-word questions Question-word questions make use of question words or expressions. 17 Questions Questions in Chinese take a number of different forms: question-word questions.III Sentences 5 Wn tiantian xmzko le. 17. I didn]t use to.) (lit. but I have changed my habits.) (lit. (lit. general questions (with ma). etc.e.e. rhetorical questions.4. that mw person be male p p) That person is now a man. etc. I day-day wash-bath p) I take a bath every day nowadays. surmise questions (with ba). he has undergone a sex change.) 5 ! 5 Nèi gè rén shì nán de le. Huayuán li zhòng mkn le cài le. it used to be overgrown with weeds. There is no change in word order as in English. etc. (i. (i. alternative questions. etc. (i.e. of which the following are the most obvious examples: shéi (or shuí) shéide (or shuíde) shénme !/ Who or whom Whose What shénme shíhou (or jm shí) When jm dikn (zhdng) nkr (or shénme dìfang) What time (of day) Where How Which Why / zlnme3zln(me)yàng nk/nli + (numeral) + measure word wèi shénme Note: See earlier reference to interrogative pronouns in 4. 132 Question words or expressions occur in the sentence at the point where the answer is expected. . afyrmative-negative questions. garden in grow full asp vegetable p) The garden is now full of vegetables.

you what time back-come) What time are you coming back? (lit. this be whose dog) Whose dog is this? (lit. I eight o]clock about back-come) I]m coming back around eight. ! 9 ! 5 (lit. (lit. you want drink a little what) !9 diknr shénme? What would you like to drink? ( ) Wn xikng hb !5 (yì) diknr kLlè. Nm jiàn dào le shéi? ! 5 Wn jiàn dào le LM xiKojie. you bump into asp whom) Who did you bump into? (lit. you today attend what class) shénme kè? What classes do you have today? Wn jcntian shàng wénxué kè. she be my fellow student) She is my fellow student. Nm jM diKn (zhDng) huí lái? Q: ( ) Wn bA diKn !5 (zhDng) zunyòu huí lái. Nm shénme shíhou qù Zhdngguó? (lit.Q: A: 9 5 Ta shì shéi? Ta shì wN tóngxué. I see achieve asp Li Miss) I bumped into Miss Li. Zhang Mr come asp) láiguo. I next month go China) I]m going to China next month. this be my neighbour p dog) This is my neighbour]s dog. I want drink a little coke) I would like to have some coke. Q: 9 A: ! 5 ! 9 A: Wn xià gè yuè qù Zhdngguó. 133 . Mr Zhang has been. (lit. (lit. she be who) Who is she? (lit. Q: A: Nm jcntian shàng (lit. you when go China) When are you going to China? (lit. Shéi láiguo? (lit. who come asp) Who has been? Questions Q: A: 5 Q: 9 A: 9 ZhAng xiAnsheng (lit. Q: 9 A: Zhè shì wN !5 línjE de gnu. Zhè shì shéide gnu? (lit. Q: A: ( ) Nm xikng hb (yc) (lit. (lit. I today attend literature class) I have literature classes today.

he have business not come) He didn]t turn up because he had something to do. I feel very good) I think [it is] very nice. see Chapter 19. (See Chapter 4. I at train-station wait you) I]ll wait for you at the (railway) station. and the most common responses to it are therefore clauses beginning with ycnwèi [because]. Note: Wèi shénme [why] is asking for an explanation rather than an identiycation. 9 A: 5 Note: For discussion of coverbs like zuò [travel by]. which mw novel most interesting) Which novel is the most interesting? !"5 Wn juéde hLn hKo. Q: A: 5 Q: ! (lit. (lit. (lit.III Sentences Q: 9 A: ! ! 5 ! 9 Nm zài nKr dlng wn? Wn zài huNchBzhàn dlng nm. Nm zhonbèi zLnmeyang qù Lúnden? Wn zhonbèi zuò chángtú qìchB qù. you plan how go London) How are you going to London? (lit. forty one route stop at front) The 41 bus stop is just ahead. Q: 9 A: 5 ! Ta wèi shénme méi lái? Ta yNu shì méi lái. I plan sit coach go) I am taking a coach. !" 9 NK/nLi bln xikoshud zuì ynuqù? Q: 134 .) Q: ( A: ! ) 9 Nm juéde zhèi jiàn wàitào zLn(me)yàng? (lit. you at where wait me) Where will you wait for me? (lit. you feel this mw jacket how) What do you think of this jacket? (lit. (lit. Sìshí yc lù chbzhàn zài nKr? Sìshí yc lù chbzhàn zài qiánmian. he why not come) Why didn]t he turn up? (lit. forty one route stop at where) Where is the 41 bus stop? (lit. (lit.

ylm very moving) The ylm was very moving. Questions 17. 135 . many-few) [how many]/[how much]. Q: A: !"9 Diànymng zLnmeyàng? !"5 Diànymng hLn dòngrén. Kafbigukn de fúwùyuán zLnmeyàng? Tamen hLn yNuhKo.2 Dud in questions dud [how]. ylm how/what like) How was the ylm?/What was the ylm like? (lit.6 below). [to A number of question expressions are formed with what extent]: dud jio (or dud cháng shíjian) dud yukn dud dà how long how far how old ( !) dud + gradable adjective how + gradable adjective There is also the common question word dudshko (lit.1 Zlnmeyàng Zlnmeyàng [how] can be used as a predicate by itself without a verb (see also 17. (lit. that mw novel most interesting) That novel is the most interesting. price very reasonable) The price was very reasonable. Q: A: !"5 17. (lit. (lit. (lit. .A: 5 !" Nà/nèi bln xikoshud zuì ynuqù. price how/what like) What about the price? Q: A: !"9 Jiàqián zLnmeyàng? !"5 ! 9 Jiàqián hLn gDngdào. they very friendly) They are very friendly. [How many] (but not [how much]) in pragmatically smaller numbers or quantities can also be represented by jm.1. café p assistant how/what like) What are the waiters at the café like? (lit. (lit.1.

Wn yòngle ( )5 sAnshí bàng (qián). I wait asp one mw hour p) I have been waiting (for) an hour. (lit. you use asp how-much money) How much (money) did you spend? (lit. Nm zài shànghki daile jM tiAn? .III Sentences As above. (lit. she this-year eighteen yearsof-age p) She is eighteen years old this year. !9 Nm jia lí zhèr duD yuKn? Q: A: !" Wn jia lí zhèr (lit. you home from here how-far) How far is your home from here? !" Wn dlngle yC 5 gè xiKoshí le. you in Shanghai stay asp how many days) How many days did you stay in Shanghai? Q: 9 A: !5 Q: 9 A: 5 Q: 136 ! !9 Nm dìdi duD gAo? Ta yC mM qC wO. (lit. you wait asp how-long p) How long have you been waiting? (lit. (lit. your younger-brother how tall) How tall is your younger brother? (lit. Nm mèimei jcnnián duD dà le? Ta jcnnián shí bA suì le. these question expressions are placed in the sentence where the answer is expected: Q: 9 A: 5 Q: 9 A: Nm xikng yào duDshKo? Wn xikng yào liKng gè. I use asp thirty pound money) I spent thirty pounds. you want have how-many) How many do you want? (lit. I want have two mw) I would like (to have) two. my home from here twenty !5 èrshí yCnglM. he one metre seven yve) He is one metre seventy-yve. Nm yòngle duDshKo qián? (lit. your younger sister this-year how big p) How old is your younger sister this year? (lit. mile) My home is twenty miles from here. (lit. Nm dlngle duD jiO le? Q: 9 A: (lit.

3 )9 / )5 / ! (lit. Ne in questions The particle ne can be added to the end of a question-word question usually to convey a slightly quizzical tone: !9 !"9 !"#9 She zài nkr? She zài nkr ne? Where is the book? Where can the book be? Ta wèi shénme Why didn]t he come? méi lái? 137 !"#$9 Ta wèi shénme Why didn]t he come then? méi lái ne? . (lit. Nm dìdi jcnnián dú (xikoxué) jM niánjí? Wn dìdi/ Ta jcnnián dú (xikoxué) sì niánjí. Questions Q: !9 A: ( Q: ( ) 9 A: ( ) 5 Q: ! ( A: ( 17. (lit. Nm mèimei jcnnián jM suì (le)? Wn mèimei/ Ta jcnnián bA suì (le).1. your younger brother this year read (primary school) how many year-grade) What year is your younger brother in at primary school (this year)? (lit. my younger brother/he this year read (primary school) four year-grade) He]s in the fourth year. I buy asp yve pounds (apple)) )5 bàng (pínggun). my younger sister/she this year eight years-of-age (p)) She]s eight. you buy asp how many pounds apple) How many pounds of apples did you buy? Wn mkile wO (lit. Nm mkile jM bàng pínggun? (lit. I in Shanghai stay asp three days) I stayed there three days. your younger sister this year how many years-of-age (p)) How old is your younger sister (this year)? (lit.A: ! !5 Wn zài shànghki daile sAn tiAn. I bought yve pounds (of apples).

in the case of [no] with the negative ( bù or méi). (Wn shì Zhang Yún.) Does your elder sister smoke? Yes. (lit. smoke) Have you ylled the car with petrol? Yes. (I]m Zhang Yun. Do you agree? Yes. (I have never been (one). Qìchb jiale yóu ma? Jiale. There is no change in word order. Nm tóngyì ma? Tóngyì.2 General questions with ma General questions in Chinese can be formed by adding the particle = ma to the end of the sentence. If the question has a modal verb.) Zhè shì zhdngdikn zhàn ma? Bù shì.) Is this the terminus? No. (Ta méi ynu dìdi. (He doesn]t have a younger brother. ylled) Have you ever been a soldier? No.III Sentences 17.) Are you Zhang Yun? Yes. agree) Has he got a younger brother? No. (lit.) . the response uses the modal verb: Q: A: 5( 5) Q: 9 A: Q: A: Q: A: ( Q: 9 A: Q: 9 A: Q: 9 A: ( 138 5 5) 5 5 5 5 ! 9 !!5) 5 !9 ! !"9 Nín shì Zhang Yún ma? Shì. this is usually expressed by repeating the verb or adjective used in the question. The answer to such questions is likely to be [yes] or [no].) Nm jiljie chduyan ma? Chdu. (Méi dangguo. (lit. Ta ynu yc gè dìdi ma? Méi ynu. Nm dangguo bcng ma? Méiynu.

Nm zuìjìn máng ma? Bù tài máng. Nm huí lái de hln zko ma? Bù (shì). a degree adverb or complement of some kind normally precedes or follows the adjectival predicate in the response. you get-cold asp p) Have you got a cold? (lit. Wn huí lái de hln wkn. Have you been busy recently? Not very. When the question is enquiring about a state of affairs rather than an action. (lit. not [be] I back-come p early p) No. (lit. (lit. Nàr llng ma? Llng jí le. I came back quite late. I]ve got a cold. 139 Q: A: .2. be [p]. Nm yào hb bbi chá ma? Yào. like) Was that programme interesting? Yes. We have seen earlier (6. very interesting.6) that adjectival predicates do not usually occur without some form of marker. I get-cold p) Yes. Can you speak Chinese? No. the initial response is usually ( ) shì(de) [yes] or ( ) bù (shì) [no]: Q: A: !"9 Nm gknmào le ma? ( )5 !5 ! 9 ( )5 5 Shì (de).1 and 13. you back-come p very very late) Did you come back early? (lit. (lit. Wn gknmào le. Nèi gè jiémù ynuqù ma? HLn ynuqù. not too busy) Was it cold there? Extremely cold. cannot) Would you like a cup of tea? Yes.Q: 9 A: Q: 9 A: Q: A: Q: 9 A: Q: A: 5 !9 5 5 ! 9 5 5 Nm huì shud Zhdngwén ma? Bù huì. Questions Note: As in the last three examples. (lit.

wn lái. I]m not. you not happy p) Aren]t you pleased? (lit. no. I am. I not come) No. Shì (de). wn hln gaoxìng. méi jiànguo. she is not married yet. 5 )3 5 Q: A: ( Note: These questions can be made more rhetorical by introducing nándào [do you mean to say]. yes. ta hái 5 méi(ynu) jiéhen. I have. where the answer is expected or assumed. Shì (de). wn bù gaoxìng. you tomorrow not come p) Aren]t you coming tomorrow? (lit. I very happy) Yes. (lit. Shì (de). ba is used in place of ma. Q: 9 A: 3 or. not see asp) No. (lit. no. I haven]t. It should be noted that in Chinese the response to a question posed in the negative is to afyrm or deny the negative. (lit. she get asp married p p) Is she married? (lit. you not see asp them p) Haven]t you met them before? (lit. whereas in English the convention is to link the [yes] or [no] with the response: Q: 9 A: 3 5 or.3 Surmise questions with ba 140 To ask a general question. ( )3 !5 Nm bù gaoxìng ma? Bù. Nm méi jiànguo tamen ma? Bù. yes. I come) Yes. I]m not. she still not have marry) No. no. Such questions are similar to English . no. (lit. I am. jiànguo. Nm míngtian bù lái ma? Bù. [is it really the case] before or after the subject: ! 9 !" !9 Nm nándào bù xikng jia ma? Don]t you really miss your family? Nándào nm bù zhcdao Didn]t you really know this? zhèi huí shì ma? 17. (lit. ( 5 )3 5 ! 9 3 or. (lit. yes. (lit.III Sentences Q: 9 A: 3 ( ) ! Ta jiéle hen le ma? Bù. wn bù lái. see asp) Yes. I not happy) No.

tag questions with phrases like [is(n]t) it], [are(n]t) they], etc., at the end. We will call these questions surmise questions: !9 Nm huì qí mótudchb ba? Nm bù chc shé ba? (lit. you can ride motorcycle p) You can ride a motorbike, can]t you? (lit. you not eat snake p) You don]t eat snake, do you?



The answers to surmise questions ( ba questions) follow the same lines as those to ma questions. If the enquiry is about a state of affairs, ( ) shì (de) [yes] or ( ) bù (shì) [no] can be used: Q: 9 A: Q: 9 A: ( )5 5 5 ! Nm huì liebcng ba? 5 Bù. Wn bù huì. Ta dnng Gukngzhduhuà ba? Shì (de). Ta dnng. (lit. you can slide-ice p) You can skate, can]t you? (lit. no I not can) No, I can]t. (lit. he understand Cantonese p) He knows Cantonese, doesn]t he? (lit. be [p]. he understand) Yes, he does.

Where the question is posed in the negative, the response afyrms or denies that negative, as with negative ma questions (see 17.2): Q: !9 A: ( )5 5 or, 5 5 Nm bù shì Zhang xiansheng ba? Shì (de). Wn bù shì. Bù. Wn shì Zhang xiansheng. (lit. you not be Zhang mister p) You aren]t Mr Zhang, are you? (lit. yes, I not be) No, I am not. (lit. no, I be Zhang mister) Yes, I am Mr Zhang.


Affirmative-negative questions

Another common way to make a general enquiry is to use afYrmativenegative questions. These take the form of an afyrmative verb or adjective immediately followed by its negative, i.e. [verb/adjective + bù verb/adjective]. In the case of ynu, the negative is, of course, méi.


III Sentences

Q: 9 A: Q: 9 A: Q: 9 A: Q: 9 A: Q: A: Q: A: 5/ 5 5/ 5/ 5 5/ 5 5/ 5 5/ 5

Nm shì bù shì Zhang xikojie? Shì./Bù shì. Nm shbn shang yNu méi yNu qián? Ynu./Méi ynu. Ta míngtian lái bù lái? Lái./Bù lái. Nm xiKng bù xiKng hb píjio? Xikng./Bù xikng.

Are you Miss Zhang (or not)? Yes./No. Have you got any money on you? Yes./No. Is he coming tomorrow? Yes./No. Would you like some beer? Yes./No. Are there enough cups/ glasses? Yes./No. Is the bank far [from here]? Yes./No.

! 9 Bbizi gòu bù gòu? 5 Gòu./Bù gòu.

! 9 Yínháng yuKn bù yuKn? Hlnyukn./ Bù hln yukn.

If the verb or adjective is disyllabic, the second syllable may be dropped from the yrst verb or adjective: Q: A: Q: A: 5/ ( 5/ ) 5 ( ) 5 9 9 Nàr An(jìng) bù Anjìng? fnjìng./Bù anjìng. Ta yuàn(yi) bù yuànyi? Yuànyi./Bù yuànyi. Is it quiet there? Yes./No. Is she willing? Yes./No.

This also happens with [verb + object] expressions: Q: A: 142 5/ !9 Nm qM bù qMchuáng? Are you getting up? 5 Qmchuáng./ Bù qmchuáng. Yes./No.

Q: A: 5/

!9 Nm xM bù xMzKo? 5 Xm./Bù xm.

Are you going to take a bath? Yes./No.


If the verb is preceded by a modal verb or / lái/qù, then only the modal verb or / lái/qù is made afyrmative-negative: Q: !9 A: Q: A: Q: A: 5/ 5/ 5/ 5 ! 9 5 ! !9 5 Nm huì bù huì la xikotíqín? Huì./Bù huì. Míngtian huì bù huì xià yo? Huì./Bù huì. Can you play the violin? Yes./No. Will it rain tomorrow? Yes./No.

Nm xiàwo qù bù Are you going swimming qù yóuynng? this afternoon? Qù./Bù qù. Yes./No.

Where the verb indicates a completed action or past experience, the afyrmative-negative pattern can be created either by putting méiynu at the end of the question or by placing ynu méiynu before the verb: Q: or, 9 A: 5/ 5 Q: or, A: or Q: or A: or ( 5/ ) 5/ ( !"#9 !"9 5 5 5/ !"#$9/ !" Nm xué guo Zhdngwén méiyNu? Nm yNu méiyNu xuéguo Zhdngwén? Xuéguo./Méiynu./ Méi xuéguo. Have you ever learned Chinese? Yes./No.

Nm chCle yào méiyNu? Did you take Nm yNu méiyNu your medicine? chC yào? Chcle./Méiynu. Méi(ynu) chc. Yes./No.



Nm shDu dào le huíxìn méiyNu? !"#$9 Nm yNu méiyNu shDu dào huíxìn? 5 5

Have you got a reply to your letter?

Shdu dào le./Méiynu Yes./No. Méi(ynu) shdu dào.


III Sentences

Note: As seen in 8.3.1, the aspect marker le is not used in a negative statement with ( ) méi(ynu). It would therefore be incorrect to say: * !"#9 Nm ynu méiynu chcle yào?


Alternative questions with háishì

Alternative questions are posed by using háishì [or] as a pivot between two balanced verbal clauses to suggest alternative possibilities: !"# 9 Nm jcntian znu háishì míngtian znu? Are you leaving today or tomorrow? Are you going by coach or by train? Do they want to go to a dance or to see a play? Are you coming or is she coming?

!"#$ Nm zuò qìchb qù !9 háishì zuò hunchb qù? !" !"9 !" 9 Tamen xikng tiàowo háishì xikng kànxì? Nm lái háishì ta lái?

Note 1: Háishì is used to mean [or] only in questions. In other sentences the word for [or] is huòzhl (see 24.2.1 (2)). Note 2: The adverbs jiejìng and dàodm, meaning [after all], are often used for emphasis with alternative questions, afyrmative-negative questions and with some question-word questions. They are always placed before the yrst verb: !"#$ !"#9 ! 9 ! !"9 !" 9 Ta jiEjìng xikng xué Hànyo háishì xikng xué Rìyo? Nm dàodM ynu méi ynu kòng? Tamen jiEjìng shénme shíhou dào? Nm jiEjìng yào qù nkr ne? What does he really want to learn – Chinese or Japanese? Are you free after all? When exactly do they arrive? Where do you really want to go?


Tags indicating suggestion


Suggestions in the form of questions can be made by adding a tag expression such as hko bù hko, hko ma or zlnmeyàng at the end of the sentence:

!"3 9 !"3 9 !"#3 9 !"3 9 ! 3 9

Zánmen qù pá shan, hKo bù hKo? Qmng guan shàng chuanghu, hKo ma? Qmng shud de màn diknr, hKo ma? Zánmen hb yc bbi, zLnmeyàng?

Shall we go climbing? Could you please close the window? Would you please speak a little slower? How about (having) a drink?


Qmng nm bang wn xie Can you please (help) yc xie, hKo ma? yx [it] for me?

A positive answer to all these questions will usually be hko [yne]/ [OK]/[good]. A negative response will obviously involve explanation but will often begin with duìbuqm [sorry]. 17.7 Tags seeking confirmation

ConYrmation can often be sought by adding the tag expression shì ma or shì bù shì at the end of a statement: Q: A: Q: 3 A: 5 5 5 !" 3 9 Ta bìng le, shì ma? 5 Shì de. Ta bìng le. She is ill, isn]t she? Yes. She]s ill. You]ll have exams next week, won]t you? No. It]s this week.

Nm xià gè xcngqc 9 kkoshì, shì bù shì? Bù shì. Shì zhèi gè xcngqc.

Note: For discussion of

shì as an intensiyer, see Chapter 22.


Rhetorical questions

Rhetorical questions, for which no answers are expected, can be formulated by inserting expressions such as nándào (lit. ‘difycult to say]), using pronouns such as shéi [who/nobody], shénme [what/ anything], or referential adverbs such as cái [only then], etc.: ! ! 9 Nm nándào bù (lit. you difycult-to-say not know this zhcdào zhèi mw matter p) Don]t you know about jiàn shì ma? this?!


1 Subject and predicate. This sentence does not need to be couched in the passive voice. who know) Who knows?! (lit. The transformation of a subject-predicate structure into a topic-comment one. since the listener cannot possibly assume that the [things] in the sentence are the subject and responsible for the action of putting. is a key feature of Chinese sentence construction. the Chinese speaker can be conydent that no misunderstanding will arise.1. with less dependence on formal grammatical features and sharper focus on meaning in relation to the real world. It has the following features: (1) 146 The subject is often a noun or pronoun representing the initiator or recipient of the action (or non-action) expressed by the verb: .2 Subject-predicate sentences A subject-predicate sentence usually relates an event and is therefore used for narrative purposes. though its English equivalent does. things all put at cupboard-in p) Everything has been put in the cupboard. (Compare 18. with modal verbs or the sentence particle le. For instance: !" Ddngxi ddu !5 fàng zài guìzi li le. This dual patterning of syntax enables zexible and succinct expression.III Sentences 9 !9 Shéi zhcdào? Zlnyàng cái xíng? Nm dnng shénme? (lit. These two categories are markedly distinct both in terms of deynite and indeynite reference and in their use of different types of verb with or without aspect markers. (lit. topic and comment Dual patterning of sentence structures Chinese sentences may be divided into two broad categories: subjectpredicate and topic-comment. you understand what) What do you know?! !9 18 18. By relying on real-world knowledge. how only-then OK) What then?!/ Where do we go from here?!/What do we do now?! (lit.4.) 18.

!5 Dìdi bù chc yú.) ynu However. The teacher came into the classroom. Everybody carried an umbrella with them. My younger brother doesn]t eat ysh. lkoshc [the teacher] in the above). ! !5 MAma die diào le tade qiánbao. A student stood up. He has never been to India. ! Háizimen zài !"5 mklù shang tc qiú. A personal pronoun is naturally of deynite reference. (lit. 147 . ( ) 5 (2) TA méi(ynu) qùguo Yìndù. A student stood up. and a pronoun like dàjia refers to [everybody of a deynite group]. Subject and predicate. that). This accounts for the fact that many narrative sentences begin with a time or location expression followed by ynu: ! ( ) !5 Zhèi shíhou yNu (yc) liàng chb kaile guòlái. They received quite a lot of presents. The children are playing football on the road. A noun of indeynite reference cannot normally be the subject of a subject-predicate construction.g. and it would therefore be unusual to say: * ! !5 *YC gè xuésheng zhànle qmlái. even if unqualiyed by a demonstrative (this. A noun at the beginning of such a sentence. LKoshC znu jìn le jiàoshì. will have deynite reference (e. this time there-was (one) mw car drive asp acrosscome) At this moment a car approached. (lit. Mother has lost her purse. topic and comment The subject must be of deYnite reference: !5 ! 5 TA zài xm wkn. TAmen shdu dàole bù shko lmwù. it is possible to begin the sentence with the verb so that the noun of indeynite reference comes after a verb: !" !5 YNu yC gè xuésheng zhànle qmlái.! 5 !" !5 DàjiA ddu dàile yoskn. She is washing the dishes.

