This grammar section is divided into a few sub-sections, and will be described through a few week activities:
SP1. Basic Pattern
SP2. Direct and Indirect Objects
SP3. Prepositional Phrases
SP4. Location and Time Phrases
- Unlike English, verbs in Chinese are not inflected. They are never affected by things such as time or person. This makes memorizing “conjugation tables” unnecessary.
- However, word order is very important in Chinese sentences. Word order is often the only indication in Chinese to tell who is doing what to whom.
- Word order can also vary between the two languages, especially with questions. In Chinese, the basic syntax of a question is the same as that of a statement (read this), whereas in English it usually is not.
SP1 : Basic Pattern
- The sentence structure of Chinese is very similar to English.
- In normal declarative sentences, they both follow the pattern :
Subject + Predicate
Subject + Verb + Object (S-V-O)
1. I drink coffee. wǒ hē kā fēi 。 我 喝 咖 啡 。 Subject Verb Object 2. He went to England. tā qù yīng guó 。 他 去 英 国 。 Subject Verb Object
- As mentioned earlier, verbs are not inflected in Chinese. There is no past tense, future tense, singular form and plural form in Chinese. As the example above, we have the verb ‘drink’, but there is no such thing as drinks, drunk, drank, am drinking, will drink, etc in Chinese.
He ‘drink’ coffee.
I ‘drink’ coffee now.
They drink coffee yesterday.
She ‘go’ England.
She ‘go’ England last year.
I ‘go’ (have been to) England before.
- Instead of conjugating a verb, adverbs (such as tomorrow, right now) and particles are used in Chinese to denote what English does with different verb tenses.
1. He will go to England tomorrow. tā míng tiān qù yīng guó 。 他 明 天 去 英 国 。 Subject Adverbs Verb Object 2. He went to England last year. tā qù nián qù yīng guó 。 他 去 年 去 英 国 。 Subject Adverbs Verb Object 3. He has been to England before. tā qù guò yīng guó 。 他 去 过 英 国 。 Subject Verb Particle Object
- Personally, I think Chinese grammar is much simpler if compared to English.
- There is always a fixed and single form in each word, regardless of time, number, person and etc of the subject.
- Due to the lack of inflectional morphology, Chinese grammar is mainly concerned with how words are arranged to form meaningful sentences.
- Happy learning and have a nice weekend.