Chinese Grammar

Welcome to the 8th lesson about Chinese grammar. We will first learn about prepositions, negation, questions, adverbs, and pronouns including: personal, object and possessive pronouns. To hear the pronunciation, just click on the sound icon.

We will start with prepositions. In general, they are used to link words to other words. For example: I speak Chinese and English the preposition is [and] because it connects both words Chinese and English. The following is a list of the most used prepositions in Chinese.

Prepositions
Chinese
Pronunciation
and
[hé] Audio
above
在...上
[zài...shàng] Audio
under
在...下
[zài...xià] Audio
before
在...前
[zài...qián] Audio
after
在 ...后
[zài ...hòu] Audio
in front of
面前
[miàn qián] Audio
behind
背后
[bèi hòu] Audio
far from
远离
[yuǎn lí] Audio
near
在…附近
[zài... fù jìn] Audio
in
在…里
[zài...lǐ] Audio
inside
在…里面
[zài... lǐ miàn] Audio
outside
[wài] Audio
with
和…在一起
[hé... zài yī qǐ] Audio
without
[wú] Audio
about
关于
[guān yú] Audio
between
之间
[zhī jiān] Audio
but
但是
[dàn shì] Audio
for
为了
[wèi le] Audio
from
从…起
[cōng...qǐ] Audio
to
[zhì] Audio

Preposition Grammar Rules

The following examples use prepositions in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Prepositions + Rules
Chinese + Pronunciation
I eat without a knife
[preposition + noun]
我吃饭不用刀 Audio
[wǒ chī fàn bù yòng dāo]
she lives near the church
[verb + preposition]
她住在教堂附近 Audio
[tā zhù zài jiāo táng fù jìn]
he is taller than her
[adjective + preposition]
他比她高 Audio
[tā bǐ tā gāo]
he came with his small dog
[preposition + pronoun]
他带着他的小狗来 Audio
[tā dài zhe tā de xiǎo gǒu lái]
can you come with me?
[preposition + pronoun]
你可以跟我来吗? Audio
[nǐ kě yǐ gēn wǒ lái ma?]

Negation in Chinese

Now let's learn how to make a negative sentence (negation). For example: Saying no, I can't, I don't ... The following examples use negation in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Negation + Rules
Chinese + Pronunciation
I understand you
[affirmative form]
我理解你 Audio
[wǒ lǐ jiě nǐ]
I don't understand you
[negation + verb]
我不明白你 Audio
[wǒ bù míng bái nǐ]
this is not the correct word
[negation + adjective]
这是不正确的单词 Audio
[zhè shì bù zhèng què de dān cí]
don't leave me
[imperative negation]
不要离开我 Audio
[bù yào lí kāi wǒ]
no problem
[negation + noun]
没有问题的 Audio
[méi yǒu wèn tí de]

Negative Sentences
Chinese + Pronunciation
I don't speak French
[negation + present tense]
我不会说法语 Audio
[wǒ bù huì shuō fǎ yǔ]
she didn't visit Germany
[negation + past tense]
她没有访问德国 Audio
[tā méi yǒu fǎng wèn dé guó]
he cannot see us
[negative modal verb]
他看不到我们 Audio
[tā kàn bù dào wǒ men]
can't she play chess?
[interrogative negation]
她不能下棋吗? Audio
[tā bù néng xià qí ma?]
we will not come late
[negation + future tense]
我们不会迟到 Audio
[wǒ men bù huì chí dào]

Questions in Chinese

Now let's learn how to ask questions (interrogative). Such as: what, why, can you ...? Here are some common examples:

English
Chinese
Pronunciation
how?
怎么样?
[zěn me yàng?] Audio
what?
什么?
[shén mē?] Audio
who?
谁?
[shuí?] Audio
why?
为什么?
[wèi shén me?] Audio
where?
哪里?
[nǎ lǐ?] Audio

More of the interrogative form, now in a sentence:

Questions + Rules
Chinese + Pronunciation
where do you live?
[interrogative + verb]
你住在哪里? Audio
[nǐ zhù zài nǎ lǐ?]
does she speak Chinese?
[interrogative verb]
她说中文吗? Audio
[tā shuō zhōng wén ma?]
how much is this?
[interrogative preposition]
这个多少钱? Audio
[zhè gè duō shǎo qián?]
can I help you?
[interrogative modal verb]
我可以帮你吗? Audio
[wǒ kě yǐ bāng nǐ ma?]
what is your name?
[interrogative preposition]
你叫什么名字? Audio
[nǐ jiào shén mē míng zì?]

Adverbs in Chinese

It's time to learn the adverbs in Chinese. But what is an adverb? In general, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. For example: You speak fast. The adverb is [fast] because it describes the verb and answers the question how do you speak?. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Adverbs
Chinese
Pronunciation
now
现在
[xiàn zài] Audio
yesterday
昨天
[zuó tiān] Audio
today
今天
[jīn tiān] Audio
tonight
今晚
[jīn wǎn] Audio
tomorrow
明天
[míng tiān] Audio
soon
不久
[bù jiǔ] Audio
quickly
很快
[hěn kuài] Audio
slowly
慢慢地
[màn màn de] Audio
together
一起
[yī qǐ] Audio
very
[hěn] Audio
almost
几乎
[jī hū] Audio
always
总是
[zǒng shì] Audio
usually
通常
[tōng cháng] Audio
sometimes
有时
[yǒu shí] Audio
rarely
很少
[hěn shǎo] Audio
never
从不
[cóng bù] Audio

The following examples use the adverbs in different ways and places to demonstrate how it behaves in a sentence.