(lit. Tamen bK qìchb tíng zài lù bian. jiào. (lit. I drank/had a glass of milk.3.g. (lit. She is wearing a white hat. Aspect markers are therefore almost always present in subject-predicate sentences (see Chapter 8). they grasp car stop at road-side) They parked their car by the side of the road. Wàimiàn yNu rén zhko nm. !5 ! 5 D Wn hBle yc bbi niúnki. !"5 Ta kànguo zájì. (causative) I gave him a present.III Sentences ! ( ) 5 ! 5 JCntiAn wKnshang yNu (yc) gè péngyou lái wn jia zuò.5 and 21. (4) It may be a sentence with a passive marker (e. (lit. tánpàn. (5) The predicate verb may be causative or dative (see 8. bèi. today evening there-will-be (one) mw friend come my home sit) A friend is coming round to my place this evening. (3) The predicate verb is an action verb. !"5 Ta qMng wn chc fàn. 5 Note: Some action verbs can be followed by zhe to indicate a persistent state that results from the action of the verb. !" She invited me to a meal.4. envelope by handle p very dirty) The envelope has been made very dirty. (dative) 148 5 Wn sòng ta yc gè lmwù. outside there-is person look-for you) There is someone outside looking for you. He has seen acrobatics. See the last example above and 8. Tamen zhèngzài They are negotiating right now.5). =ràng. see also Chapter 20): ! 5 !" !5 Xìnfbng bèi nòng de hln zang. . Ta dàizhe yc dmng bái màozi. etc.) or with bk (implying intentional manipulation or unintentional intervention.

149 !" Mli gè rén ddu !5 yNu yc gè míngzi.18. rather than narrating an action or event. (lit. Jcntian shì wnde shbngrì. explanatory or argumentative purposes. YC gè rén bù néng bù jikng lm. (lit. (lit. (clause: [he does not come]) (lit. lazy is not right p) Being lazy is wrong. Every person has a name. tool should put at here) The tools should be placed here. It is therefore a construction designed for descriptive. (lit. provides a description or offers an opinion. or it can contain the verbs shì or ynu: ! 5 !5 Zhèi gè háizi hLn cDngmíng. 5 (3) The comment can be an adjectival predicate. (lit. he not come not urgent) It does not matter if he does not turn up. Subject and predicate. (verbal phrase: [doing anything]) TA bù lái bù yàojmn. LKnduò shì bù duì de. The following features differentiate it from the subject-predicate sentence: (1) The topic may be of any word class or any structure (e. topic and comment 5 (2) The topic may be of deynite or indeynite reference: ! !5 GDngjù ycnggai fàng zài zhèr. do things should conscientious) One should be conscientious when doing anything. Today is my birthday. one mw person not able not talk reason) A person must be reasonable.3 Topic-comment sentences A topic-comment sentence.g. dictionary very useful) (noun: [dictionaries]) Dictionaries are useful. . a phrase or even a clause): 5 5 ! 5 Z ìdiKn hln ynuyòng. This child is (very) intelligent. (adjective: [lazy]) Zuò shì ycnggai rènzhbn. while usually following a structure with a noun phrase followed by a verb phrase similar to that of a subject and predicate.

etc. updating. patient wake across-come p) The patient has regained consciousness. Biérén ddu líkai le. others all depart p) The others have all left.1 Further ways to form topic-comment sentences In addition. (lit. your trousers | I iron good p) I]ve ironed your trousers. Everybody should observe discipline. Xuésheng yl !5 kLyM canjia. that mw detective novel | we xiKoshuD | wNmen sell ynish p) We have sold out mài wán le. NMde kùzi | wN tàng hko le.3. 5 18. of that detective/crime novel.III Sentences 18.4 Topic | subject-predicate sentences A posed topic may be followed by a subject-predicate structure. These [topic | subject-predicate] structures are often used for explanatory purposes: ! ! 5 5 150 ! !5 Nèi bLn zhBntàn (lit. (lit.1): 5 5 Dìdi chc yú le. (lit. By the addition of the sentence particle le. This can convert most subject-predicates into topic-comments since by deynition it expresses a comment on the action. (lit. (see 16. (2) She can speak Chinese. younger-brother eat ysh p) My younger brother eats ysh now. X ìn | tA jì cheqù le. Students may also take part. letter | she post out-go p) She has posted the letter. since a modal verb naturally signals a comment: 5 Ta huì shud Zhdngwén. topic-comments can be created in the following circumstances: (1) When a modal verb is present. indicating change. Bìngrén xmng guòlái le. There are therefore a large number of sentences where both a topic and a subject are present. ! Shéi ddu yCnggAi !5 zenshnu jìlv. . (lit.

X ìn | jì cheqù le. The three examples in 18. (lit.5 Subject | topic-comment sentences Conversely. parcel | receive arrive p) The parcel has been received.4.18. topic and comment Other examples are: !" !5 Zhèi gè xì | yknle likng gè yuè le. but in fact what looks like a second subject is a topic (relating to the subject) on which a comment is expressed: 151 . you want p things | buy backcome p) The things you want have been bought. your trousers | iron good p) Your trousers have been ironed.4 may be re-formulated without the subject as: ! 5 5 ! / 5 NMde kùzi | tàng/ yùn hko le. 5 ! ! !5 !" !5 18. Subject and predicate. that mw detective novel | sell ynish p) That detective novel is sold out. Baogun | shdu dào le. Sentences of this type superycially become [topic + predicate] structures and can be seen as notional passive sentences in which the topic is notionally the object of the verb. (lit. (lit. (lit. delegation p visit itinerary | arrange good p) The itinerary for the delegation]s visit has been arranged. this mw play | perform asp two mw month p) This play has been on for two months. At yrst sight these sentences seem to have two subjects. (lit. letter | post out-go p) The letter has been sent/posted.1 Notional passive sentences The subject in these [topic + subject-predicate] structures may be omitted if its sense is understood from the context. Nm yào de ddngxi | mki huílái le. (lit. a subject may be followed by a topic-comment structure to create a [subject | topic-comment] sentence. Dàibikotuán de fkngwèn rìchéng | anpái hko le. Nèi bLn zhBntàn xiKoshuD | mài wán le. (lit.

(lit. they may be called coverbs. As they can also be used as full verbs. WN | gDngzuò hln máng. pronoun or postpositional phrase can be placed before the verb as a location phrase: Mama zài chúfáng li zuò fàn. fast) The economy of Guangdong developed/is developing very fast.4 how the preposition zài [in]. verbs that occur in sequence with other verbs in a sentence. In the above example. thereby changing the subject–topic sequence into a simple topic and leaving the sentence in the topic-comment form: ! 5 ! ! 5 Wnde gdngzuò | hln máng. my work | very busy) I am busy with my work. 5 ! 5 GuKngdDngshLng | (lit. is a coverbal phrase.III Sentences 5 5 TA | shBntM bù hko. (lit. (lit. (lit. 19 19.e. board-director | salary extremely high) The director of the board has an extremely high salary. 5 152 There are a number of prepositions that grammatically function like zài. mother at kitchen in make ricemeal) Mother is preparing the meal/ doing the cooking in the kitchen. (lit. The coverb with its object can be referred to as a coverbal phrase. Guangdong province p economic development | extremely fast) The economy of Guangdong developed/is developing very fast. in syntactic terms. DNngshìzhKng | xCnshuM shífbn gao. [at] followed by a location noun.1 Prepositions and coverbs Coverbs We have seen in 11. =zài is the coverb. . (lit. he | body not good) His health is not good. Gukngddngshlng de jcngjì fazhkn | fbicháng kuài. It is also possible for the possessive de to be used after the subject. Guangdong province | jCngjì fAzhKn economic development extremely fbicháng kuài. and the location phrase ! zài chúfáng li. I | work very busy) I am busy with my work. i.

(lit. ! !/ 9 (2) Dào [to] ! ! 5 Xià xuéqc dào sìyuèfèn cái kaishm. !" Ta méi dào 5 yCyuàn lái kàn wn.3 that zài can be a full verb as in 5Tamen xiànzài zài Mliguó [They are in America now]. etc. néng. 153 . (lit. !! The coverbal phrase normally comes after the subject and before the main verb. service. in the case of lí [away from]). yào) and the negators bù and méi(ynu) come before the coverbal phrase. at] ) 5 Ta zài (fBi)jCchKng dang fanyì. (lit. The main types of coverb are listed below. methods.. reference.1. she at airport act interpreter) She serves as an interpreter at the airport. Note: yuèfèn is used as an alternative to months of the year. they tomorrow to Russia go) They are going to Russia tomorrow. he not to hospital come see me) He did not come to the hospital to see me. I at embassy deal visa) I was applying for a visa at the embassy. ! !5 Tamen míngtian dào Éguó qù.g.Note: We have observed in 11. when they relate only to the main verb. associated with the main verb. Generally modal verbs (e. it provides background information about the place. (lit. next term cv:to April onlythen begin) Next term doesn]t begin till April. they come after it (e. Wn klym zài zhèr chduyan/ xcyan ma? (lit. though occasionally. 19. yuè when referring to !" Kèchéng dào ! míngnián 5 liùyuèfèn jiù jiéshù le. (lit. reason.1 (1) ( Coverbs of place and time Zài [in. (lit. time.g. I can at here inhale-smoke p) May I smoke here? Prepositions and coverbs !" Wn zài 5 dàshMguKn bàn qianzhèng. course cv:to next year June then end p) The course will end next June/June next year.

(lit. wind from west-side blow come) xCbian chuc lái. a dào coverbal phrase with lái [come] or qù [go] may often be followed by another verb to indicate purpose. she towards me nod asp nod head) She nodded to me. my ofyce from city centre bàngdngshì lí shì very near) My ofyce is very zhDngxCn hln jìn. (5) Lí [(distance) from (in terms of place or time)] !" 5 !" ! 5 Wn jia lí dàxué hln yukn. while cóng [from] is always associated with movement from one place to another. (lit. you from here towards north walk) You go north from here. The wind blew from the west. Qìchb wKng nán kai qù. cóng Note: In this last example. . Ta xiàng jùlèbù znu lái. car towards south drive go) The car is heading south. As can be seen from the last example. s/he towards club walk come) S/he came towards the club. (lit. ! 5 ! 5 Fbng cóng (lit. (lit. this mw music opera cv:from last year then begin stage p) This musical has been on since last year. we not to restaurant go eat-rice) We are not dining out at a restaurant. there are two coverbal phrases: zhèr and xiàng bli. Cóng [from] !" !" !5 Zhèi gè ycnyuèjù cóng qùnián jiù kaishm shàngykn le. 154 Note 1: Lí [from] simply indicates distance between two yxed objects. Nm cóng zhèr xiàng bLi znu. ! 5 5 !" 5 (4) xiàng. Ta cháo wN dikn le dikn tóu. my home from university very far) My home is very far from the university. (lit. (3) Wkng. cháo [towards] (lit. close to the city centre.III Sentences ! 5 Wnmen bù dào fànguKn qù chcfàn. (lit. Wnde (lit.

yán hki [all along the coast]. now from Christmas still have two mw month) There are still two months from now to Christmas. sit) !5 Wn chángcháng zuò dìtiL shàngban. (lit. D 5 Note: Yán on its own is only found in such expressions as yán lù [all along the road]. ynu is 5 Note: When the actual distance or time is speciyed.1. Chuán yánzhe yùnhé kai lái. (lit. I often sit underground-rail go-to-work) I often go to work by underground. she use Chinese-brush paint picture) She paints with a Chinese brush. which are generally used to indicate existence rather than movement: Yán lù ddu shì màitián.Note 2: The negator bù comes before the main predicate verb or adjective and not before lí: !"#$5Wn jia lí dàxué bù yuKn [My home is not far from the university. etc. Xiànzài lí Shèngdànjié hái ynu likng gè yuè. using] ! 5 Ta yòng máobM huà huàr. (lit. boat along canal sail come) The boat came along the canal. (lit. (2) Zuò [(travelling) on/by] (lit. we along that mw street walk go) We went along that street. my home from Shanghai have twenty kilometres) My home is twenty kilometres from Shanghai. There are wheatyelds all along the road.] NOT: * !"#$5Wn jia bù lí dàxué yukn. (6) D=Yánzhe [along] D !5 Wnmen yánzhe nèi tiáo jiB znu qù. 155 . 5 19. (lit.2 (1) Coverbs of methods and means Yòng [with. Prepositions and coverbs !5 Wn jia lí ShànghKi ynu èrshí gdnglm.. the verb normally required. (lit.

(lit. . (lit. [for] !" Wn jcntian wknshang gLi 5 nM da diànhuà.III Sentences ! / !/ / 5 Wnmen hln (lit. 19. 5 (2) Gli [to]. he to me said . qìchB/fBijC/ chuán qù. [on behalf of] Jiljie tì wN lm fà. . ) He said to me . (lit. .. we very want sit train/bus/ xikng zuò plane/boat go) We]d very much huNchB/gDnggòng like to go by train/bus/plane/boat. (lit. (lit. Qmng nm gLi wN kai (yc) zhang shdujù.1. chéng: (lit. I every week all to father write letter) I write to my father every week. . Tamen duì wN hln hko. Note: Duì is also commonly used to mean [with regard to]: !/ ( ) Wn duì mLishù/yCnyuè méi(ynu) xìngqù. please you to me write (one) mw receipt) Please write a receipt for me. (3) / 5 Wèi/tì [for]. ! 5 ! ( ) 5 Wn mli zhdu ddu gLi bàba xil xìn. (lit. Note: An alternative coverb for travel is Wn chángcháng chéng !"#5 chEzE qìchB shàngban. they towards me very good) They are very kind to me. 156 . . (lit. I often take hire-car go-to-work) I often go to work by taxi. I today evening to you make telephone-call) I will call/ring you tonight.3 (1) Coverbs of human exchange and service Duì [(speaking) to]. elder-sister for me cut hair) My elder sister cut my hair for me. [(behaving) towards] . I regarding yne-art/music nothave interest) I have no interest in yne art/music. . ! 5 Ta duì wN shud ..

.1. bèi for passive voice Bk in manipulation constructions and (analysed in Chapter 20) are also coverbs.. 19. She said to me . This one is as expensive as that one. !5 ! 5 Ta bM wn dà. I with father-mother together go spend-holiday) I spent my holiday with my parents.2 Disyllabic prepositions There are a number of disyllabic prepositions which. we with-reference-to this mw question discuss a-moment) Let]s have a discussion of/discuss this question.2. .2 and 7. 19. She is older than me. ! ! (lit. (2) Jiù [with reference to] Wnmen jiù ! zhèi gè wèntí !5 tkolùn yc xià.Ménfáng wèi wN jiào le yc / liàng díshì/ !5 cheze qìchb. (lit. 19. Gbn may also be used colloquially like Ta gBn wn shud . (lit. are not strictly in that category. (4) / / Gbn/hé/tóng .3) are in fact coverbs. Zhèi gè gBn nèi gè ycyàng guì. though similar to coverb prepositions.1. . ! 5 Note: !. porter for me call asp one mw taxi) The porter called a taxi for me. . please you according-to regulation go manage this mw matter) Please do this according to the regulations.4 (1) / / Coverbs of reference / / ! 5 =Àn/zhào/ànzhào [according to] Qmng nm àn/ zhào/ànzhào guCdìng qù bàn zhèi jiàn shì.5 Coverbs and comparison Bm and gbn in comparison expressions (as discussed in 7. duì above: Prepositions and coverbs WngBn fùmO yCqM qù dùjià. . ycqm [(together) with] (lit. since they may be 157 .. .

she every week all return home) She goes home every week in order to see her old grandma. (lit. as-for this one point. Jù tA suN shuD. qiúsài zàntíng. 158 . ‘as regards] !"3 GuAnyú zhèi !" yC diKn. We found her home with the help of road signs. These prepositional constructions usually come at the beginning of the sentence: (1) / Gbnjù/jù [on the basis of] ! ! !5 !3 ! 5 (2) GBnjù lùpái (lit. ballcontest temporary-stop) The ball game was temporarily suspended because of the heavy snow.III Sentences followed not only by nominal expressions but also in most cases by verbal phrases. I already raise-out asp my opinion) As regards this point. (lit. =Guanyú [as for’. ! 3 ! 5 Wèile kànwàng lKo zOmO. Note: We have consciously used the term [preposition] for this group of words in order to illustrate the uniformity of their function. (See Chapter 24. ta mli xcngqc ddu huí jia. Note: Yóuyú may also be regarded as a conjunction when it is followed by a clause. (lit. (lit. I have already put forward my opinion. because-of heavy snow.) (4) Wèile [for the sake of] !"3 Wèile zhèi (lit. tamen ymjing znu le. (3) Yóuyú [because of] !3 !5 Yóuyú dà xuL. there for this business. wn three trip) I made three trips qù le san tàng. they already leave p) According to her. for this mw matter. wn !"5 ymjing tícheguo wnde yìjian. I go asp !"5 jiàn shì. basing-on road-sign we wnmen zhko look-for-and-ynd asp her home) dào le tade jia. they have already left. basing-on she p say. in-order-to visit old grandma.

5 Ta bk shE fàng hKo le.3. In this construction. has the function of shifting the object of the verb to a pre-verbal position in the pattern of [subject + bk + object + verb]. the repetition of the verb shud enables it to deal with the object and the complement one at a time. (lit.2. The coverb bk is used to similar effect. 5 In this example. ! 5 Wn qù bK she mki huílái. which as a verb has the meaning [to grasp]. I go grasp book buy back-come) I am going to buy the book/books (and come back with it/them). an unqualiyed object after the verb will generally be of indeynite reference. I go buy book) I am going to buy a book/some books. moving the object before the verb and leaving the post-verbal position clear for the complement. Three interrelated features of the construction can be identiyed: (1) As seen in 1. shelf on) She placed it on the bookshelf. which moves the object in front of the verb. Employment of the coverb bk.3. she grasp book put good p) She placed the books in good order. 159 . (lit. (2) In the discussion of complements in 13. the coverb bk. it was apparent that with complements adjustments have to be made when the verb is followed by an object: Zhèi gè rén shuD huà shuD de hln kuài. Note: Ta [it] cannot be omitted after bk. (lit.20 20. (lit.1 Ba and bèi constructions ˇ The ba construction ˇ Bk and bèi constructions The bk construction is a grammatical feature unique to the Chinese language. automatically converts the noun to deynite reference: !5 Wn qù mki she. this mw person say words say p very fast) This person speaks very fast. ! Ta bk tA gb zài (lit.4. she grasp it leave at book!5 shEjià shang.

) . I took two hours to le likng gè zhdngtóu. Ta bK chènshan (lit. He dirtied his shirt.1 below. (lit. a complement of some kind after the verb to indicate the result achieved by the action of the verb. The subject of a bk construction deliberately (or unwittingly) handles or deals with the object in such a way that some kind of consequence is registered in the complement that follows the verb. gli may sometimes be added before the main verb. these cannot be regarded as a manipulative action and an achieved result. cannot be used if any of the above conditions are not met. also implies intentional (or sometimes unintentional) manipulation of the object on the part of the subject. I like this book very much) 160 (The verb xmhuan [like] expresses the inclination of the subject and the complement de hln [very much] indicates the degree or extent of the liking.1. a bk construction must have an object of deynite reference (shifted now to a pre-verbal position directly after bk). The bk construction.) (d) * !" !5 Wn bK zhèi bln she xmhuan de hln. In other words. The following sentences are therefore unacceptable: (a) * ! 5 Wn bK wo tiào le yc cì. he grasp shirt handle dirty p) 5 (gli)nòngzang le. which as noted derives from a verb meaning [to grasp].) Wn bK she fàng.III Sentences (3) Bk.) (c) * !" !"5 Wn bK diànymng kàn (lit. on the part of the subject. I danced once) (The noun (b) * !5 wo [dance] is not of deynite reference in this context. (lit./ She has done the washing. she grasp clothes wash clean p) She has washed the clothes. therefore. There are of course occasions when the subject can control the duration of something – see 20. either intentionally or unintentionally. ! !5 ! ( ) Ta bK ycfu xm ganjìng le. watch the film) (It is clearly beyond the power of the subject to decide how long the ylm will be. (lit. In the latter case. (lit. I put the books) (There is no complement and therefore no indication of any result achieved by the action of the verb fàng [put].

Ta bk xìn fbng hKo le. (frequency) Jmngchá bk xikotdu guan le liKng gè yuè. (lit. (lit. (lit. (lit. younger-brother grasp text revise asp two times) My younger brother revised the text twice. (dative) Tamen bk wezi dksko de gAngAnjìngjìng de. elder-sister grasp room tidy asp one stroke) My elder sister tidied up the room. 161 . they grasp room sweep p clean-clean p) They swept the room clean. (duration) Jiljie bk fángjian shdushí le yC xià. I grasp litter pour off p) diào le.1. she grasp letter seal good p) She has sealed the letter. police grasp thief imprison asp two mw month) The police kept the thief in prison for two months.20. (brief duration) Ta bk ymzi la dào zhuDzi pángbiAn. (lit. (lit. (direction) Dìdi bk kèwén fùxí le liKng biàn. we grasp gift present give her) We presented the gift to her. (location) Wnmen bk lmwù sòng gLi tA. 5 Ta bk wn qì de huà dDu shuD bù chElái le. Bk and bèi constructions ! 5 ! ! 5 ! 5 5 ! 5 Note: Reduplicated adjectival complements are usually followed by de. (manner) (lit. (result – verb) I have dumped the rubbish. she grasp me anger p words all speak not out-come p) She made me so angry that I could not speak a word. he grasp picture hang upcome p) He hung the picture. (lit. (destination) Wn bk dàyc guà zài yC jià shang.1 The bk construction and complements bk construction may take various forms: Complements in a ! 5 ! 5 ! 5 ! 5 ! 5 Wn bk la jc dào (lit. (consequential state) (lit. (lit. she grasp chair pull to table side) She pulled the chair to the side of the table. I grasp overcoat hang at clothes-hanger on) I hung my overcoat on the clothes-hanger. (result – adjective) Ta bk huà guà qMlái le.

don]t throw it away or eat it) Bk cài liúzhe. (lit. don]t grasp machine handle bad p) Don]t damage the machine. grasp dishes keep asp) Keep the food.4 Zuòjia bK zìjm xil de gùshì f anyì chéng Fkwén. s/he grasp me regard become most good p friend) S/he regarded me as her best friend. Ta bK wn dàng zuò zuì hko de péngyou. (lit. please grasp lamp hold asp) Please hold the lamp. Bié bk jcqì (gli) gKo huài le.2 Le and zhe as complements in bk sentences le and D zhe may also be used as complements The aspect markers in bk sentences. [act as]: ! ! 5 ! ! 5 20. she grasp tea drink asp) She drank up/ynished the tea. (lit. 20. I grasp box handle break p) I broke the box. Nòng and Gko in bk sentences Nòng and gko are two versatile colloquial verbs meaning loosely [to handle] which feature regularly in bk sentences: !( 5 162 ) Wn bk hézi (gli) nòng pò le. !"5 Shéi bk mén sunle? (lit.1.1. (i.1. zuò or wéi all meaning [become]. (lit.3 Bk and resultative complements One type of complement regularly used with bk is the resultative complement beginning with chéng. (lit. (lit. !( ) 5 . D5 (lit.e.III Sentences 20. who grasp door lock asp) Who has locked the door? (2) D Zhe (indicating persistence in an imperative sentence): !D5 Qmng bk dbng názhe. (1) Le (indicating completed action with verbs which have an inherent meaning of result): !"5 Ta bk chá hble. writer grasp self write p story translate become French) The writer translated his/her own story into French.

occurring normally with verbs indicating habitual action or sometimes intention. 9 ! 5 The negator bù generally precedes the modal verb in a bk construction. he always not grasp quilt foldgood) He never folds up [his] quilt properly.1. particularly in .5 Negative bk sentences bk sentences. (lit. Bié bK huapíng pèng dko.1. you can grasp tool collect upcome p) You can put the tools away [now]. you can not grasp litter dump at here p) Can you not tip [your] litter here? 5 ! ! 9 20. she not willing grasp dictionary lend give him) She was not willing to lend her dictionary to him. Note: Bù with bk is comparatively rare. This is certainly true. Modal verbs may come before Wn néng bK chuanghu dk kai ma? Nm kLyM bK gdngjù shdu qmlái le. It also occurs in composite sentences (see 24.1.6 Bk and modal verbs bk: (lit. (lit.3). Bk and bèi constructions ! 5 ! Ta cóng bù bK !5 bèizi dié hko. don]t grasp vase bump fall-over) Don]t knock the vase over.7 Bk and indefinite reference 163 We have emphasised in this section that the object of the coverb bk must be of deynite reference. the negator must precede bk: In negative ! ( ) Y cnyuèjia hái méi(yNu) bK tade ! gbqo guàn chéng !5 chàngpiàn. musician still not-have grasp his song record become record) The musician has not yet recorded his song.20. Nm néng bù bk lajc dào zài zhèr ma? (lit. though it may occasionally come after it if required by meaning: Ta bù kLn bk cídikn jiè gli ta. I can grasp window hit open p) May I open the window? (lit. 20. (lit. (lit.

that is. (lit. she grasp one mw good de skirt tear-break p) She tore a nice skirt into pieces. refrigerator inside) They even put books in the fridge. they contrary-to-expectation bk she bln fàng grasp books place cv:in/at zài bcngxiang li. The bèi construction has features in common with the bk construction: the verb is usually one of [manipulation]. the beì construction often conveys the sense that something has gone wrong: . it is still of deynite reference in meaning: Ta bk yc tiáo ! hkohkode 5 qúnzi sc pò le. Additionally. though it is not as commonly used. she (always) grasp money hide cv:in/at pillow below) She always hides her money under the pillow. (lit. involving action. Tamen ( jìngrán) (lit. where bk is followed by a noun in a generic sense. don]t grasp friend regard become enemy) Don]t regard your friends as enemies.III Sentences narrative or descriptive sentences. Sometimes even when the object is indeynite in form. which like other coverbal phrases comes after the subject and before the verb. etc. This deynite reference would of course have been made clearer if the speaker had said: !/ ! ! 5 Ta bk nàme/ zhème yc tiáo hkohkode qúnzi sc pò le.2 The bèi construction 164 The bèi construction in Chinese is similar to the passive voice in English. The coverb bèi [by] marks the agent and with it forms a coverbal phrase. ! (lit. it is to be understood as of indeynite (i. handling. changing. and is normally complex..e. The agent may be either deynite or indeynite reference. However. she grasp like-that/like-this one mw good de skirt tear-break p) She tore a nice skirt like that/like this into pieces. (lit. followed by some form of complement. 20. A sentence like this tends to sound more argumentative: ( ) ! 5 ( ) ! !5 ! !5 Ta (lkoshì) bk qián cáng zài zhlntou xià. generic) reference. Bié bk péngyou dàngchéng dírén.

! !"5 !" 5 ! 5 20. their proposal not-have by accept) Their proposal was not accepted. Ta bèi lkobkn jilgù le. 165 As with the bèi: !" ( ) 5 .2.2. he by someone hit asp one yst) He was struck by someone. (lit. (lit. (lit. (lit. but not ràng or jiào). bèi (or gli. (lit. The bèi construction with an agent It is possible for the construction to be used without an agent. football-fan by hooligan by hit hurt p) The football fan was beaten up by hooligans. he by kick asp one mw) He was kicked. Ta bèi rén dkle yc quán. the negator and modal verbs precede Tamende zhozhang méi(yNu) bèi jibshòu. Bk and bèi constructions Ràng and jiào ràng or jiào may be used instead of =bèi: In colloquial speech. Negative bèi sentences bk structure.3 Tamen bèi guan zài wàitou le. In these cases. Ta gLi tc le yc jiko.1 Ta bèi jcnglm pcpíngle yc dùn.2 Xiangjiao ràng háizi chc diào le. gli may be added before the verb: Zúqiúmí jiào liúmáng gLi dk shang le. they by shut at outside p) They were shut outside. (lit. ! 5 20. (lit. Wnde yoskn jiào rén jiè znu le. (lit. !" 5 !" !5 In addition. is placed before the verb: !" 5 ! 5 20.2. my umbrella by someone borrow away p) My umbrella was borrowed by someone. banana by child eat off p) The banana was eaten by the child. he by boss dismiss p) He was dismissed by [his] boss. she by manager criticise asp one mw) She was criticised by the manager. (lit.

window all paint become green p) All the windows have been painted green. (lit.3) may be deyned as notional passives. Instead. cup/mug hit broken p) The cup/mug was broken. it makes use of sequences of verbal phrases in what we will call serial constructions. !"5 Bbizi dK pò le. (lit. computer likely by someone steal away p) Is the computer likely to be stolen by someone? bèi sentences. zhédié hko le. Jìsuànjc huì bèi rén tdu znu ma? (lit. 21 21. letter write ynish p) The letter has been written. !5 Xìn xiL wán le. Chuángdan hé bèitào ddu xM ganjìng. bedsheets and blanket-cover all wash clean.3 The bèi construction versus the notional passives While the bèi construction.III Sentences 5 ! 9 Note: Bié ràng ta gLi piàn le. unlike English. usually describing an event. nor sets of prepositions capable of diversiyed meanings. don]t by him by cheat p) Don]t be fooled by him. the letter cannot possibly be taken as initiating the action of writing itself. bù is not normally used in 20. sentence forms of the topic-comment variety (see 18. and therefore no ambiguity arises as to the relationship between the topic and the verb. (lit. in the yrst sentence below. In these sentences.1 Serial constructions General features of serial constructions 166 Chinese. fold good p) All the bedsheets and quilt covers have been washed [and] neatly folded up. For example. does not have the grammatical means to construct participles or inynitives. !" 5 !" !3 !5 Chuanghu ddu qC chéng lvsè le. A serial construction normally consists of two (or more) verbal predicates or comments which share the same subject or topic and follow . (lit. parallels the passive voice. the topic is often inanimate (or non-human). (lit.

he ynish asp class return home go p) He ynished class and went another without any conjunction(s). ! 5 Wn qù shAngdiàn mKi dDngxi. (lit. the sentence needs to be completed with another clause or verbal phrase. she eat asp medicine go sleep p) She took her medicine and went to bed. if an unqualiyed noun follows a verb carrying the aspect marker le. A serial construction may have adjectival as well as verbal predicates. I go for him arrange-hair) I]ll go and cut his hair. we appoint (one) mw time talk (one) talk p) Let]s make an appointment to have a talk. (lit. (lit. ! Ta chC le yào !5 qù shuìjiào le. (lit. I go shop buy things) I am going to the shops to do some shopping. (lit. (lit. I represent everybody to polite:you congratulate) On behalf of everybody I congratulate you.1. (2) Purpose: The action described by the second verb is the purpose of the yrst verb (often lái [to come] or qù [to go]): !" Tamen lái LúndEn (lit. (lit. The yrst verb often carries the aspect marker le: ! Ta xià le kè !5 huí jiA qù le. They came to London to visit us. lái ( ( ) ) Note: Coverbal phrases indicating [service] may often be used after [come] or qù [go] in a purpose serial construction: ! 5 Ta lái tì wn yùn ycfu.2 Semantic varieties in serial constructions The semantic relations between serial predicates or comments may belong to any of the following categories: (1) Sequence: The action of the yrst verb takes place before that of the second. Wn qù gli ta lmfà. Serial constructions 21.3. !" Wn dàibiKo dàjiA !5 xiàng nín zhùhè. 5 167 . she come for me iron clothes) She came to iron my clothes for me. Zánmen yuB (yC) gè shíjiAn 5 tán (yC ) tán ba. Note: As discussed in 8. they come London visit us) !5 tànwàng wNmen.

so-as-not-to make him sad) I did not tell him about this matter so as not to make him sad. words such as ymbiàn [so as to] and ymmikn [so as not to] are used before the second verbal expression. yMmiKn shm ta nánguò. etc. she said: [Thank you].: (lit. yMbiàn dào Zhdngguó qù lwyóu/lwxíng. (lit. (lit. Where the main verbal phrase is followed by a second verbal phrase which conveys no new information but reiterates the . To enhance the meaning of purpose (or lack of purpose). (lit. 3 / ( ) ! 3 5 (3) Ta xuéxí Zhdngwén. she grasp asp my shNu shud: hand say: thank-thank [Xièxie nm ]. I come talk-talk) I]ll say a few words. (lit. bm constructions (see Chapters 7 and 20). bèi. I come for you introduce one time) Let me introduce you. Nm néng yòng ZhDngwén shud ma? !9 (b) Using the aspect marker D zhe: D 7‘ ]5 Ta wòzhe wNde (lit. I not grasp this mw matter tell him. for example: (a) Using coverbs !" 5 yòng. (lit. Wn méi(ynu) bk zhèi jiàn shì gàosu ta. Wn lái gli nmmen jièshào yc xià. you can use Chinese say p) Can you say [it] in Chinese? Wnmen zuò diàntC shàng san lóu. so-that to China go travel) She is studying Chinese so that she can go and travel in China. you) Shaking my hand.III Sentences Sometimes lái may lose its motion meaning and simply indicate an intention: 5 !" !5 Wn lái tántán. ! 5 In constructions we have met which are essentially serial constructions. zuò. she studies Chinese. we sit lift go-up three zoor) We went up to the second zoor by lift. (c) 168 (4) bk.

you have what clothes want ironing p) What clothes have you got [for me] to iron? ! Nm yNu !"9 shénme ycfu yào yùn ma? ( ) 9 Nkr yNu (lit. you have reason not agree) You have reasons to disagree. (lit. where there-are cigarette (xiang)yan mài? sell) Where do they sell cigarettes? If the object of ynu is an abstract noun. indicating possession or existence. I bite asp one mw bread not-have swallow down-go) I took a bite from the bread but did not swallow it.same idea from a different perspective by means of a negative. I not-have responsibility tell her) I’m not responsible for letting her know. I not-have money use) I haven]t got any money to spend. is followed by its object and then by another verb (sometimes preceded by a modal verb) expressing intentional action directed back to the object: !"5 Wn méiyNu qián yòng. he catch hold me not let-go) He held me yrmly and didn]t let me go. antonymous expression: 5 !" ( ) 5 Ta zhua zhù wn bù fàng. (lit. (lit. (lit. (lit. the following verb phrase may be of any length. (lit. !" 5 Wn yNu yc fbng xìn yào xiL. expressing the need (or lack of need) for further action: !" 5 ! 5 Wn méiyNu zérèn gàosu ta. !" Nm méiyNu !" quánlì mli tian !"5 dào zhèr lái húshud badào. (lit. Wn ykole yc knu miànbao méi(yNu) tEn xiàqù. Serial constructions (5) Where the verb ynu. (lit. Nm yNu lMyóu bù tóngyì. you not-have right every day to here come talk-nonsense) You don]t have the right to come here and talk nonsense every day. 169 . I have one mw letter want write) I have got a letter to write.

kL’ài jí le. (adjective) D (lit. sit asp not move) Everybody quietened down and remained motionless in their seats.5 Causative constructions 170 A common form of serial construction is the causative construction. I post asp one mw postcard give colleague) I sent a postcard to my colleague. (lit. lovable to-the-extreme p) The kitten was extremely lovable as it jumped up and down. (lit. (lit.III Sentences 21. Note: See 8.4 Dative verbal expressions regularly feature in serial constructions. everybody quieten asp down.5 for a fuller discussion of direct and indirect objects. !"#3 Dàjia jìngle 5 xiàlái. This extended dative construction with gli generally does not apply in the case of verbs expressing speech activity: ! !5 NOT * Wn gàosu nm yc gè mìmì. A verb taking a direct object is followed by the verb gli with an indirect object: ! 5 Bàba mkile yc liàng qìchb gLi wn. zuòzhe bù dòng. (state verb) Dative constructions 21. (lit. I tell you one mw secret) I]ll tell you a secret. (lit. !" Wn jì le yc zhang !"#5 míngxìnpiàn gLi tóngshì. in which the object of the yrst verb becomes the subject of the second verb/adjective: . 21. father buy asp one mw car give me) Father bought a car for me. I tell one mw secret give you) Wn gàosu yc gè !"#5 mìmì gli nm.3 Adjectives or state verbs in serial constructions Adjectives or state verbs may be placed at any position in a serial construction to introduce a descriptive element into the narrative: ! "3 Xiko mao tiào !5 shàng tiào xià. little kitten jump up jump down.

!"5 Wn qMng ta chC fàn. ! Ta jiào wn bk He asked me to take out my !"5 hùzhào ná chelái. ràng ‘let’. Persuasion or requirement: yaoqiú ‘require’. cuc ‘press’. 5 ! ! 5 Wn quàn ta xué dk quán. ban’. (iv) Permission: !5 Father allowed me to go dancing. urge’. zozhm ‘prevent’. Tamen yào wn bié qù. (vi) Prevention: !" !5 jìnzhm ‘forbid. passport. Serial constructions Note 1: Verbs which produce a causative construction include those in the following semantic categories: (i) Request or command: =mìnglìng ‘order’. 171 . We elected him president. bc ‘force’. Bàba yOnxO wn qù tiàowo. quàn ‘persuade. The robber forced me to get out my money and hand it over to him. jiào ‘make’. Ta yào wn dào (fbi)j cchkng qù jib ta. ! 5 5 5 Wnmen xuKn ta dAng zhoxí. Zhèi tiáo lù jìnzhM huòchb tDngguò. Qiángdào bC wn bk qián ná chelái gli ta. zhon ‘permit’. pài ‘send’. The teacher required the students to pay attention to safety. She wanted me to go and meet her at the airport. yonxo ‘allow’. This made me very happy. (lit. (v) Coercion: ! !5 qiángpò ‘compel’. I urged her to learn shadow-boxing. (ii) Wish: ! ( ) 5 (iii) yào ‘want’. They wanted me not to go. qmng ‘ask’. Zhè shM wn hln gAoxìng. Lkoshc yAoqiú xuésheng zhùyì anquán. this mw road forbid lorry go through) Lorries are not allowed to use this road. I invited him to dinner.

tcng ‘listen to’. everyone. I]ll wait till you come. Qmng bié yòng shnu md zhknpmn. Qmng shud de màn yc diknr.6). she invite us look asp one mw ylm) She invited us to go and see a ylm. Listen to me. Wn dLng nm lái. (lit. 8. (lit. ask say p slow a little) Please speak more slowly. ask don]t use hand touch exhibits) Please don]t touch the exhibits with your hands. (1) With an object: !" 5 !" 5 Qmng nM bk zhèngjiàn ná chelái. T Cng wn shuD. (lit. Wn qmng tamen chcle yc dùn fàn. (lit./ Would everyone please be quiet. (lit. (lit. If necessary. I invite them eat asp one mw food) I invited them for a meal. Note 2: Causative verbs do not take aspect markers: * ! !5 Wn bC le ta qù kàn ycshbng. I force asp him go see doctor) I forced him to go and see the doctor. the second verb may incorporate aspect markers: !"# !5 ! !"5 Ta qmng wnmen kànle yc cháng diànymng. 172 . (2) Without an object: 5 !5 !5 Qmng zài shud yc biàn. (lit. 21.1 Qmng in a causative construction Polite requests are often a serial construction using the causative verb qmng ‘ask politely] (cf. ask again say one time) Please say it again. ask you grasp document take out-come) Please take out your documents.5. Qmng dàjiA anjìng yc diknr.III Sentences (vii) Others: !5 dlng ‘wait’. (lit. ask everybody quiet a little) Please be quiet.

(lit. D 22 22.5. qmng ta gbn ! wnmen ycqm qù !5 kàn diànymng. dàizhe dìdi kai chb dào 3 Xiko Lm jia. the second verb (i.6 Extended serial constructions All the predicate (or comment) types mentioned above may. yNu yc fbng xìn yào jiao gli ta. The most common is to focus on a particular word or phrase through sentence stress. Emphasis and the intensifier shì (2) Referring to the object: 3 ! / ( ) 5 Wn qmng ta bangzhù wn. I asked her help me. teach me how read those two mw Chinese-characters) I asked her to help me and teach me how to read those two Chinese characters. (lit. combine in longer serial constructions: !3 Wn xmle zko. !3 huànle ycfu. [as] I had a letter to pass on to her. have one mw letter want hand-over give her) I asked her to wait for me at the library. 21. I make-appointment her at library wait-for me. change asp clothes. of course. I wash asp bath. jiAo wn zlnme dú/niàn nà/nèi likng gè (hàn)zì.e. bring asp younger-brother drive car to Xiao Li home. ask him with us together go see ylm) Having taken a bath and changed my clothes.21.2 Extended causative constructions In an extended causative construction. (lit. 173 .1 Emphasis and the intensiyer shì Shì as an intensifier Emphasis in language can be conveyed in various ways. I drove with my younger brother to Xiao Li]s place and asked him to go with us to see a ylm. next but one) after the causative verb may refer to either the object or the subject of the causative verb: (1) Referring to the subject: ! !"3 ! !5 Wn yub ta zài túshegukn dlng wn.

shì may be used in conjunction with de to highlight the adverbials or modifying elements in a sentence. etc. she int at Singapore be-born p) She was born in Singapore. (lit. e. coverbal phrases indicating location. . with de) and in those referring to the continuous present or future (i. method. shì . or [purpose] constructions beginning with lái or qù. Wnmen shì cóng CháoxiAn lái de. . Sentence stress is the concern of phonology. . we int from Korea come p) We come from Korea. It is as if a statement with the .. (1) Time expressions: ! 5 ! ! 9 (2) Wn shì zuótiAn lái de.: Ta shì zài XCnjiApD shbng/ cheshì de. (lit. Nm shì zuò chB háishi zNulù lái de? (lit. de construction represents an answer to a question about when. at the hands of whom. time expressions. etc. I int yesterday come p) I came yesterday. you int last-year or thisyear arrive p) Did you arrive here last year or this year? Coverbal phrases indicating location. (lit. adverbial phrases of manner. we have seen how change in word order can bring about different emphases. . how.2 The shì . Shì is placed immediately before the adverbial expression or verb followed by purpose expression/ complement. shì appears as int[ensiyer]./It was yesterday that I came. generally without de). de construction Where an event or action took place in the past.g. In our discussion of subjectpredicate and topic-comment constructions. and de generally comes at the end of the sentence.e.. Nm shì qùnián háishi jCnnián dào de? (lit. What concerns us here is the use of the verb shì as an intensiYer to highlight speciyc elements in a sentence. an action took place. We will distinguish between its use in sentences referring to the past (i. instrument. method or instrument.III Sentences word order or other intensifying devices.) 22. where. to what purpose. and we will not dwell on it here. you int sit car or walk-road come p) Did you come by car or on foot? / 5 ! !5 ! ! 174 9 .e. (In the literal translations of the examples in this chapter..

(lit. Complements of manner: ! Wnmen shì tán !"5 de hLn tóujC de. . Qìchb shì ràng sCjC gLi xie hko de. !5 ! 5 (6) ! Chuán shì mànmàn de chén dào hki dm qù de. she int honest p tell me p) She told me honestly. shì . Note: In colloquial speech. !" Tamen shì wánr de fBicháng 5 gAoxìng de.!" Wn shì yòng !"5 máobM xil zhèi fbng xìn de. Emphasis and the intensifier shì (lit. Ta shì qù zhko nm de. shì may often be omitted from the He came yesterday. Tamen zuò fbijc qù de ma? 175 . we int talk p very congenial p) We had a very congenial conversation. (lit. (lit.. I int come see illness p) I]ve come to see the doctor. (lit.. he int go ynd you p) He went to look for you. washing-machine int by her mess-with bad p) The washingmachine was damaged by her. I int use pen-brush write this mw letter p) I wrote this letter with a writing brush. lái or qù: [Purpose] constructions beginning with 5 5 Wn shì lái kàn bìng de. boat int slow p sink to the bottom go p) The boat slowly sank to the bottom of the sea. 5 !5 (5) Adverbial phrases of manner: Ta shì lKolKoshíshí de gàosu wn de. car int by driver by repair good p) The car was repaired by the driver. . . Did they go by plane? Ta zuótian lái de. de structure: !"5 !" ? (lit. (lit. (lit. (3) (lit. they int play p extremely high-spirited p) They had an extremely good time. (4) Bèi or similar phrase introducing an agent: Xmycjc shì bèi tA nòng huài de.