Adverbs + Rules
Chinese + Pronunciation
do you understand me now?
[pronoun + adverb]
你现在明白我吗? Audio
[nǐ xiàn zài míng bái wǒ ma?]
I need help immediately
[noun + adverb]
我立即就需要帮助 Audio
[wǒ lì jí jiù xū yào bāng zhù]
she is very intelligent
[adverb + adjective]
她非常聪明 Audio
[tā fēi cháng cōng míng]
I will always love you
[verb + adverb]
我会永远爱你 Audio
[wǒ huì yǒng yuǎn ài nǐ]
can we learn German together?
[adverb in a question]
我们可以一起学习德语吗? Audio
[wǒ men kě yǐ yī qǐ xué xí dé yǔ ma?]

Pronouns in Chinese

We're almost done! This time we will learn the pronouns in Chinese. In general, a pronoun can be used instead of a noun. For example instead of saying my teacher speaks 3 languages, you can use the pronoun he, and say he speaks 3 languages. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Personal Pronouns
Chinese
Pronunciation
I
[wǒ] Audio
you
[nǐ] Audio
he
[tā] Audio
she
[tā] Audio
we
我们
[wǒ men] Audio
they
他们
[tā men] Audio

Object Pronouns
Chinese
Pronunciation
me
[wǒ] Audio
you
[nǐ] Audio
him
[tā] Audio
her
[tā] Audio
us
我们
[wǒ men] Audio
them
他们
[tā men] Audio

Possessive Pronouns
Chinese
Pronunciation
my
我的
[wǒ de] Audio
your
您的
[nín de] Audio
his
他的
[tā de] Audio
her
她的
[tā de] Audio
our
我们的
[wǒ men de] Audio
their
他们的
[tā men de] Audio

I think it's better to put the above example in a sentence to better assist you. The following examples use pronouns in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence. We will start with the personal pronouns.

Personal Pronouns
Chinese + Pronunciation
I am your friend
[1st pronoun + verb]
我是你的朋友 Audio
[wǒ shì nǐ de péng yǒu]
you speak very fast
[2nd pronoun + adverb]
你说话的速度非常快 Audio
[nǐ shuō huà de sù dù fēi cháng kuài]
he has three dogs
[3rd pronoun + verb]
他有三只狗 Audio
[tā yǒu sān zhī gǒu]
she can speak German
[3rd pronoun + verb]
她能讲德语 Audio
[tā néng jiǎng dé yǔ]
we will not come late
[1st plural pronoun]
我们不会迟到 Audio
[wǒ men bù huì chí dào]
they bought milk and bread
[3rd plural pronoun]
他们买了牛奶和面包 Audio
[tā men mǎi le niú nǎi hé miàn bāo]

The object pronoun is used as a target by a verb, and usually come after that verb. For example: I gave him my book. The object pronoun here is him. Here are more examples:

Object Pronouns
Chinese + Pronunciation
can you tell me your name?
[1st object pronoun]
你能告诉我你的名字吗? Audio
[nǐ néng gào sù wǒ nǐ de míng zì ma?]
I will give you money
[2nd object pronoun]
我会给你钱 Audio
[wǒ huì gěi nǐ qián]
she wrote him a letter
[3rd object pronoun]
她给他写了一封信 Audio
[tā gěi tā xiě le yī fēng xìn]
they visited her yesterday
[3rd object pronoun]
他们昨天拜访了她 Audio
[tā men zuó tiān bài fǎng le tā]
can she help us?
[1st pl. object pronoun]
她可以帮助我们吗? Audio
[tā kě yǐ bāng zhù wǒ men ma?]
he gave them food
[3rd pl. object pronoun]
他给他们食物 Audio
[tā gěi tā men shí wù]

Possessive Pronouns
Chinese + Pronunciation
my name is Maya
[1st possessive pronoun]
我的名字叫玛雅 Audio
[wǒ de míng zì jiào mǎ yǎ]
your brother lives here
[2nd possessive pronoun]
你哥哥住在这里 Audio
[nǐ gē gē zhù zài zhè lǐ]
her mother cooks for us
[3rd possessive pronoun]
她母亲为我们做饭 Audio
[tā mǔ qīn wèi wǒ men zuò fàn]
his hobby is reading books
[3rd possessive pronoun]
他的爱好是看书 Audio
[tā de ài hào hǎo shì kàn shū]
our dream is to visit Paris
[1st pl. possessive pronoun]
我们的梦想是去巴黎 Audio
[wǒ men de mèng xiǎng shì qù bā lí]
their house is not far
[3rd pl. possessive pronoun]
他们家并不远 Audio
[tā men jiā bìng bù yuǎn]

One more thing you need to know is the demonstrative pronouns. They're very easy to learn.

Demonstrative Pronouns
Chinese
Pronunciation
this is my house
这是我的家
[zhè shì wǒ de jiā] Audio
that restaurant is far
那个餐厅远
[nà gè cān tīng yuǎn] Audio
these apples are delicious
这些苹果好吃
[zhè xiē píng guǒ hǎo chī] Audio
those stars are shiny
那些星星很闪亮
[nà xiē xīng xīng hěn shǎn liàng] Audio

I hope you learned a lot about the Chinese grammar in this lesson. If you have any question about this lesson please contact me here. The next lesson is below, have fun!

Chinese Phrases   Chinese Phrases

Chinese Vocabulary   Chinese Vocabulary



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Inspirational Quote: First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Epictetus