(lit. int policeman/woman catch hold thief p) It was the policeman/ woman who caught the thief.2 Shì . I int buy p soap) I bought some soap. .. de construction... but the topic is emphatic by deynition and cannot be intensiyed by a . (lit. de sentences The . Zhèi bln xikoshud shì shéi/shuí xil de? Nèi bbi kafbi shì wN dào gli nm de. Bù comes before shì: . she int drink p orange-juice) She drank orange juice.. (1) If the emphasis is on the subject. .2. . may only be negated by bù (not by ( ) méi(ynu)).1 Subject and object emphasis in shì . . (lit. that mw coffee int I pour give you p) (It was) I (who) poured that cup of coffee for you. 22..4). Ta shì hb de !5 júzishum. ! !5 ! !9 Shì jMngchá zhua zhù xikotdu de. . int letter I post p) (2) If the emphasis is on the object of a verb. . shì is placed before the verb. Therefore. . (lit. shì . shì . shì . int I hit break this mw cup/mug) I was the one who broke this cup/mug. the sequence [ = shì topic | subject-predicate =de] is impossible: * !"5 Shì xìn wn jì de. . though it refers to past events. the subject: ! Shì wN dk pò !"5 zhèi gè bbizi de. The subject embedded in this structure can be emphasised. while de comes before the object instead of at the end of the sentence: 5 Wn shì mki de féizào.. ! ! 5 Note: The last two sentences above are topic | subject-predicate constructions (see 18. shì is placed directly before (lit. de construction. de construction and bù 176 The . .2. (lit. de construction may also be used to emphasise either the subject or the object of the verb. this mw novel int who write p) Who wrote this novel?/Who was this novel written by? (lit. .III Sentences 22.

with time expressions.e. subject: !9 Shì nM qù ma? (lit. shì is placed immediately before the predicate verb.3 Shì without de for progression and projection When shì is used for emphasis in relation to present continuous or projected events or actions. (lit. (lit. de structure (i. . !" Bù shì wn gàosu !"5 ta zhèi jiàn shì de.! 5 Wn bù shì lái jiè qián de. ! !5 Wnmen bù shì zuò diànchB qù. ! Wnmen nèi tian !"5 bù shì chc de yú. (lit. and to emphasise either subject or object: !"5 Wn shì míngtiAn lái. int you go p) Will you be going? (lit.1 Contexts for shì (without de) sentences Shì can be employed in the contexts listed under 22. but the object will naturally be stressed in speech: 177 . (2) and (3) for the . coverbal phrases and [purpose] constructions). If the emphasis is on the object. they int go seaside spendholiday) They are going to the seaside for [their] holidays. it generally occurs alone without de. (lit. . shì is placed immediately before the If the emphasis is on the subject. we that day not int eat p ysh) We didn]t eat Ysh that day. shì . ! Shì tA ycnggai !"5 xiàng dàjia dàoqiàn. int she must towards everybody say-sorry) She]s the one who should apologise to everybody. . not int I tell her this mw matter p) I wasn]t the one who told her about this. (lit. we not int travel-by tram go) We won]t be going by tram. . I not int come borrow money p) I]ve not come to borrow money. Emphasis and the intensifier shì 22. 22. (lit. I int tomorrow come) I]ll be coming tomorrow. ! Tamen shì dào !"5 hKibiAn qù dùjià.2 (1).3.

they int want eat ice-cream) It is ice-cream that they want to eat. 178 . I not int go quarrel) I am not going (in order) to have a row. your house int compare mine big) Your house really is bigger than mine. Wn bù shì qù chkojià. (lit.3.3 Shì and negation shì . (lit.. like that of . I int go see her) I am going to see her. In addition. I speak Chinese int not-have you speak p good) I really don]t speak Chinese as well as you do. ( 22. we not int on foot go) We are not going on foot. It is placed immediately before bm in afyrmative and ( ) méi(ynu) in negative comparisons: ! !"5 ! ) !5 Nmde fángzi shì bm wnde dà. 22. is formed by placing bù before shì: ! 5 5 Wnmen bù shì znulù qù. (lit. .2 Shì and comparison Shì is also used alone to emphasise a comparison construction. de The negative of shì sentences.4 Shì and topic-comment sentences The above discussion has focused on shì as an intensiyer of elements in the predicate that modify the verb (adverbials.III Sentences !"5 !" / Wn shì qù kàn tA. (lit. [purpose] constructions.. Wn shud Zhdngwén shì méi(ynu) nm shud de hko. etc. Tamen shì xikng 5 chc bCngjilíng/ bCngqílíng. . (lit. 22.3. (lit.) or subjects/objects of the verb. sentences. shì as an intensiyer may occur alone in topic-comment sentences with gradable adjectives or state verbs.

(lit. (lit. !"5 Wnmen shì cuò le. this mw question int can klym tí chelái. Wn shì chcguo wdniú. all have an undertone of reservation or contradiction. we int wrong p) We are wrong.4. It is often the case that the implicit reservation in such sentences is immediately made explicit by a contradictory statement: !3 5 ! !3 ! 5 Ta shì cdngming. raise out-come) This question can be raised. Zhèi gè gdngzuò wn shì xm huan. (lit. Zhèi gè wèntí shì (lit. jiao]ào le. kLshì xcnshum tài shko. Tamen shì bù gaoxìng.(1) Gradable adjectives: !5 Ta shì hln ki. 179 . but too bùguò tài proud p) He is clever. she int very short) She is short. but he]s too conceited. (lit. he int clever.1 Shì implying reservation The sentences in 22. It can also be introduced in a subject-predicate sentence where the emphasis is on the whole predicate. this mw job I int like. Its presence in effect makes the sentence topic-comment: !5 ! 5 5 !" !"5 Wnmen shì qùle san cì./It]s our fault. (lit. Tamen shì bù zhcdao. they int not happy) They are unhappy. (lit. but salary too little) I do like this job. they int not know) They really don]t know. we int go asp three-times) We (really) did go three times. 22. in fact. (lit. but the salary is too little. I int eat snail) I have eaten snails. I ill p) I am ill. Emphasis and the intensifier shì 5 (2) State verbs: !5 Wn shì bìng le. (lit.4. (lit.

(lit. bù. nevertheless too expensive p) (It is true) that book is good. while a Chinese person will probably make a modest denial such as . no) Not at all. that mw book good int good. (lit. (being modest) !" 3 3 !5 Note: When praised. disagreement. I come help you busy) I]ll come and help you.. (polite response to thanks) . this mw job/work I like int like. Wn lái bang nm máng.. an English speaker is likely to say [thank you]. Bù. bù. (lit.III Sentences 22. bùguò tài guì le. . no. OK. Wn zìjm lái. no. emphasis in Chinese may also be expressed through repetition. 22. bù. (lit. but it is too expensive. (lit. Nm Ycngwén shud de zhbn hko. thanks or welcome are expressed: A: B: A: B: A: !5 B: 3 3 5 3 3 !9 3 5 Zhèi yàng xíng ma? Xíng. qmng jìn. It was nothing. . bù. xíng. no. huanyíng. Please come in. 5 Nkli. this type OK p) Will this do? (lit. . bù. bù. ) I do like this job. no. . dànshì . (lit. . but .4. Bù. but . .2 ‘Verb/Adjective + shì + Verb/Adjective’ implying reservation The pattern of this last structure (in 22. This occurs particularly when agreement.1) in colloquial speech can take the form of [verb– shì–verb] or [adjective– shì–adjective]: !" 3 . no. no. !"!3 Nèi bln she hKo !"5 shì hKo. Zhèi gè gdngzuò wn xMhuan shì xMhuan. 3 3 3 180 5 Huanyíng. I]ll manage myself. OK) It is perfectly all right. Welcome. xíng.4. . OK.5 Repetition and emphasis Apart from the use of the intensiyer shì. you English speak p really good) You speak really good English. 5 Qmng jìn. (lit. nkli. no. bù. I self come) No.

of course. the spoken or written text that precedes and/or follows). respectfully-[wish]-happy) Congratulations! 5 Gdngxm. ceremony. Chinese makes use of abbreviated expressions when allowed or demanded by the context (i. the actual situation in which the utterance takes place). or Make yourself at home. Similarly. (in response to xièxie) Bié kèqi. Bù xiè. Duìbuqm. There is. (lit. the subject and/or object may be omitted in response to a question (see 17. or thank-thank you) Thanks. Hln/zhbn bàoqiàn. or Thank you.2). (lit.e. or 5 .23 23. 23. This is possible because the sentence is formulated within a cotext (i. Others include: màn znu ‘take care’ (lit. all way peace-safe). For example. (lit. Bù kèqi. ! yc lù píng]an ‘have a safe/pleasant journey’ (lit. already observed. for Chinese to omit words from a sentence that are not strictly necessary for the meaning. not thank.2 Conventional abbreviations as subjectless sentences Conventional abbreviations normally take the form of subjectless sentences and occur in the following types of expression: (1) Thanks.e. or 5 . respectfully-[wish]-happy. (lit.: . There is also a tendency. gdngxm. (lit. xcnko le ‘you must be tired (after such a long journey)/ sorry to have put you to so much trouble’ (lit. face not rise) Sorry. apologies. or !5 5 / 3 5 Xièxie. (lit. don]t polite) Don]t stand on Bù yào kèqi. slow walk) (said when seeing off a guest). likely to be some overlap between context and cotext. Xièxie nm. etc. good wishes.1 Abbreviation and omission Three types of abbreviation Abbreviation and omission Like most languages. or not polite) You]re welcome. thank-thank. Chinese has a considerable number of conventional phrases or constructions which habitual usage has made acceptable despite apparent grammatical incompleteness. tiring p). very/really be-apologetic) [I] must apologise. ! 181 .

start/hold meeting p). commendation. please no over-all-zoor suídì die lajc! throw rubbish) No litter! (lit. etc. (2) Approval. jiùmìng a ‘help!’ (lit. good) That]s good/All right. zhbn qiko a ‘what a coincidence’ (lit. Others include: méi guanxì ‘never mind/it doesn]t matter’ (lit. 5 Xikoxcn. (lit. (usually when presenting a piece of writing. ! jìng nm yc bbi ‘your health’! (lit.: 5 5 Qmngbiàn. etc. really coincidental p). warnings. very fragrant/savoury p). respectfully-[offer] you one cup/glass). not important) It doesn]t matter. remember close door) Remember to close the door. please no inhale-smoke) No smoking! Qmng wù (lit. again-see). correct) (You]re) right! (lit. (lit. or Do as you please. please convenient) Please yourself. (lit. zàijiàn ‘goodbye’ (lit.III Sentences zhù nm shbntm jiànkang ‘wish you good health’ (lit. Qmng zhmzhèng. no concern). wish you body healthy). (lit. !5 Jìde guan mén. cheers’ (lit. small concern) Be careful. not allow stop car) No parking (on these premises). (4) Standard prohibitions. etc. save life p). Others include: kàn hko ‘look out/watch out’ (lit. (lit. dry glass). Bù yàojmn. gan bbi ‘bottoms up. often found as public notices: !8 Qmng wù xcyan! ! 8 (lit. look well). (3) Requests. or Take care. (lit. and politely seeking opinion) (lit.: 8 5 5 Duì! Hko. !8 Bù zhon tíng chb! 182 !8 Jìnzhm rù nèi! . méi wèntí ‘no problem’. forbid enter inside) No entry. please point-correct) Please make comments/corrections. kaihuì le ‘let]s start (the meeting)’ (lit. hko xiang a ‘how sweet (of smell)/how tasty’ (lit.

’ (lit. (lit. characteristic of oral or written narrative: !" XiKngbudào !"5 huì zài zhèr jiàn dào nm. (lit. bù liào . afraid I catch-cold p) [I] am afraid I have caught a cold. qm wù le ‘it]s getting foggy’. . . 5 Others include: . not know he tomorrow come not come) [I] don]t know whether he is coming tomorrow or not. . . tcng shud . 183 . out sun p) The sun is out. not expect). . . shkn diàn le ‘it]s lightning’. . live till old. think-not-reach can at here bump into you) [I] never thought/expected [I] would see you here. . Others include: gua fbng le ‘it]s windy’. .’ (lit. fall rain p) It]s raining. . (lit. (lit. self that-which not want. jìde . . dk shuang le ‘it]s frosty/there]s a frost’. Jm sun bù yù. hear say). learn till old) It]s never too late to learn. . ! ! BùzhCdao ta 5 míngtian lái bù lái. . (lit. . (lit. donot impose on people) Do unto others as you would be done by. ‘[I] remember . ‘[I] have heard that . . (7) Statements about the weather (often including a change in the weather. Abbreviation and omission (6) Sentence starters. ChE tàiyáng le. .3 Contextual abbreviation Contextual abbreviation usually takes the form of a one-word (or twoword) expression. . remember)./You’re never too old to learn (lit. KNngpà wn gknmào le. ‘unexpectedly . . dk léi le ‘it]s thundering’. xué dào lko. . . or a realisation about the state of the weather on the part of the speaker – see discussion on sentence le in Chapter 16): 5 !5 Xià yo le.’ (lit. 23. wù shc yú rén.(5) Proverbial sayings: 3 5 !3 !5 Huó dào lko.

numbers/demonstratives with measures and attributives with de do not need to be followed by a noun once that noun has been identiyed: zhèi gè dì san gè 184 wnde this one the third one mine . Tickets. (said perhaps by a bus conductor) (3) Enquiring about the [whereabouts] of something or the [condition] of somebody: 9 9 9 Xié ne? Qián ne? Nm ne? Where are the shoes? Where is the money? How about you? 9 Tamen ne? How about them? (4) Written instructions: ( ) ( ) nán(cè) nw(cè) wú rén ynu rén tuc la gentlemen (lit. Fire! A letter (for you). no people) engaged (of lavatory) (lit. man-lavatory) ladies (lit. have people) push pull 23. female-lavatory) vacant (of lavatory) (lit. Hello) Old Li! Waiter! (2) Calling attention to something: 8 5 5 Hun! Xìn.III Sentences (1) Calling out to somebody: 8 8 8 Wèi! Lko Lm! Fúwùyuán! Hello! Hey! (or on the telephone. Piào.4 Cotextual omissions Cotextual omissions take a number of forms. As observed earlier.

know) Yes. especially pronouns. not like) No.4. subsequent reference may be to the headword alone. (lit. (lit. omissions of previous references are similarly possible.3 Contextual/cotextual omissions in extended passages In written or spoken passages. positive or negative answers to a question are regularly expressed by repeating the verb in the question. becomes unnecessary: Q: !"#$%9 Nm xmhuan zhèi jiàn máoyc ma? (lit. and ! jcngshénbìng yuàn [mental hospital]. Cotextual omissions in answers As seen in 17. 5Rènshi. Thus when it is already clear that references are to respectively ! gdngòng qìchb [bus].2. usually the verb is retained as the core element. the following sentences can occur: !9 !( ) 9 5 23. With cotextual abbreviations. Where do we wait for the bus? When do we board the helicopter? He has already been admitted to the mental hospital. like) Yes. you know her p) Do you know her? A: 5Xmhuan.2 Wnmen zài nkr dlng chB? Wnmen jmdikn (zhdng) dbng jC ? Ta ymjing rù yuàn le.4. once the noun is identiyed. not know) No. you like this mw sweater p) Do you like this sweater? !"9 Nm rènshi ta ma? (lit. 5Bù xmhuan.! ! 23. 5Bù rènshi. Q: A: 23. (lit. (lit.1 Wáng xiansheng de huáng sè de zuótian mki de Mr Wang]s yellow one(s) the one(s) bought yesterday Abbreviation and omission Cotextual omissions and headwords Where a noun is made up of a deyning element and a headword. ! zhíshbng fbijc [helicopter]. and repetition of other parts of the sentence. because the reader or listener is able to make sense of the material on the basis of contextual/cotextual evidence: 185 .4.

5 jcnhòu klym chóngxil. It is possible. 24 24. the clauses are then bound together in rhythmic or lexical balance or contrast (see 24. Here we deal with composite sentences. 3 shud kàn hòu.. Note: We have discussed conjunctions that link words and expressions. but not those that link clauses. 24. When the second type of construction has no conjunctions or conjunctives. however. it becomes a serial construction. We deal here yrst with sentences marked by conjunctions or conjunctives. we looked at serial constructions. etc. dànshì. saying that after [she] had read [it] could [she] please correct [it]. klshì.III Sentences Wn yòng Zhdngwén xille yc pian !3 wénzhang gli 3 wn lanshc kàn.) or in related pairs (e. bùguò [but].. hé. The common feature of these two types of composite sentence is that their parts are usually linked by conjunctions and/or conjunctives.3 below). (so that) afterwards [I] could re-write [it].1 Composite sentences: conjunctions and conjunctives Types of composite sentence In Chapter 21. please correct.g. ! ! (lit.2 Conjunctions and conjunctives 186 Conjunctions in Chinese occur independently (e. (see Chapter 1). / fnuzé/ bùrán [otherwise]. e.g. say look after. Such omissions are possible because the speaker/writer is conydent that the passage is intelligible on the basis of contextual/ cotextual evidence. in which a subject (or topic) is followed by more than one verb (or adjective) without any linking device(s). or (2) more than one predicate or comment pertaining to the same subject or topic.g. The seven bracketed pronouns in the translation are not present in the Chinese original. I use Chinese write asp one mw essay give my teacher look. ! qmng zhmzhèng. . We use this term to describe sentences which have either (1) more than one clause in a coordinated or subordinated relationship. . / sunym/ycncm [therefore]. afterwards can re-write) I wrote an essay in Chinese and gave [it] to my teacher to look at. gbn. etc. for the yrst type of construction to have no conjunctions or conjunctives.

though that mw child very intelligent. . dànshì xuéxí bù gòu nolì.. .. . because mother ill asp.]. (lit. The conjunction in the yrst clause may alternatively come after the subject. it can be seen that pairs of related conjunctions (e.. .]. . (lit.g. that mw child though very intelligent.. .. .3). . on the other hand. we give-way asp.): !"3 ! !5 . yàoshi. . Conjunctives. . . etc. sunym . dànshì xuéxì bù gòu nolì. . . (lit. [because . etc. .. . . jikrú [if]. cái [only then].g. (lit. . ycnwèi . Conjunctives also occur as related pairs (e. but in compound sentences occur at the beginning of the second (main) clause after the subject to link that clause to the previous (subordinate) clause. (therefore) I stayed at home to nurse her.’ etc.. [both .. (however) he does not study hard enough.). Wnmen tuìràngle. !"3 !" 5 Nm rúguN méi kòng. . . but study not sufycient hard) Though that child is very clever. . but they still would not agree. we]ll talk [about it] another day. . (however) . sucrán and dànshì) are split such that one is placed at the beginning of the yrst clause and the other at the beginning of the second. Composite sentences: conjunctions and conjunctives From the second and third examples above. (therefore) . . . but study not sufycient hard) Though that child is very clever. are adverbs such as jiù [then]. wnmen jiù gkitian tán ba. . . but they kLshì tamen still not agree) We gave way hái bù tóngyì. yc . . . sucrán . . !"3 Y Cnwèi mama !/ bìng le. .]. . . ycnwèi and sunym. (lit. . we then change-day talk p) If you are busy. yòu . . you if not free. . The previous clause may include a conjunction such as rúgun. . [although . jiù . which function as referential adverbs in simple sentences (see 14.. !"# 3 ! !5 SuCrán nèi gè háizi hln cdngming. . . (however) he does not study hard enough. chúfbi [unless]. . .). . . generally when the two clauses share the same subject: ! !"3 ! !5 Nèi gè háizi suCrán hln cdngming. 187 .. . . therefore I stay at home in nurse her) Because mother was ill. yòu . . [as soon as . . and . dànshì . etc. suNyM !"5 wn dai zài jia li kanhù ta.

(lit. fnuzé [otherwise]) Wn méi ynu qián. microwave-stove p) I don]t have any money. quick go p. choice. concession. I not-have money. addition. (lit. =bùguò [however]) (lit. but sleep not attain) He wanted to have a sleep but could not go to sleep. otherwise I would have bought a microwave.1 Meanings and functions of composite sentences Composite sentences have a wide range of meanings and functions. otherwise you probably late-arrive p) Be quick. supposition. but we have a beautiful garden. kLshì shuì bù zháo. We will give examples in the following categories: contrast. he want sleep one while. 24. preference. you if not free. condition. klshì [but]) Kuài znu ba. fNuzé nm huì chídào de. (then) we]ll talk [about it] another day. (conjunction: =jiù [then]) !3 ( ) 5 188 (conjunction: . cause and effect. but have (one) mw very beautiful garden) Our house is small. bùguò ynu (yc ) gè hln piàoliàng de huayuán. (lit. bùrán wn jiù mki otherwise I then buy wbibdlú le. and time relations: (1) Contrast: 3 D5 (conjunction: 3 ! 5 (conjunction: !3 !" !5 Ta xikng shuì yc huìr. nàme wnmen jiù gkitian tán ba. inference. =bùrán [otherwise]. or you]ll be late.III Sentences Sometimes a second conjunction may be included with the conjunctive in the second clause: !"3 !" !5 Nm rúguN méi kòng. our house very small. reinforced by conjunctive: Wnmen de fángzi hln xiko. [non-condition]. in-that-case we then change-day talk p) If you are busy.2. (lit.

fKn’ér zéguài biérén. (then) he is smoking. (however) she did not want to touch any food. érqiL hln moreover very hardworking) yònggdng./Either they would come or we would go. érqil [moreover]) 189 (conjunction: . (3) Addition: !3 !"5 Ta hln cdngming. not-be they come. he not-be inhalecigarette then-be drink-wine) If he is not drinking. She is very intelligent. Composite sentences: conjunctions and conjunctives (lit. you may pay cash or write cheque) You may pay cash or by cheque. she though very hungry. sucrán [though] and dànshì (paired conjunctions: [but]) !3 ! 5 Ta bùdàn bù zébèi zìjm. she very intelligent. jiùshì [then]) (paired conjunctions: !"3 !"5 bùshì [if not] and Bùshì tamen lái. he not-only not blame oneself. fán]ér [on (paired conjunctions: the contrary]) (2) Choice: ! ! 5 (conjunction: ! 5 bùdàn [not only] and Nm klym fù xiànjcn huòzhL kai zhcpiào. on-the-contrary blame others) Not only did he not blame himself but he laid blame on others. (lit. then-be we go) If they didn]t come. (lit. but not want eat rice) Though she was very hungry. dànshì bù xikng chc fàn. (lit. (lit.!"3 ! 5 Ta suCrán hln è. jiùshì wnmen qù. =huòzhl [or]) Ta bùshì chduyan jiùshì hbjio. (then) we would go. and also extremely diligent. (lit.

they lost their way. / (lit. (lit. In cause and effect sentences. he not-only scold people but-also hit people) He not only used abusive language but also resorted to blows. suNyM mílù le. bùjmn/ bùdàn [not only] and (paired conjunctions: érqil [but also]) (4) Cause and effect: 3 ! 5 (conjunction: ! !3 !"5 Ta bìng le. ycncm [therefore]) YCnwèi tamen méi dài dìtú. therefore lose-way p) Because they did not have a map with them. therefore not come attend banquet) He was ill and so did not come to the banquet. yóuyú [owing to]) Note: Yóuyú may often be used in the yrst clause without any conjunction or conjunctive in the second clause. (lit. contest suspend) Owing to bad weather. he ill p. ycnwèi [because] and (lit. Sometimes ycnwèi is preceded by shì [to be]: ( ( 190 ) ) 3 ! !5 Wn méi(ynu) qù jiàn tamen. owing-to weather not good.III Sentences / ! 5 Ta bùjMn/bùdàn mà rén érqiL dk rén. (shì) yCnwèi wn ynu lìngwài yc gè yubhuì. and the second (subordinate) clause begins with ycnwèi [because]. the contest was postponed. sunym (paired conjunctions: [therefore]) ! 3 5 (conjunction: Yóuyú tianqì bù hko. I not go see them (be) because I have another one mw appointment) I didn]t go and see them because I had another appointment. . bmsài zàntíng. (lit. the [effect] may be expressed before the [cause]. yCncM méi lái canjia yànhuì. The yrst (main) clause is then unmarked. because they not bring map.

we had better not wait for them (then). (6) Condition: !"3 ! !5 ZhMyào nm xikoxcn. (lit. (lit. (conjunction: jiù [then]) !" 3 !"5 zhmyào [provided]. only-if you study well Chinese. because he had had too much to drink. (lit. since you not comfortable. jiù bù huì che shénme wèntí. don]t come (then).!" !" 5 Ta terán yendko le yCnwèi ta hb le tài dud de jio. he suddenly faint-fall p because he drink asp too much p wine/spirit) He suddenly passed out. linked with conjunctive: . linked with conjunctive: ZhMyNu nm xué hko Zhdngwén. you only-then can go China work) Only if you do well in your study of Chinese will you (then) be able to go and work in China. linked with conjunctive: Jìrán tamen shud bù lái. cái 191 (conjunction: ‘only then’) zhmynu ‘only if’. jiù jìrán [since]. since they say not come. there won]t be any problem. provided you smallconcern. we then don]t wait-for them p) Since they said that they would not come. nm cái néng qù Zhdngguó gdngzuò. then don]t come p) Since you aren]t well. jiù bié lái le. (lit. then not likely emerge any problem) Provided you are careful. wnmen jiù bié dlng tamen le. Composite sentences: conjunctions and conjunctives (5) Inference: 3 !5 (conjunction: [then]) ! 3 ! !5 Jìrán nm bù shefu. (lit.

I]m going on foot. I all walk-road go) Whether it]s yne or raining. linked with conjunctive: 192 . unless you go convince them. wn jiù tì nm xil huíxìn. linked with conjunctive: Nm rúguN yuànyì. wúlùn [regardless]. unless you go convince them. wnmen yL ànzhào jìhuà chefa. (conjunction: yl [also]) ! !3 !"5 (conjunction: ddu [all]) (8) Supposition: !"3 ! 5 (conjunction: [then]) bùgukn [no matter]. no-matter she come not come. regardless sky yne or fall rain. they only-then likely agree cooperate) Only if you go and convince them will they (then) agree to cooperate. linked with conjunctive: Wúlùn tian qíng háishi xià yo. tamen cái huì tóngyì hézuò. (lit. (7) [Non-condition]: 3 !" 5 BùguKn ta lái bù lái. otherwise they won]t agree to cooperate. I then for you write reply-letter) I]ll reply to the letter for you if you want. fNuzé/ bùrán tamen bù huì tóngyì hézuò. (lit. cái chúfbi [unless]. otherwise they not likely agree cooperate) You must go and convince them. we]ll still set out according to plan. jiù rúgun [if]. we also according-to plan set-out) No matter whether she turns up or not. wn dDu znulù qù. fnuzé/bùrán (lit. you if willing.III Sentences ! !3 ! !5 (conjunction: [only then]) ChúfBi nm qù shudfú tamen. (lit. linked with conjunctive: / Note: chúfbi is also regularly paired with [otherwise]: 3 !"# / ! " !5 ChúfBi nm qù shudfú tamen. (lit.

either alone or with one of the conjunctions rúgun. nm zlnme bàn? (lit. wnmen jiù qù huáxul. wn jiù qù !5 diànhuàtíng dk. you how manage) How do you manage if there isn]t any heating in winter? (conjunction: jikrú [if]. I then go telephone-booth make-a-call) I]ll go and use the public telephone if there isn]t one at their place. (lit. I also not afraid) Even if it is dangerous. we then go ski) We]ll go skiing if it snows tomorrow. linked with conjunctive: yl [also]) . linked with conjunctive: JiKrú ddngtian méi ynu nuknqì. I]m (still) not afraid. if their home not-have telephone. though weather not good. . . ( ) !3 ! 5 (9) Concession: (a) Míngtian (rúguN) xià xul de huà. since the second clause is a question. no linking conjunction or conjunctive is necessary) Note: The phrase . 193 (conjunction: / jíshm/jiùsuàn [even if/though]. (lit. linked with conjunctive: háishi [still]) (b) referring to the future: / JíshM/jiùsuàn 3 hln wbixikn. contest still as-usual go-on) Though the weather was not good. even-if very dangerous. the match was held as planned. jiù [then]) Composite sentences: conjunctions and conjunctives (conjunction: ! !3 !9 yàoshi [if]. (lit.!" Yàoshi tamen jia !3 méi ynu diànhuà. (lit. jikrú. bmsài háishi zhàocháng jìnxíng. . (conjunction: jìngukn [although]. yàoshi earlier in the clause. suppose winter there-isn]t heating. referring to the past: ! 3 5 ! JìnguKn tianqì bù hko. de huà [if] may be used at the end of the yrst clause. !5 wn yL bù pà. . . tomorrow (if ) fall snow that-is-the-case.

hái [still]) (lit. I as-soon-as wash ynish bath then up bed sleep p) As soon as I had ynished my bath/shower. better-to go-out walk-walk) (I) would rather go out for a walk than stay at home. ta hái 5 méi(ynu) lái. yL bù chc gnuròu. (lit. linked with conjunctive: yl [also]) (10) Preference: D3 !" 5 YOqí zài jia li daizhe. (conjunction: nkpà [even if/though]. rather-than at home-in stay asp. bùrú che qù znuznu. I also want ynd time study Chinese) Even if things get even busier. (lit. (paired conjunctives: (b) not yet ( ( ) 194 !" Wn dlng dào )3 xiàwo likng dikn (zhdng). he still not come) I waited till two o]clock in the afternoon [but] he still had not turned up. yoqí [rather than] and bùrú (paired conjunction: [better to]) !"3 Wn nìngkL !"5 è sm. linked with conjunctive: yl bù [and definitely not]) (11) Time relations: (a) as soon as !" Wn yC xm wán zko jiù shàng 5 chuáng shuìjiào le. (lit. wn yL yào chdu shíjian xué Zhdngwén. I would-rather hungry die.III Sentences ! 3 ! 5 NKpà shìqing zài dud. (lit. I wait till afternoon two o]clock. I (then) went to bed. also never eat dog-meat) I would rather starve to death than eat dog-meat. (conjunction: nìngkl [would rather]. I will still ynd time to study Chinese. even-though affairs more much. jiù [then]) =yc [once] and (conjunctive: .

(lit. . (conjunction: yúshì [thereupon]. . . so (then) I went over (to her). 195 . dàjia jiù zhàn qmlái le. de shí hou [when . so I then go across) She started weeping. . Before the performance (of the play) had ended. When the judge entered. . reinforced by conjunctive: jiù [then]) ! !3 5 Wnmen hkohao de shuì le yc jiào. I do ynish coursework only-then down stairs go watch television) I did not go downstairs to watch television until I had ynished my coursework. . ránhòu jiù qù yóuynng. . . everyone (then) stood up. ymqián [before . . . and then we went swimming. Fkguan jìn lái de shíhou. . yúshì wn jiù znu guòqù.] (see 10. . . . the audience booed.. ránhòu are often accompanied by the Note 2: The expressions .] and . (lit.3) are also regularly linked with jiù [then] in the main clause: !" ! 5 !" 3 !5 !"# !"5 Xì ykn wán yMqián guanzhòng jiù hb dàocki le. we well-well p sleep asp one sleep. Composite sentences: conjunctions and conjunctives (conjunctive: (d) then !3 ! 5 cái [only then]) Ta ke qmlái. .. . (lit. after-that then go swim) We had a good sleep. telephone me. .]. she cry/weep start. gli wn dk diànhuà. Nm dào le yMhòu jiù After you]ve arrived.(c) only then !" ! 5 Wn zuò wán gdngkè cái xià lóu qù kàn diànshì. . . (conjunction: ránhòu [after that]. reinforced by conjunctive: jiù [then]) Note 1: Yúshì and conjunctive jiù. . ymhòu [after .

. . Note: Other commonly used conjunctives of this type are: .. yòu . .2 Paired conjunctives There are a few conjunctives which repeat to form related pairs. In a sentence. yuè . This is done in a number of ways: (1) By repeating the same interrogative adverb or pronoun in the second clause: 3 5 Shéi she. . He ran faster and faster. where cheap to where go buy) We]ll go and buy wherever is cheaper.. inclusive: we or go ski or go swim) We either go skiing or go swimming.. by placing clauses in parallel with each other.. .. . . (lit.III Sentences 24. .. these are placed immediately before two verbal predicates/ comments sharing the same subject/topic: !/ ! / 5 Tamen yCbiAn/ yCmiàn hb jio yCbiAn/yCmiàn tán tian. they one-side drink wine one-side chat) They drank as they chatted. (lit how good how do) We]ll do it whichever way seems best. !5 . . (lit. 24. Some conjunctions are used in a similar way: !" Zánmen huòzhL qù ! huáxul huòzhL 5 qù yóuynng. Wn yòu è yòu kl. yuè . ! NKr piányi dào nKr qù mki. . Ta yuè pko yuè kuài.. . (lit. who invite-guest) Whoever loses will pay for the meal. who lose.. (lit. shéi qmngkè.3 Composite sentences as parallel structures Composite sentences can also be formed without using conjunctions or conjunctives. !5 yòu . I was both hungry and thirsty.2. 5 5 196 ZLnme hko zLnme zuò.

eat Chinese food use chopsticks. I won]t buy (anything). conjunctions rúgun. wn kànkàn ta. of course. I looklook him) He looked at me (and) I looked at him. (lit. we won]t come. wn bù mki. 24. de huà) or the conjunctive jiù. eat Western food use knife and fork) (You) eat Chinese food with chopsticks (and) Western-style food with knives and forks.4 Verbs taking object clauses Finally. We list some of these verbs in categories of meaning: 197 . I not buy) If things are too expensive. I won]t go. we not come p) If the weather isn]t good. not grasp essay/article write ynish. wn bù shuìjiào. 3 5 Ta kànkàn wn. wn bù qù. he look-look me. (lit. . weather not good. (lit. (lit. (3) By binding the two clauses in a rhythmic and semantic balance: 3 5 Chc zhdngcan yòng kuàizi. thing too expensive.(2) By posing a condition in the yrst clause and then answering or countering it in the second: !3 5 Ddngxi tài guì. I not go) If they are going. . be acceptable to use one of the conditional yàoshi (or . or both a conjunction and the conjunctive in these sentences: ! ( RúguN ddngxi If things are too expensive. )3 tài guì (de huà). (lit. they go. !"5 wnmen bù lái le. jikrú. there are a few verbs which take object clauses and form sentences that may be regarded as composite. chc xccan yòng daocha. (lit. 3 5 ! 3 !5 Tamen qù. !3 Tianqì bù hko. I not sleep) I won]t go to bed before I ynish the essay/article. Bù bk wénzhang xil wán. Composite sentences: conjunctions and conjunctives It would. !"5 wn jiù bù mki le. I won]t buy (anything).

I think you be right p) I think you are right. I say you should travel-by train go) I say (that) you should go by train. I feel it]s getting late. Wn juéde (lit. I hope you can come attend our evening-gathering) I hope you will be able to come to our party. 5 (4) Wish: ! Wn xCwàng nm ! néng lái canjia !"5 wnmen de wknhuì. ! nm shì duì de and bù zko le are the object clauses. the subject need not be repeated. (2) Suggestion and promise: Wn shuD nm ycnggai zuò hunchb qù. (lit. I believe earth be round p) I believe that the earth is round. (lit. Wn dAying míngtian qù kàn ta. I promise tomorrow go see her) I promised to go and see her tomorrow. thought: ! 5 !" 5 Wn rènwéi nM shì duì de. (5) Worry: Wn dAnxCn míngtian huì xià yo. (lit.III Sentences (1) Estimation. (lit. Object clauses also naturally take the form of direct speech: . it can be seen that if the object clause has the same subject as the main clause. 5 198 (lit. 5 !" 5 (lit. I suggest everyone together work) I suggest we should do it together. I worry tomorrow possible fall rain) I am worried that it might rain tomorrow. 5 Note: From this last example. I feel time not early p) shíjiAn bù zKo le. (lit. !"shíjian In these examples. (3) Belief: Wn xiAngxìn dìqiú shì yuán de. Wn jiànyì dàjia ycqm gàn.

this mw box really heavy p) This case is really heavy! (lit. etc. a may be inzuenced by the vowel or !" Zhèr de kdngqì !"8 duDme xcnxian a! Note: The pronunciation of the particle consonant that precedes it: (1) =a > 8 (2) =a > wa following ao. and apostrophes Exclamations Exclamations in Chinese. Degree adverbs such as dud(me) [how]/[what] or zhbn [really] regularly occur before adjectives to intensify emotions. Dud hko wa! ya after i. appositions. can be partial or full statements. appositions. child ask father: you can buy one mw toy-bear give me p) The child asked his father: [Can you buy a teddy bear for me?] !!7 Háizi wèn bàba: [Nm néng mki !" yc zhsc wánjùxióng 9] gli wn ma?] Exclamations and interjections.1 Exclamations and interjections. how good p) How good it is! !8 Zhbn qíguài ya! (lit.7 [ [ 8] Ta shuD: [Bù yàojmn!] (lit. only the comment is present): ( ) !8 8 DuD(me) mlilì de jmngsè a! ZhBn bàng a! (lit.e. etc.] (lit. as in most languages. how beautiful p scenery p) What a beautiful view! (lit. Vehemence or emphasis is normally expressed by adding the particle a to the end of the exclamation. (1) Partial statements (i. here p air how fresh p) How fresh the air is here. (lit. really strange p) How strange! 199 . ai. he say: not important) He said: [It doesn]t matter. and apostrophes 25 25. really great p) Really great! (2) Full statements: ! 8 Zhèi gè xiangzi zhBn zhòng a! (lit.

heaven p) Good heavens! (4) =le + 8 Wán la! 25. Tian na! =a > =la: (originally: wán le a!) (lit. ya. Nm zuótian wèi shénme bù lái ya? (lit.1. I how deal p) What am I to do? (lit.1 Exclamations with tài In another regular formulation. although the action is in the past. etc. who didn]t turn up the day before. too good p) Terriyc! (lit. you yesterday for-what not come p) Why didn]t you come yesterday?! 9 Note: Bù is used here instead of méi because.2 Question-word questions as exclamations Exclamations may also be shaped as question-word questions.III Sentences (3) =a > 8 na after words ending with n. the adverb tài [too] is placed before an adjectival or verbal predicate followed by le: 8 8 Tài hko le! Tài mli le! (lit. ynish p) All over! (lit. you how say like-this p words p) How could you say such a thing?! !"9 Wn zlnme bàn na? ! Nm zlnme shud !"9 zhèyàng de huà ya? 200 . etc. you how not help p) How come you didn]t help? (lit. generally ending with a. ! 9 Nm zlnme méi bangmáng a? (lit. too thank you p) I]m truly grateful! !"8 Tài gknxiè nm le! 25. too beautiful p) How beautiful! (lit. the speaker wants to emphasise not the fact but the intention of the listener.1.

(see 25. xià xul le.2. Ouch. oh. Oh dear. fall snow p) Why. I]ve got it wrong again. interj come-out sun p) Hey! The sun has come out. 201 . !9 Wèi. Note: Other commonly used interjections include: fiya for impatience fi for remorse or regret 3 8fiya! Bié fán wn! Dammit! Don]t bother me. fiyd for pain 25. dissatisfaction Huh. appositions. zhbn bbibm! (lit. Exclamations and interjections.2. (lit. Mm. and the same interjection with different tones can convey different feelings: A 3 1st tone (pleasant surprise): !8 f. rain stop p) Hey! It]s stopped raining. hey. 8 !"!5 fiyd! Huángfbng zhble wn le. OK.25. s/he wants to fool me. for agreement ` 3 5=N g. =Hng ` =N g for 3 !5Hng.2 Interjections Chinese has a wide range of interjections used at the beginning of sentences to express various kinds of emotion or attitude: 3 3 3 3 5 8 F.1 below) 3 !"5 fi. hello. and apostrophes Pèi. bah really base) Gosh! How mean! (lit. nm qù nkr? 5 Hèi.1 Tone variations in interjections Tones are important for interjections in Chinese. you go where) Hello there! Where are you going? (lit. I]ve been stung by a wasp. wn yòu nòng cuò le. xíng. it]s snowing. che tàiyáng la! (lit. ta xikng piàn wn. yo tíng le.

III Sentences A 3 2nd tone (pressing a point): 9 Á. nm dàodm qù bù qù? (lit. are you going or not? A 3 ( ) 3rd tone (doubt or suspicion): ! 9 p. she be only-daughter. convey different feelings with no change of tone: 3 ! !8 !" 5 FiyA. (lit. tA mAma de zhKngshang míngzhE. nm zlnme bk wn de ycfu nòng zang le. an outstanding engineer. zhèi gè háizi zhkng de zhème gao la! FiyA. yC gè chEsè de gDngchéngshC. how could you have dirtied my clothes. the apple of her mother]s eye. wn míngbai le. interj this be how (one) mw matter p) What? What is this all about? A 3 4th tone (sudden enlightenment): !5 À. this child has grown so tall. (lit. I think I understand it now. being placed immediately after the word or words they refer to: !3 !" 5 !"3 !5 202 Dàjia ddu pèifú Xiko Lm. interj I understand p) Oh. interj you how p grasp my clothes handle dirty p) Oh dear. in different contexts. one mw outstanding p engineer) Everybody admires Xiao Li. 3 25.3 Appositions Appositions are another form of independent element in Chinese sentences. Ta shì dúshbngnw. everybody all admire Xiao Li. They function in a way similar to appositions in English. zhè shì zlnme (yc) huí shì a? (lit. interj this mw child grow p so tall p) Goodness. . (lit. (lit. An interjection may also. her mother]s palm-on bright-pearl) She is an only daughter. (lit. interj you after-all go not go) Well.

Ta yC gè rén znu le.4 Apostrophe Apostrophe is another independent element. old Wang. Tamen liK chko qm lái le. he one mw person go p) He left by himself. (lit. where are you going to? (lit. I self come) I]ll help myself. are commonly used appositions: !5 ! 5 !5 Wn zìjM lái. etc. Li Mr. they two quarrel start p) The two of them started to quarrel. Mr Li! (lit.Pronouns or pronominal expressions such as gè rén (lit.) (lit. to food. which in Chinese normally comes at the beginning of a sentence rather than at the end: 3 8 3 !5 3 LM xiAnsheng. (lit. jìnlái zlnyàng? 3 !9 203 . Zhang professor. nm zko! ZhAng jiàoshòu. (lit. yc lik [both]/[the two].. please polite: you say words) Professor Zhang. etc. appositions. (lit. Exclamations and interjections. you to where go) Little Chen. (i. you early) Good morning. and apostrophes 25. recently whatlike) How are things with you lately. Old Wang? XiKo Chén. qmng nín jikng huà. please say a few words. one mw person) [alone]/[by myself].e. zìjm [self]. !"9 nm shàng nkr qù? LKo Wáng. little Chen.

III Sentences 204 .

may be rendered superzuous by meaningful clues provided by context or cotext.Part IV Paragraphs Introduction We have so far looked at the features of Chinese grammar within the structure of the sentence.4. a speech. followed by an analysis of 205 . essentially a narrative. conventional rhythmic cohesion. However. As we will see. For instance. a piece of expository writing. into paragraphs that are in fact grammatically coherent. We have already seen in our discussion of conjunctions and serial constructions that correlative and referential devices. and follow it with a letter. Through the exploitation of contextual meaning. (see 18. In the following we will explore these tendencies in more detail and consider the grammatical strategies the Chinese language employs to change or nullify certain formal ingredients of sentences when they are brought together in longer passages. preferential treatment of repetition. the elimination of formal elements. a description. and the employment of rhythmic balance. a dialogue. We will start our discussion with the diary form.1). elastic sentential conyguration. which might seem incomplete to speakers of English. etc. a Chinese speaker/writer is able to weave together sentences. Prime among these are: pronominal and conjunctional omission. Each example will consist of the Chinese text (including a pinyin version) and a translation into colloquial English. other factors come into play in longer passages when sentences occur in sequence within the framework of a paragraph. and a short argumentative essay. in our discussion of topic-comment structures. Chinese is fundamentally oriented towards meaning rather than dictated by form. we will draw attention to these factors and illustrate their impact through a number of short passages in different styles. which are apparently essential to the structure of a sentence. In this ynal section. we have encountered such meaning-dictated and form-saving tendencies as !5 Xìn jì znu le. rather than * !"5 Xìn bèi jì znu le.

IV Paragraphs

syntactic and, in some cases, stylistic features. Where necessary we will also provide literal translations.


A diary Rìjì

2005 5





Èrlínglíngwo nián woyuè èrshí wo rì qíng/(ycn)/(yw) Jcn wkn zài diànshì shang kànle yc chkng zújiú bmsài, shì Y cngguó lìwùpo zúqiúduì yo Yìdàlì AC mmlán zúqiúduì zhbngduó èrlínglíngwo nián duzhdubbi guànjen de juésài. Shàngbànchkng kaishm bù dào jm fbn zhdng, mmlán duì jiù jìnle yc qiú, shàngbànchkng jibshù shí, bmfbn ymjcng shì san bm líng, mmlán duì zhànle shàngfbng/lmngxian. Rénrén ddu ymwéi zhè huí lìwùpo duì shì sheding le de. Klshì shéi yl méi liàodào, xiàbànchkng yc kaishm, lìwùpo duì jíjù jìngdng, bìng zài tóngyàng xìjùxìng de qíngkuàng xià, liánxù tc jìn san qiú, banchéng san píng. Jia shí zài sài, shuangfang shìjenlìdí, shmzhdng bkochí san bm san. Zuìhòu zhmnéng kào (fá) diknqiú lái juédìng shèngfù. Jiégun dào shì lìwùpo duì yíng le, chéngwéi èrlínglíngwo nián duzhdubbi de guànjen. Cóng zhèi chkng bmsài zhdng, wn dédàole bùshko qmfa: zuò rènhé shìqíng ddu ycyang, zànshí de cuòzhé shì bùzúwéidào de, zhmyào jianchíbùxiè, zuìzhdng dìng néng qode shènglì.

3 AC

!"#$%&'()* !"#$%&'()! !"#$2005 ! !"5 !"#$%&'3 !"3 !"#3 !"#3 !"#$/ 5 !"#$%&'() 5 !"#$3 3 !"#$%3 !"#$%&3 !" !5


!3 ! 5 !"5

!"#3 !"( )

2005 3 3 5

!"#$%&'3 !"#$5 !" !"#$%7 ! !3 !"#$%&' !"#3 !"#


Translation: 25 May, 2005 yne/cloudy/rain This evening I watched a football match on television. It was the 2005 European Cup Final between Liverpool and AC Milan. Within a few minutes of the yrst half beginning Milan scored, and by the end of the half, the score was already three nil with Milan in the ascendance. Everyone thought Liverpool were bound to lose. But against all expectations, once the second half started, Liverpool attacked furiously and in similar dramatic circumstances scored three goals in succession, pulling back to three all. In extra time both sides were equally matched and the score remained three all. In the end they had to resort to penalty kicks to decide the winner. The result was that Liverpool turned out to be victorious, and became the 2005 European Cup champions. The match inspired a few thoughts in me: it]s the same whatever you do – temporary setbacks should not be taken too seriously, and as long as you persevere, you are sure to win in the end. Analysis: This diary is essentially a narrative with the author recounting what takes place in a football match he watched on television that day. Towards the end he expresses his feelings about the result of the match by relating it to his personal experience and philosophy. The main points we need to consider here are: (a) contextual omission of the subject in clauses or sentences, e.g.: !"#$%&'()*+ . . . Jcn wkn zài diànshì shang kànle yc chkng zújiú bmsài . . . [This evening (I) watched a football match on television.] As the keeper of the diary, the subject here is naturally understood as the initiator of the action, and he does not need to identify himself as = wn [I]. It would therefore be superzuous, though not wrong, to introduce the pronoun, but if it were included, the tone would be somewhat unnatural. As we shall see later, the object of a verb may be left out for similar reasons. !"#$%&'()!AC !"#$2005 ! !"5 shì Ycngguó lìwùpo zúqiúduì yo yìdàlì AC mmlán zúqiúduì zhbngduó èrlínglíngwo nián duzhdubbi guànjen de juésài. [(It) was the 2005 European Cup Final between Liverpool and AC Milan.] This illustrates the discourse feature of Chinese to drop, where possible, a nominal subject (or object) that is contextually obvious, without



IV Paragraphs

any implications for the structural completeness of the sentence. In general, this explains why the third person neuter pronoun [it] is something of a rarity in Chinese. !"#$% . . . !"#3 !"#$%5 zuò rènhé shìqíng ddu ycyang . . . zhmyào jianchíbùxiè, zuìzhdng dìng néng qode shènglì. [it]s the same whatever (you) do – . . . as long as (you) persevere, (you) are sure to win in the end]. The subjects of the clauses in this case are of generic reference and are therefore readily omitted. Proverbial expressions in Chinese are more than likely to follow this pattern. (b) conventional omission of conjunctions, e.g.: !"#$%&'3 !"#$%3 !"#3 !"#3 !"#$5 Shàngbànchkng kaishm bù dào jm fbn zhdng, mmlán duì jiù jìnle yc qiú, shàngbànchkng jibshù shí, bmfbn ymjcng shì san bm líng, mmlán duì zhànle shàngfbng. [Within a few minutes of the yrst half beginning Milan scored, (and) by the end of the half, the score was already three nil (with) Milan in the ascendance.] All the clauses here are complete with their subjects and predicate verbs and are strung together in the sentence with commas as clausal boundaries rather than conjunctions. Chinese sentences are in fact semantic units, where sentential considerations are not conyned entirely to the grammatical centrality of a [subject-predicate] form, but focus on the linking of ideas featured sequentially but coherently in a composite unit of expression. In this case, the speaker/writer has taken yve [subject-predicate] clauses to form the unit of expression, which presents the central theme of what happens in the yrst half of the match. (Other speakers/writers might have shaped the same sequence into two or three sentences with, for example, full stops after the second and possibly the fourth clause. These elastic sentential conygurations demonstrate the zexibility of a meaning-oriented language like Chinese.) The English translation is obliged to introduce the conjunction [and], but it uses other language forms to deal with the verb-dominant tendency of Chinese, of which this sentence is an example. (See (d) below.) (c) insertion of conjunctions contributing to the cadence of the sentence, e.g.:


!"#3 !"#$%3 !"#$%&'(3 !"#3 !5 xiàbànchkng yc kaishm, lìwùpo duì jíjù jìngdng, bìng zài tóngyàng xìjùxìng de qíngkuàng xià, liánxù tcjìn san qiú, banchéng san píng. [once the second half started, Liverpool attacked furiously and in similar dramatic circumstances scored three goals in succession, pulling back to three all]. Here the clausal conjunction ( ) bìng(qil) [and] provides the cadence for a two-part structure: it serves to highlight what is to come, introducing a commentative dimension into the narrative. Without the conjunction, the sentence becomes more of a factual report. (d) verbal versus prepositional preponderance: a literal translation of the sentence in (b) above would be as follows: [yrst half begin not reach several minutes, Milan team then score a goal, arrive yrst half ynish time, score already is three-nil, Milan team occupy upper position] This translation demonstrates clearly that Chinese is a language which relies heavily on verbs. We have seen that subjects and objects can readily be omitted in a deyned context but a predicate verb must always be present. English, on the other hand, tends to employ nominal and prepositional expressions. This is apparent from the colloquial rendition provided in (b), where the yrst, third, and ynal clauses in Chinese all become prepositional phrases in English.



A letter shexìn 7 Zhìmíng xidng: Nín hko! hln jio méiynu gli nín qù xìn le, qmng yuánliàng. Xikng jìnlái ycqiè jen hko, xuéyè shang yl ynu zhkngzú de jìnbù ba. Wn yl ycqiè rúcháng, zhmshì xikohái ynushí ynu dikn táoqì, bù tài tcnghuà, dud shud ta jm jù jiù shbng qm qì lái, bk mén guan le, jiào chcfàn yl bù xià lái. Dàgài shì zhèi gè niánlíng xikohái ddu ynu dikn guailì ba. Zài shud, wn hé qczi yl ddu

!"#$%&3 !"#$3 ! !"#$5 !"#3 !"#"$%&3 3 !"#$%&'3 3 !"#$5 ! !"#$%&'(5 3 !"#$%&'3 ! !"3 !"#$% !"3 !"#$%5 8 5


IV Paragraphs


!"#$%&'()*3 !"5 3 3 !" !3 !"#$%&'3 !3 !"#$%&' !"#"3 !"# !"#$3 5 !"8 !"#$5 !"#

gdngzuò fánmáng, méiynu tài dud shíjian zhàogù ta, gbn ta ycqm gko xib ynuyc shbnxcn de huódòng, sunym yl hln nán quán guài ta. Xcwàng guòle zhèi gè niánlíng néng dnng qm shì lái, jiànjiàn ynu sun gkibiàn. Ò, duì le, Xikolm yào wn zhukngào nín yc shbng, ta xià gè yuè yào qù Àozhdu fkngwèn, wéiqc ycnián, lín znu shí zánmen san gè rén néngfnu zhko gè shíjian jù yc jù, háishi dào wn jia lái hko, bù zhc xidng yìxià rúhé, qmng fù. Zhù nín hé nín jiarén an hko! Qmng dài wènhòu nín shuangqcn. Dì Língqiáng shàng Liù yuè èrshí san rì

Translation: Dear Zhiming, How are you? I am sorry I haven]t written for ages. Hope things have gone well for you lately, and you]ve made good progress with your studies. Things remain the same with me and it]s just that the child is sometimes a bit naughty, doesn]t do as he is told, frets the more I tell him off, shuts himself away, and won]t even come down when I call him to eat. Probably it]s the contrariness of a child of his age. What]s more, my wife and I are both busy at work and don]t have too much time to look after him or do interesting things with him, and so it]s very difycult to blame him entirely. We hope that when he gets past this age, he will grow up and gradually change for the better. Oh yes, young Li wants me to pass on to you that he is going for a year]s visit to Australia next month, and before he goes we are wondering whether the three of us can ynd time to get together, perhaps better at my place. Please let me know what you think. Best wishes to you and your family, and please pass on my regards to your parents. Yours, Lingqiang 23 June Analysis: The main purpose of this letter is to pass on a message to arrange a meeting of the three friends. It is customary for the writer of a Chinese letter not to come straight to the point, but politely to put in a few preliminaries to add some substance. Here there are initial statements: [expressing good will] (e.g. =Nm hko! [How are you?]) and [asking


qmng yuánliàng. and of conjunctional devices. In this letter we see linguistic characteristics already observed in the diary above: omission of clausal or sentential subjects or objects where the context eliminates any possible misunderstanding. etc. 8 !"#$% 3 5 Nín hko! hln jio méiynu gli nín qùxìn le. jiào chcfàn yl bù xià lái. jiàoshòu [professor]. they naturally belong together. frets the more (I) tell him off. dud shud ta jm jù jiù shbng qm qì lái. júzhkng [head of the bureau]. zhorèn [director].for forgiveness for not writing too often] (e. When writing to a superior. Please forgive/excuse (me).g. etc.] In fact.) or polite addresses (e.g. one would use formal titles (e. [(I) haven]t written to you for a long time. [I am sorry I haven]t written for ages]. is more often than not a concluding sentence. the suppressed subjects (in brackets) of the predicate verbs in the clauses change from yrst person to third person and vice versa without any problem retrieving meaning from the text (see also 23. The clauses are separated by commas alone without any need for conjunctions – a further proof that Chinese sentences are semantic units of expression.] !"#$ .3). [it]s just that the child is sometimes a bit naughty. shuts (himself) away. Tàitai [Mrs. e. bk mén guan le. Xiansheng [Mr]. doesn]t do as (he) is told. etc. [Hope things have gone well (for you) lately] !"#"$%&3 !3 !"#$%&'3 3 !"#$5 zhmshì xikohái ynushí ynu dikn táoqì. and for women = jil ‘elder sister] and = mèi [younger sister] respectively.4. [Please pass on my regards to your parents]. . . bù tài tcnghuà. however. something like !"#$5 Qmng dài wènhòu nín shuangqcn. Xikojie [Miss]. . when the ideas expressed belong to the same central theme.). qmng yuánliàng. etc.: !"#$%&3 5 hln jio méiynu gli nín qùxìn le.].g.g. The address code amongst friends is usually = xidng [elder brother] for someone older and = dì [younger brother] for someone younger in the case of men. .) In addition. A letter invariably ends with shàng [submit respectfully] after one]s signature. Xikng jìnlái ycqiè jenhko . and won]t even come down when (I) call (him) to eat. Letter 211 . As long as the component elements contribute to the same central idea of [the child]s contrariness].

subjects and objects. Zhmshì qián jm tian zháole diknr liáng. Lko Zhang! Xikngbudào zài zhèr jiàndào nm. Nm ne? Hái zài kkoshì ba? Lm: Bù. Xcwàng guòle zhèi gè niánlíng. sunym fùxí de bù hko. ynudiknr késòu. sunym yl hln nán quán guài ta.IV Paragraphs !"#$%&'3 !"#$%&3 !"#$%& !3 !"#$%5 !"#$%3 !"3 !5 Wn hé qczi yl ddu gdngzuò fánmáng. (he) will grow up and gradually change for the better. as well as conjunctions. Ynude kbmù hln klnéng bù jígé ne.] Once again. [my wife and I are both busy at work and don]t have too much time to look after him or do interesting things with him. Nm ne? Zhang: Bù cuò. méiynu tài dud shíjian zhàogù ta. are omitted in the Chinese text. wknshàng yl méiynu shuì hko. yuánlái shì nm. (We) hope that when (he) gets past this age. tianqì tài rè. Jiashàng xcnqíng jmnzhang. gbn ta ycqm gko xib ynuyc shbnxcn de huódòng. bù cuò. ymjcng chàbudud hko le. Nm lái zhèr gàn shá? Lko Zhang: f. 7 3 5 3 3 !8 5 3 7 7 7 7 7 7 9 3 !"5 !"9 !3 !"#$5 !"#$%&'(5 9 !"#$%&'3 3 !"#$5 !"3 !"3 !"#5 7 7 212 . Wn hái ymwéi shì shéi ne! Jìnlái zlnmeyàng? Lm: Hái klym. jiànjiàn ynu sun gkibiàn. we see that.3 A dialogue Duìhuà !" Shìzhèngfo ménknu 8 !"#$ !"#9 !5 !"9 9 5 3 !5 !"D !"3 9 ! Xiko Lm: Lko Zhang. gejì bù huì tài lmxikng. Xiko Lm. fàn yl chcbuxià. and so it]s very difycult to blame him entirely. Zhang: Wèi shénme? Lm: Zhoyào shì kkoshì qián nèi duàn shíjian. zko jiù kko wán le. néng dnng qm shì lái. 26. Zhang: Chéngjì zlnmeyàng? Lm: Hái méi gdngbù. for the same reasons noted in the previous sentence.

klnéng qíngkuàng méiynu nm xikngxiàng de nàme zaogao. I am interpreting for the Mayor. Young Li: OK. It]s very probable that I haven]t passed some subjects. let]s leave it at that. zàijiàn. Zhang: Hko ba. zánmen xian tán dào zhèr. I must dash off to see him now. 213 . so my revision didn]t go well. Probably things won]t be as bad as you imagine. aren]t you? Young Li: No. What about you? Old Zhang: Not bad. Hope everything goes smoothly for you. It]s almost better now. Old Zhang: Why? Young Li: Mainly because in the period before the exam. I guess they won]t be too brilliant. it was too hot. old Zhang! I didn]t expect to meet you here. On top of that. Old Zhang: Thank you. Wn háishi gknkuài qù jiàn ta ba. Lm: Hko ba. Old Zhang: OK. nà jiù zàijiàn le. Young Li: I hope so. Zhù nm ycqiè shùnlì. Goodbye for now. Young Li: Goodbye.7 3 !"#$% !"#5 !"#$5 !"#$%&'() !"#$%&'5 !"#$%&5 !"5 5 ! !5 7 7 3 3 7 7 7 3 5 3 5 Zhang: Bié danxcn. What have you come for? Old Zhang: Ah. They ynished some time ago. and I didn]t sleep well at night. I didn]t realize it was you. Today a Chinese delegation is visiting here. How about you? You]re still taking exams. Old Zhang: Don]t worry. Young Li. wn shì lái tì shìzhkng dang fanyì de. How have things been for you lately? Young Li: Quite good. Old Zhang: What were your results? Young Li: They]ve not been published yet. Zhang: Xièxiè. I was nervous and could not eat. Jcntian ynu Zhdngguó dàibikotuán lái zhèr fkngwèn. so we]ll say goodbye. Lm: Zàijiàn. not bad. It]s just that I caught a bit of a cold a few days ago. and have a bit of a cough. Dialogue Translation: At the door of the Municipal Government Ofyce Young Li: Old Zhang. so it]s you. Lm: Dànyuàn rúcm.

wknshàng yl méi(ynu) shuì hko. so (my) revision didn]t go well. On top of that. [Old Zhang: What were your results? Young Li: (They]ve) not been published yet. in !"#$ ymjcng chàbudud hko le [It]s almost better now]. When this happens. 9 !"#$%&'3 !3 !( ) 5 3 !"3 !"#$5 Lko Zhang: Wèishéme? Xiko Lm: Zhoyào shì kkoshì qián nèi duàn shíjian. It is also worth pointing out that in informal Chinese.IV Paragraphs Analysis: In a dialogue or conversation. sunym fùxí de bù hko.] Once again there is no doubt that the answer relates to the candidate himself and the subject is consequently omitted. omissions are all the more common because the context is made immediately apparent by the ongoing exchange. there is no need to reiterate it in the answer. le becomes a natural mechanism to bring an idea to a close before the speaker goes on to another. Jiashàng xcnqíng jmnzhang. For instance.] [Results] is obviously the topic of this exchange and.g. (I) was nervous (and) could not eat. and !" nà jiù zàijiàn le [so we]ll say goodbye]. fàn yl chcbuxià. there is a tendency for speakers to use the sentence particle le. [Old Zhang: Why? Young Li: Mainly because in the period before the exam.: 7 !"9 7 !3 !"#$5 !"#$%&'(5 Lko Zhang: Chéngjì zlnmeyàng? Xiko Lm: Hái méi gdngbù. as in a conversation like this. the speaker indicates that he has no doubt in his mind that what he has just verbalised represents a situation which has already been or will soon be 7 7 214 . and (I) didn]t sleep well at night. Likewise. !" zko jiù kko wán le [The exams ynished some time ago]. it is clear that [I] have taken the examination and there is therefore no need for me to identify myself. (I) guess (they) won]t be too brilliant. it was too hot. gejì bù huì tài lmxikng. Ynude klmù hln klnéng bù jígé ne. This is because in everyday conversation (or letters) one says things as they come to mind: thus the sentences of the speaker (or writer) are less structured and tend more often than usual to round up ideas at every step. as it has been the keyword in the question. tianqì tài rè. e. It]s very probable that (I) haven]t passed some subjects.

! bié danxcn le [stop worrying] gently urges the listener to change his present state of anxiety. the more frequent the use of le. Zhangyuànzhkng zhèi cì dàolái. jìnycbù jiaqiáng wnmen zhc jian de ynuyì. but !" tianqì tài rè le emphasises a situational change where the heat is hardly ideal for exams. and almost anarchic. Speech 26. qínfèn hàoxué. In more structured expository or argumentative writing. !"# fàn yl chcbuxià le becomes a comment highlighting a disturbing change in appetite. a different situation. or will soon be. xcwàng tamen huí dào bln xiào zhchòu. zenshnu jìlv. In the unstructured. duì nmmen dào bì xiào lái fkngwèn. !" Chéngjì zlnmeyàng? [What were your results?] is a straightforward question. as we shall see. We can see from the above that wherever le occurs. sequence of such sentences.4 A welcome speech Huanyíngcí 3 7 Zhangyuànzhkng. klym qcnykn kàndào guì xiào xuésheng XX 3 !"# 3 !"#$5 !"#$%&'($)* 3 !"#$%&'3 !"5 !"#$%& !"#$%&3 !3 !3 !3 !" !"#$%&'3 ! !"#3 !"#3 !"#$%&'(5 !3 !"#$%&' !" #$%&'5 3 !"3 !"# 5 !"#$%3 ! 3 !5 3 ! !"#$%&'()*+ 215 . We can illustrate this further by adding le to other sentences in the dialogue. Zìcóng zánmen likng xiào hù pài liúxuésheng yo fkngwèn xuézhl ymlái. nénggòu dud zuò gòngxiàn. if bié danxcn [don]t worry] is a forthright request. this means that the less structured the speech (or writing). but ! Chéngjì zlnmeyàng le introduces an anxious tone into the query and indicates concern for the impending outcome. le appears far less frequently. shuangfang zài xuéshù shang hùxiang cùjìn. which the listener is invited to think about. mli yc pc ddu gli wnmen liú xià le shbnkè de yìnxiàng. le is a natural marker between them. For example.actualised and le helps him to signal that. ! tianqì tài rè [it was too hot] is a factual statement. Wn xikng tèbié zhmche de shì guì xiào pài lái de xuésheng yo lkoshc. by bringing the idea to conclusion. if !" fàn yl chcbuxià [could not eat] is again a factual report. it is an indication that what the speaker has in mind is. Zhangferen: Wn dàibiko XX dàxué. zhù rén wéi lè. bikoshì rèliè de huanyíng. qodé le bùshko chéngjì.

Every cohort has left us with a deep impression. they are able to make wider contributions and further strengthen the friendship between us. Ever since our two universities have been exchanging students and visiting scholars both sides have achieved considerable results in promoting mutual academic progress. qmng zài zuò de gèwèi. Wnmen jìn le ycqiè nolì. wn jmn dàibiko bln xiào zài cì xiàng Zhangyuànzhkng bikoshì zhdngxcn de gknxiè. Zài wnmen zhèr. and I hope that after their return to their own university. shm tamen shbnxcn yúkuài. President Zhang. Dangrán. Ràng wn yl jiè cm jchuì. bìng zài cm fkngwèn qcjian. you will be able to see with your own eyes during this visit the actual conditions in which the students and teachers sent by your honourable university live and study. xué ynu sun chéng. ynu sun shduhuò. wànshì rúyì. gòngtóng jo bbi duì Zhangyuànzhkng hé yuànzhkng feren bikoshì jìngyì. What I would like to point out in particular is that the students and teachers sent by your honourable university have been diligent and committed to their studies. bm zài jia lm háiyào yúkuài yo sheshì. on behalf of our . Here they are honoured guests and the most welcome of people. wnmen yl dli gknxiè Zhangyuànzhkng duì wn xiào pài qù de xuésheng yo lkoshc de wúwbibùzhì de guanhuái yo zhàogù. At this point. shì zuì shòu huanyíng de rén. We have done our utmost to ensure that they are happy in every way and successful in their studies. On behalf of XX university.IV Paragraphs 3 !"#$ %&'()3 !"#$%&'(3 !"#$3 !"#$ !5 3 !"#$ !"#$%&'()5 !"3 !"#3 !"#$"#%&'() !"#$%3 !3 !"#$3 !5 yo lkoshc xuéxí yo shbnghuó de shíkuàng. 216 Translation: President Zhang and Mrs Zhang. zhùyuàn tamen shbntm jiànkang. When they return they say unanimously that the period when they studied at your university was even more happy and comfortable than at home. tamen guclái hòu ddu zhòngknuyccí de shud. I express a warm welcome to you on your visit to our humble university. have observed discipline. tamen shì guìbcn. Of course we must also thank President Zhang for the meticulous care and concern shown to the students and teachers we have sent (to your university). Zài cm. and have taken pleasure in helping others. zài guì xiào xuéxí yo shbnghuó qcjian.

dì sì jiù lún dào Lìzc le. jibdào likngpáng de jiànzhù yù lái yù xcnymng biézhì. Jìn shí jm nián lái. Another prominent feature of this style is an inclination to use rhythmic patterns and parallelisms (e. like other formal addresses. and a number of them can be seen here (e. etc. zenshnu jìlv. and have taken pleasure in helping others]. yúkuài yo sheshì [happy and comfortable].). ! jiè cm jchuì [take this opportunity]. Let me take this opportunity to ask everybody present to raise their glasses together in a toast to President Zhang and Mrs Zhang and wish them good health.humble university I would like to express once again our heartfelt thanks to President Zhang. zhèr xíngrén bùyòng danxcn chbliàng de láiwkng. bì xiào [our humble university]. qícì shì Bómínghàn. is likely to incorporate standard clichés. qízhdng 217 . ynu hln dà de fazhkn. Lìzc zài chéngshì jiànzhù shang.5 A description Miáoshùwén Lìzcshì !"#$%&'()* !5 !"#$%& 5 !"#$%&'( 3 !"#3 !" 3 !"#$%5 !"3 !"#$%3 !"#5 !"#3 !"#$%$&'()3 !"#$%3 !"# !"#$5 !"#$ !"##$%&'3 !"#5 !"#3 !"#$%3 !"# !"#$%&'!"()3 D !"#$%&' D !"#$%3 3 Lìzc shì Ycnggélán blibù xc Yuèkèjùn de yc gè chéngshì. have observed discipline. Klshì zuì ynu tèsè de háiyào sho nà yctiáotiáo de gnng láng jib. !3 3 ! qínfèn hàoxué. Zhèlm de gnnglángjib. qíta chéngshìli bìng bù dud jiàn. Description 26. Analysis: A welcome speech. etc. bùxíngjib gèng shì míngjìng kuanchang.g. jmn dàibiko [on behalf of]. Mànchèsctè pái dì san. zhù rén wéi lè [have been diligent and committed to their studies. mli tiáo ddu ynu dútè de fbnggé. Yóuqí shì shìzhdngxcn. !3 ! shbnxcn yúkuài. guì xiào [your honourable university]. Jùshud shì Ycnggélán dì sì dà chéngshì. !" guanhuái yo zhàogù [care and concern]. all success. Ycnggélán zuì dà de chéngshì dangrán shì Lúnden.g. xué ynu sun chéng [are happy in every way and successful in their studies]. and marked achievements during this visit.

with Birmingham next. Translation: Leeds is a city in West Yorkshire in northern Britain. The pedestrian precincts are even more bright and spacious with people not needing to worry about trafyc. to attain variety. In the last ten years or so. where customers can sit at their leisure and enjoy a cup of coffee. Each arcade has its unique style. adjectives. qícì shì Bómínghàn. =sho in !"#$%&'((")*+=zuì ynu tèsè de háiyào sho nà yctiáotiáo de gnnglángjib. pái in ! Mànchèsctè pái dì san. the buildings along the streets are looking increasingly original and attractive. Zhèi tiáo gnnglángjib shang de kafbigukn. But more distinctive are the many arcades. =jib zhdngyang. In the city centre in particular. likewise. with Birmingham next]. chénliè zhe línlángmknmù de shangpmn. shìzhdngxcn [city centre]. kl ràng gùkè mén zuò xiàlai shexcn qièyì de hb kafbi ne. = dútè [unique]. is used – D=bki zhe [placed]. a variety of verbs. [England]s largest city is of course London. [more distinctive are the many arcades].IV Paragraphs !"#3 !"#$% 5 !"#$%&'3 !"#$%&3 !" !"#$%&'()*5 ynu yc tiko háiynu mlilì de xiko huatán hé yírén de xiko pbnquán. likngpáng shangdiàn de chúchuang li. xcymn le bùshko wàidì lái de yóukè. four different verbs are used to indicate comparison: shì in !"#$%&'()*3 !"#=Ycnggélán zuì dà de chéngshì dangrán shì Lúnden. =yí dào [moved to]. and Leeds coming fourth. there have been major developments in urban construction in Leeds. Analysis: A description in Chinese is naturally drawn to sequences of words and phrases expressing similar meanings. and nominal expressions D chénliè zhe [displayed]. One of them even has beautiful zowerbeds and pleasing fountains with benches beside them where people can sit and rest any time they like. [Leeds coming fourth]. The coffee shops here also have tables and chairs in the middle of the arcade. The shop-windows on either side are full of eye-catching goods. attracting visitors from outside. which are not often found in other cities. pángbian bki zhe kl gdng xíngrén suíshí xieqì de chángdèng. in this passage. = lún dào in !"#$% dì sì jiù lún dào Lìzc le. [middle of the street] 218 . England]s largest city is of course London. said to be the fourth biggest city in England. = biézhì [original]. For example. Manchester third. [Manchester third]. hái bk zhudym yí dào jib zhdngyang.

ddushì fbngbì de xìtnng. and in order to acquire a cadential rhythm. mli gè dancí ddu ynu zìjm dútè de faycn yo yòngfk. sunym bìng bù nán xué. háidli shíjì ycdìng shùliàng de dancí. Xiànzài wnmen lái tántan xué zhdngwén cír de fangfk. Explanatory writing: the way to learn Chinese words 26. Descriptions are generally intent on achieving variety in usage and vibrancy in rhythm. e. Dancí què bù ycyàng. érqil zài duknqc nèi bù huì fashbng hln dà de biànhuà. bùduàn zbngjia. !"#=mlilì de xiko huatán [beautiful zowerbeds]. wúfbi shì nàme jm qian gè. !=shexcn qièyì from shexcn [relaxing one]s mind] and qièyì [pleasing one]s heart]. and parallel structures are formed. chénliè zhe.g. yào zhkngwò zhè jm qian gè cír dào bìng bù nán. klym mànman lái. chú le xué faycn yo yofk zhcwài. qí guczé shì ynuxiàn de. zài yc gè yc gè de xué. xcnymng biézhì from xcnymng [refreshingly new] and =biézhì [original]. ycnwèi yc mén yoyán de cíhuì shì yc gè kaifàng de xìtnng. Dàjia ddu zhcdao. four character phrases are coined. ( !) !"#$3 !" D3 3 3(kl gdng xíngrén) suíshí xieqì de chángdèng. línlángmknmù de shangpmn. shì ynngyukn yl xué bù wán de. Yc mén yoyán de faycn yo yofk. zài bùduàn gbngxcn. sunym zài 3 !"#$%&'3 !"#$%&'(5 !"# $3 !" 3 !"#$3 ! !"#$%&'(3 5 !"#3 ! !3 !"#$%&' !"#$3 !"3 5 !"#$%&'( 5 !"#$%&'() 3 !"#$%3 !3 !"#$%&' 5 !"#$%&'3 !3 !"#$3 !5 5 !"##$%&'() !"3 !"# !"#$%&'3 ! !"#$%3 !"# 219 . !"# yírén de xiko pbnquán [pleasing fountains]. Qíshí yc mén yoyán zhdng chángyòng de cír bìng bù dud. arrangement and special quality.6 An explanatory piece of writing Shudmíngwén !"#$%& Shíjì zhdngwén dancí de fangfk Xué Zhdngwén. e. xcymn le.– to indicate position. etc. != míngjìng kuanchang from = míngjìng [bright and clean] and kuanchang [wide and spacious]. dlng dào xeyào de shíhou. Klshì bùyào zhème yc shud jiù knnghuang qmlái. Zhìyú nèixib bù chángyòng de cír. zhmyào fangfk duìtóu.g.

jiànzhèng. ylshì yc gè fbngbì xìtnng. Chángyòng de zì yl zhmynu likng qian wo bki dào san qian gè. You can never stop learning 220 . dapèi zé shì [gbn ta jiànmiàn]. ([witness]). zhèlm zhíde yc tí. érqil wkngwkng shì yóu likng gè zhèyàng de zì zochéng de. yìsi shì [meet]. yc cí de yòngfk ér shud che [jiànmiàn ta] zhèyàng de huà lái le. chú le yào zhcdao yìsi zhcwài. Words on the other hand are different. Qíshí zhdngwén li jche sunynu de cír ddushì yóu danycnjié de zì gòuchéng de. xué zhdngwén de rén tcng le ycdìng huì gaoxìng de. Shàngmiàn tídào de [jiànmiàn] yc cí jiùshì yóu [jiàn] yo [miàn] likng gè zì gòuchéng de. again see) goodbye]3 jiànzhèng [(lit. The pronunciation and grammar of a language are closed systems. jche sunynu de cír ddushì yóu zhè jm qian gè zì zohé érchéng de. They are therefore certainly not difycult to learn. apart from pronunciation and grammar. ycban qíngkuàng xià shì bù huì zài zàoche shénme xcn de zì lái le. face test) interview] 5 shíjì yc gè dancí de shíhou. you also have to learn a sufycient number of words. ycndiào shì [jiànmiàn]. see face) meet]3 jiànmiàn3 ![ !] [meet him] [ !"] [met him once]5 !"#$%& meet !"#$%[* ] !5 !"#$%&'(3 !3 !"#$%&' 5 !"#$%&'( !"#$%&'(%5 !"3 !"#3 !"#$3 !"#$ !"#$%&'(5 !"#$%&'#(3 !"#$%&'()*+ !3 !"#$%& ! 5 !"[ ] !"#3 ![ ] [ ] !"#$3 !"# !"#$[ ] zàijiàn [(lit. see prove) witness]3[ ] miànshì [(lit. hé [jiàn guò ta yc miàn]. and their rules are limited in number and moreover these rules are unlikely to change signiycantly over a short period of time. hái klym bangzhù nm zhkngwò bùshko qíta rú [zàijiàn] ([goodbye]). Dangdài zhdngwén de zìhuì. zhèyàng jiù bù huì gbnjù ycngwén [meet]. Translation: The Way to Learn Chinese Words In studying Chinese. bk ynuguan de dapèi nòng qcng. Jì zhdngwén dancí háiynu yc gè qiàomén. Lìrú [jiànmiàn] yc cí. xiàng yoycn yofk ycyàng. xué huì le zhè likng gè zì. ycdìng yào bk ycndiào fa zhon. [miànshì] ([interview]) zhèi lèi cír.IV Paragraphs 3 !"#$%3 !"#5 [ ] 3 [(lit.

and learning these two characters will help you to grasp many other words such as zàijiàn [goodbye (lit. Everyone knows that each word has its own unique pronunciation and usage. The character set of contemporary Chinese. again see)]. like its pronunciation and grammar. has the pronunciation (i. For example. One therefore ynds considerable repetition of key words. There are only 2. As for less commonly used words. and most words are combinations of two of those characters. letter. etc.) meet him] in the way you would use [meet] in English. =jiànzhèng [witness (lit. the word jiànmiàn. For example. As long as you go about it properly. There is a knack for remembering Chinese words. which means [meet (lit. etc. words. see face)]. and people learning the language will deynitely be pleased to hear about it. But don]t panic because I say this. and in normal circumstances no new characters will be created. tone as well as sound) [jiànmiàn] and the collocations of ! gbn ta jiànmiàn [meet him (lit. dialogue and description sections. you have to be clear about its pronunciation and collocation. which is also worth mentioning here. is a closed system too. in addition to its meaning. Thus you wouldn]t say something like * jiànmiàn ta [(lit. A piece of expository writing has to have an internal logic and coherence (see also the analysis of argumentative writing below) and focuses throughout on a particular thematic concept or concepts.500 to 3. The fact is that all Chinese words are made up of monosyllabic characters. Now let]s talk about how to learn Chinese words. face test)]. note the frequent presence of key concepts like pronunciation and grammar. collocation.e. =miànshì [interview (lit. there aren]t many commonly used words in a language and usually no more than a few thousand. The word jiànmiàn mentioned above is formed from the two characters =jiàn [see] and =miàn [face]. forever being renewed and extended.000 commonly used characters in Chinese. see prove)]. see p him one face)]. with him see face)] and !" jiàn guò ta yc miàn [met him once (lit. Analysis: Expository writing naturally exhibits some of the features noted above in the diary. closed and open systems. Here we will concentrate on repetitional strategies. and therefore when learning a word. In fact. In Explanatory writing: the way to learn Chinese words 221 .them because the vocabulary of a language is an open system. there is a marked difference in the strategies adopted by the two languages. you]ll certainly have no difyculty mastering these few thousand words. characters. etc. you can take them slowly and learn them one by one when the time comes. However. This unique feature of expository writing can be seen in both the Chinese original and also the relatively literal English translation.

repetition is normally avoided by the use of pronouns and a wide range of synonyms. klshì yóuyú shbntm bù hko. Yóucm kljiàn. ta quèshí shì gè shùxué qícái. Shì xikng ycxià. chú le yào zhcdao yìsi zhcwài. meaning takes over. yòu zlnyàng qù xikngshòu mlihko de rénshbng ne? Yào shudmíng jiànkang de zhòngyào. Qíshí. dìng néng xiàng Àiycnsctkn nèiyàng wèi shèhuì hé rénlèi zàofú de. repetition becomes more acceptable. dàoli hln jikndan. yàoshi jcntian ta hái huó zhe. yc nián dào tóu bìng bìng wai wai de. niánjì qcngqcngde jiù yaozhé le. which is not comfortable with nominal or pronominal substitution. where the context is clear. ta yl néng jildá. 3 3 222 . ddu yào ym jiànkang wéi jccho. ycdìng yào bk ycndiào fa zhon.-3 !"#$ !"3 !"#$%&3 !"#$%3 ! !5 Dàjia ddu zhcdao. mli gè dancí ddu ynu zìjm dútè de faycn yo yòngfk. allowing for simple omission. in addition to its meaning. In Chinese. 26. where the writing is more oriented towards meaning and content rather than style. rúgun shbntm bù hko. you have to be clear about its pronunciation and collocation.] Wn juéde zhèi gè shudfk shì shífbn zhèngquè de. sunym zài shíjì yc gè dancí de shíhou. though in practice.IV Paragraphs English. Everyone knows that each word has its own unique pronunciation and usage. repetition is more readily tolerated and.7 An argumentative piece of writing Yìlùnwén !" 7[ !"#$!"5] !"#$%&'()*5 !"#5 !3 3 !"3 !""## !"3 !"#$ !"9 !"#$ 3 !" !"7 !"#$%$ !"#$%&3 !3 !"3 ! !3 !"#$%5 !"3 !"#$ D3 !"#$%&'()*+ !5 !3 !"3 !"#$%5 Jiànkang zhc wn jiàn Ynu rén shud: [Jiànkang shì cáifù zhdng de cáifù. Wn yczhí rènwéi. wn hái klym joche yc gè lìzi: Shàng zhdngxué shí ynu gè tóng ban tóngxué. For example: !"3 !"#$%&'()*+. lkoshc bù dnng de xítí. jiùsuàn zài ynu qián. bk ynuguan de dapèi nòng qcng. yc gè rén. however. wúlùn shì shénme. and therefore when learning a word.

bù dòng ganhun. 223 . jiknshko huànbìng de jchuì. qmje ymnshí ynudù. nm ddu néng cóngzhdng dédào zuì chdngfèn de lèqù. kangkki. llngjìng. shíkè bkochí xcnqíng yúkuài. shko chc féi nì hen xcng. wo. if a person is in poor condition and is sickly all year long. jcngo zhuàngjiàn. I have always thought that. yào jcngcháng duànliàn shbntm3 shm zìjm xuèmài chàngtdng. Ynu le jiànkang. wánchéng gdngzuò rènwù yl hko. bkozhèng shìliàng de shuìmián. jen cóng zhèngmiàn chefa. wéi rén gdngzhèng.!"#$%&' !3 !"#$ 3 !"#7( ) ! 3 !"#$3 3 !"#$%&6( ) !"3 !"#$3 !"#3 !"#6 ( ) 4 4 3 !"#$%&'(6( ) 3 !3 !"# 6( ) !"#$%3 D4 3 4 4 3 !3 !"#$3 !5 3 9 !"#$%&'()*3 !"#$%&'(5 3 !"#7 !"# 3 !"#$%3 !"3 !"#$%3 !"#$%&'()*5 !"#$%&'"()5 !"#$/ !"#3 !"#$%5 Nàme shud. zhùyì llngnukn. wúlùn jìnxíng shénme huódòng. However. jikngjiu wèishbng. The reason in fact is quite simple. Rogun wnmen néng zuò dào ym shàng wo dikn de huà. huanyíng dàjia pcpíng zhmzhèng. Shàngmiàn sun shud de zhmshì wn gèrén de kànfk. èr. shm shbntm jiànkang de ycnsù. sì. because he was in poor health he died very young. I feel this is entirely correct. Just think for a moment. san. if he were still alive today. dud chc secài shumgun. xùjio. bù chduyan. I can cite an example: at middle school I had a fellow student who was a mathematics genius. wàiche dùjià lwyóu yl hko. zbngqiáng duì jíbìng de dmkànglì. kkolv yo chùlm wèntí. huò xcdú. yl jiù ynu le ycqiè: cóngshì xuéxí yánjie yl hko. He could even solve equations that the teacher couldn]t. jiànkang yl jiù ynu le jcbln de bkozhàng. Argumentative writing Translation: People say [Health is the richest of riches]. jièjué ycqiè wbihài shbngmìng yo jiànkang de lòuxí. how can he enjoy a happy life? To illustrate the importance of good health. bùwài wo gè fangmiàn: yc. shànliáng. yù shì chénzhuó. zlnyàng cáinéng shm zìjm jiànkang qmlái ne? Zài wn kànlái. he would have been able like Einstein to bring beneyts to society and mankind. even if he is wealthy. Shud de bù duì de dìfang/rúynu bùdàng zhc chù.

rúgun . . . . =rúgun . . (4) Pay attention to temperature change and be particular about hygiene.. What I have said above is just my own opinion.. . don]t lose your temper... nàme shud [this being the case]. huanyíng dàjia pcpíng zhmzhèng. If any of it is wrong or inappropriate. . which serve as signposts of progression from one idea to another (e. =klshì [however]. When treating people.. .]. . . . and always start from the positive.]. going off for holiday travel. jiùsuàn . to reduce chances of falling ill. . the factors for ensuring good health lie in yve areas: (1) You should take regular exercise to achieve good blood circulation and physical strength and increase resistance to disease. . and generous. Analysis: A piece of argumentation like this is likewise more structured than more informal speech or writing.. This being the case. . drink excessively or take drugs. . In this case we want to draw attention to logical links provided by the presence of paired conjunctions and conjunctives between different parts of the argument. how can you make yourself healthy? As far as I am concerned. . . . A sentence like the last one is virtually a cliché which occurs as a modest gesture at the end of a presentation: !"#$%&'"()5 !"#$/ !"#3 !"#5 Shàngmiàn sun shud de zhmshì wn gèrén de kànfk. be kind. . If we can accomplish these yve points. wúlùn .. yòu [if . even if . and you should eat more vegetables and fruit and less greasy food. dduyào [no matter .]. Shud de bù duì de dìfang/rúynu bùdàng zhc chù. If you have health. . wúlùn . completing tasks at work. no matter what the circumstances. I would welcome criticisms or comments.. 224 . and give up all bad habits that endanger life and health.. etc. and in dealing with matters stay cool and calm. yljiù [if . fair. ..). .. etc. (2) Your daily diet and lifestyle should be controlled to guarantee an appropriate amount of sleep. ]. you have everything: whether you are pursuing study and research. . . dìngnéng [if .. you can always derive the greatest pleasure from what you are doing. yàoshi . !=zài wn kàn lái [as far as I am concerned]. =qíshí [in fact]. (3) Don]t smoke. See for example . . . ! shìxikng ycxià [just think for a moment]. . our health will basically be guaranteed.g. .].IV Paragraphs From this it can be seen that. ddunéng [no matter . (5) Always maintain a cheerful frame of mind. good health must be the foundation. ! yóu cm kl jiàn [from this it can be seen]. or engaging in any activity no matter what. . . Also present are those idiomatic phrases commonly found in any piece of argument.

please see the analyses given for earlier sections.[What I have said above is just my own opinion. Argumentative writing 225 . I would welcome criticisms or comments. more literal than colloquial in this case. as regards other features such as the omission of subjects and objects..] The translation. reveals precisely the lexis and steps of argument in the Chinese original. If any of it is wrong or inappropriate. Again. etc.

or – a clause – [a nobody-will-ever-forget experience]). Le. Gradable adjectives are adjectives that generally can be modiyed by a degree adverb. manner. location. by train. etc. a word. Chinese aspect markers are NOT indicators of tense. immediate or past experience. a word or phrase placed directly before a verb to modify it. simultaneousness. Tense is speciyed by time expressions placed before the verb or at the beginning of the sentence. I like to drink tea]). square. a very useful book]. phrase or clause placed before a noun to qualify or identify it (e. black]) and deyne rather than describe. they can be graded to varying degrees using a range of adverbs such as [very. means. That is. and continuation. In Chinese. D zhe and zài which are closely associated with verbs. they indicate the aspectual notions of completion. Non-gradable adjectives are usually not modiyable by degree adverbs as they have more absolute meanings (e. [I like tea. a verb which rezects the speaker]s attitude. deyne or evaluate qualities or characteristics associated with nouns. in London. [male. [nice weather. usually providing background information such as time.g. It may be followed by verbal as well as nominal objects (e.Glossary of grammatical terms Glossary of grammatical terms adjectives adverbial aspect markers attitudinal verb attributive 226 Words used to describe. In Chinese. persistence. good].g. In Chinese. [yesterday. etc. extremely]. and zài immediately precedes it. The functional words le. green. etc. guo and D zhe are sufyxed to the verb. (e. . slowly]. guo.).g. female. such as [big. with chopsticks.g. method.

[and. In contrast with a subject-predicate sentence which narrates an incident (e. while the comment describes. terminal location or destination.g. frequency. phrase or clause which comes directly either after a verb (i. because]. A term employed to describe a subject-predicate or topic-comment construction which relates to other similar constructions. result. explains or contends.g. an adjectival complement) to indicate its degree or extent. to constitute a sentence in Chinese. The verbal text (in speech or in writing) that goes before or after the verbal event under consideration. however]. Conjunctions in Chinese often form related pairs (e.). therefore. etc. The topic establishes the theme or focus of interest in the sentence. The part of a sentence in a topic-comment sentence which follows the topic. [because . make him happy]. deynes. [ask him to come. A word. etc. . The extralinguistic situation or environment in which a verbal event takes place. . . a verbal complement) to indicate the duration. adjectives. manner or consequential state of the action expressed by the verb. A general term referring to a sentence which consists of more than one clause or predicate linked together by (a) conjunction(s) or conjunctive(s).e.g. somebody did something). etc. Words used to join two words. offers explanations. a topic-comment sentence makes observations.causative verb clause comment complement composite sentence conjunctions conjunctives context cotext A verb which causes its object to produce an action or to change state (e. The verb shì [to be]. otherwise. using coordinate or subordinate conjunctions.e. modal verbs and the particle le are all regular elements in a comment. though . Referential adverbs used to link two clauses or predicates/comments. with or without conjunctional devices. etc. . provides descriptions. or after an adjective (i. phrases or clauses (e.). A composite sentence may therefore be of a compound or complex nature. etc.).g. Glossary of grammatical terms 227 .

g. willingness. obligation. may. the temporal orientation (i.g. etc. modal verbs A set of verbs which are used directly before other verbs to indicate possibility. etc. a preposition-like verb which is not normally used on its own but is followed by another verb (or other verbs). Hence the passive voice is not realised in its actual form but can only be notional. intentional verb A verb which expresses the speaker]s intentions.g. It is generally followed by another verb indicating the action which the speaker intends to take (e. give him a present. degree adverb See adjective. (e. method. must. direction indicators A set of motion verbs which follow other verbs as direction complements to indicate the spatial direction or. beginning. etc. these are words which must be used between a numeral or demonstrative and the noun it qualiyes. necessity.).Glossary of grammatical terms 228 In Chinese. deynite reference Terms used in connection with nominal or proand indeynite nominal items. daring. should. dare]. in which [him] is the indirect object and [a present] is the direct object). continuing or ending) of the actions expressed by those verbs. sometimes. intensiyer A word used to emphasise or highlight elements in a sentence. probability. which indicates location. English equivalents are [a piece of cake. A coverb with its object forms a coverbal phrase. measure words Also known as classiYers. a glass of beer]. at]. reference. while the verb is still encoded in its active form.e. indeynite reference See deYnite reference. instrument. but in Chinese measure words are used with all nouns. location phrase A location word or postpositional phrase preceded by the coverb =zài [(be) in. The difference between deynite reference and indeynite reference may be illustrated by the use of the deynite article [the] and the indeynite article [a(n)] in English. dative verb A verb which requires two objects: a direct object and an indirect object (e. notional passive A term used to refer to a construction in which the object of the verb is brought forward to a subject position before the verb. [can. [I plan to study Chinese]). coverb . permission.

=yl. In Chinese. =zài. =què. the prepositional phrase [on the table] in English is rendered in the word order [the table on] in Chinese). =dào.g. A word placed after a noun to indicate a part of the noun or a spatial/temporal relationship to the noun (e. the subject is generally of deYnite reference. above]. which usually indicates location or time. but they are also regularly created spontaneously. See aspect markers. and resembles a prepositional phrase in English (e. a verb which is formed by placing the particle le after an adjective. =ddu. in. In Chinese. a monosyllabic item which has no independent meaning of its own but serves to deliver a structural or functional grammatical message. cái. [on. A type of Chinese sentence in which more than one verb occurs in succession without any conjunctional devices. A state verb indicates a state of affairs rather than an action or an event. outside. Two-syllabled items which are sufyxed to an adjective to add to its descriptive power by introducing some kind of sound connotation. In a Chinese subject-predicate sentence.. The subject is usually the initiator or recipient of the action expressed by the verb or verb phrase in the predicate. has no independent semantic signiycance.g. There are a considerable number of conventionalised onomatopoeic words in Chinese. echoing or reinforcing the meaning of those elements. See predicate. See comment. for example. etc.). Glossary of grammatical terms 229 . =hái. etc. A noun followed by a postposition is called a postpositional phrase. The sentence particle =ma. but its presence has the function of changing a statement into a general question. A set of monosyllabic adverbs such as =jiù. =yòu. which in a sentence refer either backwards to elements before them or forward to elements after them.onomatopoeia particle phonaesthemes postposition predicate referential adverbs serial construction state verb subject tense topic A word which is used to approximate to a natural sound in real life. The part of a sentence that follows the subject.

Glossary of grammatical terms 230 .

56–8. 115. 170 gradable 46–7. 148. 89–90. 92 [as regards] 158 [as soon as] 194 [at] 152–3 attitudinal adverbial expression 109 attitudinal verb 43. 149 adjective 9. 144 [after] 78 [again] 112 age 49. 52. 53–4. 148 addition 189 address 11 forms of address 11 postal address 11 adjectival predicate 44–7. 120–2 of manner 107–8. 139. 62. 36 antonym 46 antonymous expression 169 apology 181 apostrophe 199. 116. 49. 190–1 [because of] 158 231 . 36–8. 56. 36–42 adjectival 40 clause 39 nominal 38–40 verbal 39–40 audacity 120 ba (imperative particle) 66–7. 128 [agree (to)] 121 ai/aiya/aiyd / / (interj) 201 [along] 155 [also] 112 alternative question 144 [although] 187. 140–41 bk (cv) 125. 203 apposition 199 approval 182 approximation 19 argumentative stance 126. 121–2 attributive 9. 26–7 [according to] 157 action verb 43. 178 non-gradable 46–7 admonition 119 adverbial 107–9. 41. (question particle) 125. 130. 21. 18 basic set (of numbers) 15–16 [be] 44 [because] 187.Index Index a (particle) 125 a (interj) 199–200 abbreviation 180– 6 contextual 185–6 conventional 181 ability 99. 149 [as for] 158 aspect 43 aspect marker 43. 193 àn/ànzhào / (cv) [according to] 157 [and] (between noun and pronoun) 14. 175 of attitude 101 affirmative-negative question 141. 65–6. 62–5. 30–2. 132. 159–64 bàn [half]. 63. 118 abstract noun 11.

168. 10 chéng (cv) [travel by] 156 Chinese language 1 choice 188 che (mw) for plays 25. 166. 130–1. 196 compound number 17 compulsion 117 concession 193 condition 191–2 confirmation 145 cóng (cv) [from] 154 conjunction 14–5. 120. 186–8 collective noun 11. 106. . 43–4. 162 degree 53–4. (direction indicator) [exiting] 69–70 chúfbi (conjunction) [unless] 192 cì (mw) for frequency 95–6 classifier 21 clause 15. 110 Cantonese 1 cardinal number 15.. 15 comparison 53–6. 53–4 bian (postposition) (be)side 83ff biàn (mw) for frequency 95 biàn (referential adverb) [then] 111 bié [don]t]. 190–7 consonant 2 ..] [but] 114 bù yào (modal verb) [don]t] 119 bùyòng (modal verb) [needn]t] 117 [by oneself] 202 cái (referential adverb. 75–6 case 10 causative 43 232 causative construction 170–1 causative verb 43. 113– 120. 105. . 175 of result 127. 188. 96–106 of consequential state 44. 102. 163–6. . 45. 58. 186–8. 49–51. 54.Index [before] 78 bbi (mw) for cups etc 25 bèi (passive marker) 125. jiùshì . 39. 131. 101–2. (conjunction) [either . 186–97 conjunctive 125. 100. 175 belief 198 bln (mw) for books etc 23 bm (preposition) [compare]. films etc 25 cháo (cv) [towards] 154 characters 1. . 186 bùjmn (conjunction) [not only] 190 bùrán (conjunction) [otherwise] 186 bùrú (conjunction) [better to] 194 bùshì . 172–3 cause and effect 190 chà [to (in time of day). 186. 163. 41. 27–8 colours 47 commendation 182 common noun 11. . 36. . .. 119 bmjiào (comparative marker) 56 bìxe (modal verb) [must] 117 bravery 120 brief duration 94–5. 130 of manner 44. 104. 147. 106 of destination 104–5 of direction 44. . 103. conjunctive) 110.. 176–8 bùbì (modal verb) [no need] 117 bùdàn (conjunction) [not only] 189 bùgukn (conjunction) [no matter] 192 bùguò (conjunction) [but] 236. 139 potential 44. 125. 99–100 composite sentence 125. 127 of duration 129 of frequency 129 of location 97. 149. 123. . 129 bù 5. . or . 138–42. to lack] 77 chkng (mw) for games. 178 complement 7. 100. 13. 155. 104. 148. 144–5. 187 [can(not)] 99–101.

146–7 . 111–2 duì (mw) [pair] 26. 81. 93. [as far as . 105–6. 186. (degree complement) 54. 149 family relationship 93 fkn]ér (conjunction) [on the contrary] 189 [fear (to)] 121 fbicháng (degree adverb) [extremely] 45. 139 degree complement 54. or . 180. . . 37–41. 90–6. 80 exclamation 199–203 existence 43. 139 dli (modal verb) [have to]. . 202 contextual abbreviation 183 contrast 45. 125. 146–8 definite reference 9. 31–2. is concerned] dud (with numbers) [over]. 88. (adverbial modifier) 48. .. 152–4. de shíhòu [when] 195 degree adverb 44–6. 70. towards] 156 duì . de huà [if] 193 . (mw) hour. . . 37–8.. 14. 90. 40–1. (question word) how (with adjective) 135–6. (cv) [to. 130 emphasis 126 ér [as well as] (conjunction) 41 estimation 198 [every] 18–19. 125. 147 adjective 31 pronoun 31 desire 118 destination 104–5 dc (mw) [drop (of water etc)] dialect 1 dikn (in decimals) point 27. 88. 130 explanatory stance 126. . 91–3. 49 cotext 10.context 9–10. [all. . 10. 170 direction indicator 67. 174 currency 119 dàjia (pronoun) everybody 34–5 dang (preposition) [when] 78 dànshì (conjunction) [but] 180. (with modal verbs) 120 Index 233 . 129 [each other] 35 [either . lái shud . 35. 17. 116 demonstrative 9. 125. 142 [don]t] 119 ddu (adverb) 79–80. 153–4 [dare] 120 date 13. . 189 danxcn [to worry] (with object clause) 198 dào (referential adverb) [however] 114 dào (cv) [to] 104–5.] 196 emergence 81. 89. 120–2. 14. 90. 63–6. 53. 170 day 76 of the month 76 of the week 76 daying [to promise] (with object clause) 198 de (adverbial) 106–8 de (attributive) 9. . . 93. 87–90. . 181 cotextual omission 184–5 countable 21 [cousins] 93 coverb 152–7 coverbal phrase 39. (exclamation) how 199 dun (mw) for flowers dudme (exclamation) how 199 duration 44. . . 72–3 disappearance 81. . 130 disyllabic 5. 77–8 dative verb 43. 105. 186–7. o]clock (in times of day) 77–8 dmng (mw) for hats etc 25 direct object 63. 152 de (complement) 101–4 [decide (to)] 123 decimal 18 definite 9. 188 conventional abbreviation 181 copula 44. both].

Index feminine 9.] 145 hào =number (date. 103. is likely to]. 14–5. (in passive voice) 165. . 129 hái (degree adverb) 54.. 196 234 . 29 fbn (in fractions. 178–9 guanyú (cv) [as for. over a distance] 68–74 Guóyo [national language] 1 habitual action 56.( ) [together with] 157 headword 10. 140 gèng [even (more)] 54 gbnjù (cv) [on the basis of] given name 14 gradable adjective 46–7.] 157 gender 9 general question 132. . 157 gbn . 80. (in directional complements) 100. for] 156. 36 huòzhl (conjunction) [or] 189. 13–14 huò (conjunction) [or]. (with indirect object) 170 gbn [and]. bus. (direction indicator) [across. (cv) [to. 15. (ycqm) . business 202 human noun 9. minute (in time of day) 77 fèn (mw) for work 123 fbng (mw) for letters 23 final 2.. should] 116 gkn (modal verb) [dare] 120 Gàn (dialect) 1 ganggang (time adverb) 81 gaoxìng (as attitudinal verb) [happy/pleased to] gè (common mw) 21–2 and passim gli (as dative verb) 63–4. 36. as mw for matter. 124 [from] (distance) 154.( ) (cv) [together with . as regards] gai guo (aspect marker) 59–60. 118 huí (motion verb) return 69: (mw) for frequency 95. 4 first person pronoun 29 first tone 4–5 [floors/storeys] 17 [for] 156 [forget] 122 forms of address 11 [for the sake of] 158 fourth tone 4–5 fnuzé (conjunction) [otherwise] 186 fraction 18 frequency 44. room. telephone etc) 17. 138. 144 Hakka 1 half 18 Hans 1 Hànyo [the Han language] 1 hko ma /hko bu hko (tag in suggestions) [how about . (in comparisons) 55. 41 hbi/hèi ( ) (interj) 201 height 125 hln [very]. (in comparisons) 55 hé . 14–15. 95–6.. 78 [hate (to)] 121 [have to] 116 hé (conjunction) [and]. 44–6 [hope (to)] 122 hòu (postposition) 83ff [how] 134–7 [however] 114 [how far] 135–6 [how long] 135–6 [how much] 135–6 [how old] 135–6 Huáyo [Chinese language] 1 huì =(modal verb) [may. . . .. . (ycqm) . (point of departure) 154 fú (mw) for painting 89 fù (mw) for spectacles 34 (modal verb) [ought to. 64. . (referential adverb) 112 háishi [or]. . 36. decimals) 18.

81. 88. 108 [in] 152–3 inability 99 indefinite reference 9. (sentence particle) 43. 13–14. 62–5. 196 intransitive 67. 138. 170 inference 191 initial 2–4 initiator 146 intensifier 50.idiom 41 [if] 187–9. 38 [may] 117 mli [every]. 122–3 interjection 199. 71 [it] 29–31. supposing] 193 jíle (degree complement) [extremely] 105 jìn (motion verb) [enter] 69. (direction indicator) 70 jmngukn (conjunction) [though] 193 jiù (referential adverb) [then]. 112 likng [two] 16–17 liàng (mw) for vehicles [like] 121 líng [zero] (in large numbers) 16 link verb 44 location 96. 150 lí (cv) [from] (distance) 154–5 lm (postposition) in(side) lì (mw) for rice. 130 location expression 43. (used in apposition) 203 lián (preposition) [even] 102. 51–2. 19. coat etc 24 jiànyì (with object clause) suggest jiào (in passive voice) 148. 28–30 la lko Index 235 . 24. (direction indicator) towards the speaker le (aspect marker) 57–8.113–14 méi(ynu) ( ) [have not]. 159–60 [several] 19. 117 kuài (mw) [piece] (exclamatory particle) 200 (in forms of address) 15. 178. 161–2. . 125–7. 110. 187 jiùshì (conjunction) [even if] jiùsuàn (conjunction) [even if] 193 jù (cv) [on the basis of] 158 juéde (with object clause) [feel] 198 juxtapositional 7 jm kb kb (mw) for pearl. 196 interrogative pronoun 32. 132. 149 indirect object 63. 104. or so] 19. 191–3. (negator) 54–5. (question word) how many (for numbers less than ten) 132–3 jià (mw) for planes jiàn (mw) for shirt. 126. 176 men (plural suffix) 9. 113–4. can]. 173–4. 58–60. 142–4. 80 measure word 9. (adverb) always 79 lái (motion verb) [come] 67ff. 180 intentional verb 43. 163. 119 klshì (conjunction) [but] klym (modal verb) [may. 143. 27–8. 15. 201–2 interrogative adverb 132. 165 jikrú (conjunction) [if. 90. 110. 27. 92. [. 104 location noun 85 location pronoun 85 lunar calendar 48 ma (particle) 125. 81. 132 major dialect 1 Mandarin 1 masculine 29 material noun 11. . 197–8 imperative 66. 91. trees 24 kè quarter of an hour (in times of day) 77 kln (modal verb) [be willing]. sand etc lik [both. 153. 17–22. the two]. star 24 (mw) for plants. 14.

27. 15 human 9. 49. 25–8 abstract 11. 172. 15 given name 15 nkpà (conjunction) [even though] 194 nkr (question word) where 32. 52 basic set 15–16 compound number 17 countable 21 uncountable 21 numeral 9. 19–22. 134 nà/nèi (demonstrative pronoun and adjective) that 31. 58. 184–6 conjunctional nominal pronominal [on behalf of] 156 236 . 165. 178 nèi [inside] 182 néng (modal verb) [may. 13. 40 nkli (question word) where 32. 10. 159. 134. 143. 132. 132. 26–7 collective. (in comparisons) 54–5. 163. 117 néng(gòu) ( ) (modal verb) [can]. 38 non-human 14. 40–1. 67. 13–14 material 11. 176–7 direct 63. 163. 125. 91 object 7. 72 multiple.Index mian (noun suffix) [side] 83–5 Min (dialect) 1 modal verb 43–4. (as postposition) 82 narrative stance 146 national language 1 nationality 49 ne (particle) 60. 115–17. 11. 82. 119 nk/nli (question word) which 32. 150. 165 modern standard Chinese 1 modifier 6 monosyllabic 5. 138. 166 non-morphological 125 notional passive 125. 17. 127 month 75–6. then]. 125. 94–6. 160 indirect 62. 15–18. 120–1. 137 necessity 117 negation 45. 91 motion verb 43. 54. 15 surname 11. 49 non-condition 192 non-gradable adjective 46 non-Han languages 1 non-human 14. 43. 132. 70. 34. 103–4 name (Chinese) 11–2. (in composite sentence) 196 nàr/nàli (location pronoun) there 31. can]. 36–7. 18 [must] 117. 140–1. 166 nought 16 noun 9–15. 170. 166 non-human noun 14. 26–7 common 11. 166 proper 10–11 number 10. 29–30 ng (interj) 201 nm (pronoun) [you] 28 nmde (possessive pronoun/ adjective) [your(s)] 30 nmmen (pronoun) [you (pl)] 28 nmmende (possessive pronoun/adjective) [your(s) (pl)] 30 nín (pronoun) [you (polite)] 29 nìngkl (conjunction) [would rather] 194 nominal predicate 47. 174 instrumental 95 location 96 object clause 197–8 obligation 116 omission 181. 117–18 neuter 9–10. 113–14. (polite response) 180 nàme [so. 9–10. 116–17. 51–2. 20. 82.

49 pronominal 47. 149. 14. 195 onomatopoeic 108 [or] (between nouns and pronouns) 14–15. 49 adjectival 44–7. also for leaves. 35. 205. 164. 82–3 post-verbal 9. 125 price 49 probability 118 prohibition 119. 125 potential complement 44. 189 ordinal number 17 [otherwise] 188 [ought to] 116 (attitudinal verb) [fear. 30 pronunciation 2. 172. 67. 99–100 predicate 44–7. 41 possessive pronoun 30–1. (direction indicator) away from the speaker quadrisyllabic idiom 109 qualifier 9 Index 237 . 4 pitch 4 [plan (to)] 123 [please]. 62. 174–5 Putonghua [common speech] 1 qm (direction indicator) [up(wards)] 69–70 qián (postposition) [before] 82ff qmng (polite request) 172–3 qù (motion verb) [go] 66–7ff. 2. 41 second person 29 third person 9. 172 possession 50 possessive 30–1. 203 demonstrative 31–2 first person 29 interrogative 32. composition 63 piàn (mw) [slice]. 125 pre-verbal 9. 157–8 prepositional phrase 39.[on the basis of] 158 [one another] 35 [only] 111 [only then] 110. 97. 203. 92–3. be afraid] 121 [pair] 26 pángbian (postposition) [by the side of] 83 parallel construction 109 particle 4 passive construction/voice 125. 52. 222 verbal 167 preference 194 prefix 15 preposition 83. 166 notional passive 125. 14. 32 point of time 75. 182 promise 198 pronominal object 92–3 pronominal predicate 49. (between verbs) 143–5. 5 proper noun 10–11 proverbial saying 183 public notice 182 purpose 167–8. etc pcnycn [standard romanisation]. 97 pronoun 9. 132. 182 plural 9–10. 196 personal 28–30 possessive 30–1. 78–80 polite request 67. 92–3. 41 possibility 118 postal address 12 pà postposition 82–3 postpositional phrase 39. 130. 166 passive marker 148 pbi/pèi (interj) 201 percentage 18 permission 117 personal pronoun 28–30 phonaesthetic 109 pc (mw) batch 26 pm (mw) for horses pian (mw) for essay. 13–14. 28–36. 167 nominal 47.

46–50. 73. 143 alternative 132 general 132. 136–40 affirmative-negative 132. 140. 140–1 tag 141 asking for confirmation 145 in the form of suggestions 144. 88. . 136.Index què (referential adverb) [however]. 146–7 indefinite 9. 138. crowd ràng (in passive voice) 148. 114 questions 132. 153. . 13 sìzhdu (as postposition) [around] 83 [some/a little] 26–7 [sorry] 145. 197 rì [day]. 195 [rather than] 194 recipient 146 reference 9 definite 9. 34–5. (in existence sentences) 88–9.. 172–3 [several] 19 shàng (direction indicator) [up(wards)] 68. (not used with le) 130–1. 149 generic referential adverb 110. 114. 178–9 topic| subject-predicate 150–1 sentence starter 183 sentence stress 173–4 sequential action 167 serial construction 125. 93. 170. 132–3 shénme (interrogative pronoun) [what] 32. 13. (in time expressions) last 75–6. after that 128. 165 ránhòu (conjunction) then. 166–8. 186. over 82–9 shàngxià (approximation) 20 shapes 47 shéi/shuí (interrogative pronoun) [who(m)] 32–4. (in days of the week) 76 rúgun (conjunction) [if] 192–3 script 1 season 75 second person pronoun 29 second tone 4 sentence 125 structural flexibility subjectless 181 subject-predicate 126. 70. 140–1 question-word 132. (emphatic structure) 174–7 shnu (mw) for song. above. (in topic-comment sentences) 149. (postposition) on. 13. 96–7 rhythm 84. 132–3 shéide/shuíde (interrogative possessive pronoun) [whose] 32–3. 148. poem etc 25 [should] 116 shuang (mw) [pair] 26 shud (with object clause) [say] 198–9 simplified form (of Chinese characters) 2 [since/because] 190 singular 9–10. 132–3 shí (time expression) [when] 78 shm (causative verb) [to cause] 171 shì (predicate verb) [to be] 43. (as intensifier) 174–80 shì . de . others 34 rènwéi (with object clause) think 198 repetition 180 request 182 reservation 179–80 result (complement) 44. 146–51 subject | topic-comment 151–2 238 topic-comment 125. 181 statement 126 . 200 rhetorical 132 surmise 132. 134. 187 register 4 religion 57 [remember (to)] 122 rénjia (pronoun) the other person.. 88. 198 qún (mw) group.

44 motion 43. 178–9 transitive 67–71. 176–7 subject-predicate 126.state verb 43. 153 [together with] 157 tonal adjustment 5 tone 4–5. 63–6. 30 third tone 4–5 tì (cv) [for] 156 tian [sky. 83. 119 transitive verb 119 [travel on/by] 155–6 uncountable 21 unstressed 4 verb 7. 191. 58. 136–7 sun (mw) for house 24. 36 topic | subject-predicate 150–1 topicalisation 126 topic-comment 125–6. 101–2 verbal phrase 39. 166 verbal predicate 166–7 vocabulary 5. (in days of week) 76–7 ta tiáo (mw) for dogs 24. 170 intentional 43. 149. 178–9 tou (noun suffix) 13. heaven. 43–4 action 43–4. 49 syllable 2. 77–9. head 129. 85. 178–9 [still] 194 structural words 4 sub-dialect 1. 63 suggestion 144. 101–2. 174 time of day 77 time relations 194 time sequence 125 time word 91 [to] 104–5. 179. 154 towards] 154. 127. 15. 10 subject 7. 58. 152. 146–51 subject | topic-comment 151–2 subjectless sentence 181 suffix (noun and pronoun) 9. 66–74 state 43–4. 201–2 toneless 4 tone marks 4 tóng [and]. 56–63. 10. for trousers 26 time expression 43. 122–3 intransitive 67. 198 suì [years of age] 20. 28–9 tade / (possessive pronoun) [his/her(s)] 30 tag expression 145 tài (adverb) [too] 120. day]. 170. 149. 119 verbal clause 39. (in exclamations) 200 tái (mw) for machines etc 24 tamen / (personal pronoun) [they/them] 28 tamende / (possessive pronoun) [their(s)] 30 tàng (mw) for frequency 95–6 tào (mw) [set] 25–6 tense 43. 71 link 44 modal 43. 54. 65–6. 90. 127. 156 transitive 67–71. 10 voiced 2 volume (speech) 4 vowel 3 Index 239 . 15. 81. 139. [that which] 183 sunym (conjunction) [therefore] 190 superlative 56 supposition 192 surmise 132. 74 [thank you] 181 [then] 110–1 [therefore] 190 third person pronoun 9. 9–11 synonym 7 / / (personal pronoun) [he(him)/she(her)/it] 10. 74–5. 127 attitudinal 43. 30. 4. 13–4. 140–1 surname 11. 62–3. 121–2 causative 43 dative 43. 62–3. 170.

. 174 worry 198 [would like to] 119. [must] (used with [second and third persons]) 118–19 yàome . . 5. . 193 yl (referential adverb) [also] 35..Index 240 wài (postposition) [out(side)] 82ff wkng (cv) [to(wards)] 154 [want] 118–20 warning 182 [wear] (clothes) 61–2 weather 183 week 76. 172 Wú (dialect) 1 wúlùn (conjunction) [regardless] 192 wúrén (contextual abbreviation) vacant (of lavatory) 184 (direction indicator) [down(wards)] 68. (as plural suffix in demonstratives) 32 xièxie (conventional abbreviation) [thank you] 181 xmhuan (attitudinal verb) [like (to)] 115. 121 xíng be all right. 112 year 75. 198 with/using] 155 wn (personal pronoun) [I(me)] 28–9 wnde (possessive pronoun) [my/mine] 30 wnmen (personal pronoun) [we(us)] 28–9 wnmende (possessive pronoun) [our(s)] 30 word class 9 word-formation 6 word order 45. at the same time 196 xià . 132. 138. (postposition) 82–3 xian (time adverb) first 79 Xiang (dialect) 1 xikng [want.. or] yàoshi (conjunction) [if] 187. . (in time expressions) [next]. hey (on telephone) hello 184 wèi (cv) [for] 156–7 wèi (polite measure) for a person 31 wèi shénme (question word) [why] 132 weight 128 [what time] 132 [what] 132 [when] (conjunction) 78 [when] (interrogative) 132 [where] 132 [which] 132 [while] 78–9 [who] 132 [whose] 132 [why] 132 willingness 119 wish 118. yàome . . OK 180 xcwàng (with object clause) [hope] 198 ya (exclamation) 199–200 yán/yánzhe / (cv) along 39. 181–2. would like to]. 72–3. . 155 yàng type.. 9 ycbian/ycmiàn . / (paired conjunctives) while. (paired conjunctives) [either . . 118–19 xiàng (cv) [to(wards)] 154 xiangdang (degree adverb) [fairly] 45 xiangxìn (with object clause) [believe] 198 xiko (in forms of address) 15 xib (mw) for small amounts. 74. 70. 91 wèi (contextual abbreviation) hello. kind 180 yào (modal verb) [want. would like to] (used with [first person]). ycbian/ycmiàn / . 91 ylxo (attitudinal adverb) [perhaps] 110 yc [one].

bird. should].] 78. . 119–20 yub (in approximation) [about. insect 23 zhc (mw) for pens etc 22 zhm (referential adverb) [only]. 36 yuànyì (modal verb) [be willing]. (in topic-comment sentences) 148. 195 ychuìr (brief duration) [a moment] 94 ymjcng (time adverb) [already] 79 yc . 111 zhmyào (conjunction) [provided] 191 zhmynu (conjunction) [only if] 191 zhnng (mw) [kind. . (aspect marker) 60–1.. 116.. (without le. using] 155 ynu [to have] 43.] 187 ymlái (in duration expressions) [since .] 93 ymmikn (in purpose sentences) [so as not to] 168 ycncm (conjunction) [therefore] 190 ycnggai [ought to. 40 zhème (in comparisons) [so] 54–5 zhbn (degree adverb) [really] 45 zhèng(zài) ( ) (action in progress) [in the process of] 60 zhèr/zhèlm / (location pronoun) [here] 31. 113 ynurén (contextual abbreviation) engaged (of lavatory) 184 yóuyú (cv) [because of] 158. 75–6 yonxo (in causative sentences) [allow] 171 yoqí (conjunction) [rather than] 194 zài Index (referential adverb) [again]. (in definitive point of time expressions) 80. . expressing state of affairs) 130. (in serial sentences) 169 yòu (referential adverb) [again]. (in location phrases) 82 zánmen (personal pronoun) [we/us]. jiù . 113 zài (cv) [at/in]. (in topic-comment sentences) 150 ycnwèi (conjunction) [because] 190–1 ymqián (time expression) [before .] 78–9. . . (as postpositional phrase) 83 zhc (mw) for animal. 64. . around] 20 yuè [month] 17. (in comparisons) 54–5. . . . . (in existence sentences) 81. 129–30. 50 –3. 195 yòng (cv) [with. . 15. . (paired conjunctives) [as soon as .] 168 ycdiknr (mw) [a little] 26–7 ycdìng (attitudinal adverb) [definitely] 110 ymhòu (time expression) [after . 190 yo (conjunction) [and]. 29 zánmende (possessive pronoun) [our(s)] 30 zlnme/zln(me)yàng / ( ) (question word) [how] 132 zlnyàng (question word) [how are things] 203 zero initial 3–4 zhang (mw) for paper etc 23 zhe D (aspect marker) 61–2. 86–9. type] 27 zhdng(jian) ( ) (postposition) [in the middle] 83 zhuàng (mw) for building 53 241 .ymbiàn (in purpose sentences) [so as to . 152–3. 162 zhè/zhèi (demonstrative pronoun and adjective) [this] 31–2.

56 zuìhòu [finally.Index zìjm (pronoun) [(one)self] 34. in the end] 79–80 zuìjìn [recently. mountains 25 zunyòu (as approximation) [more or less] 20 242 . by] 155–6 zuò (mw) for buildings. (in apposition) 203 znng (adverb) [always] 79 znngsuàn (adverb) [after all] 110 zuì (superlative) [most]. lately] 79 zuò (cv) [travel on.

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