Now You Can Speak Chinese! 5 Basic Chinese Grammars Every Beginner Must Know!

You have to understand the basic Chinese grammars to become fluent in Chinese. If you are a beginner Chinese learner, I would recommend starting with something short and simple, like this!

 

1. Basic Sentence Structure

Just like English, the basic form of Chinese sentence structure is Subject + Verb + Object.

Subject Verb Object
學生。
学生。
shì xué shēng。
I am a student.

2. No Verb ‘To Be’. All You Need is「是」!

Unlike English, there is no verb ‘to be’ rules in Chinese. All personal pronouns, from ‘I’ to ‘it’, use 是 (shì) as the linking verb (Yes, 是 does not change form at all). Apart from being regarded as the verb ‘to be’ in Chinese, you will often find the word 是in other contexts!

Subject Verb Object
學生。

学生。

xué shēng.

a student.

shì
I am
你/您
你/您
Nǐ/nín shì
You are
他/ 她/它
他/ 她/它
Tā/tā/tā shì
He/She/It is
我們

shì

are

學生。

学生。

xué shēng.

students.

我们
Wǒ men
We
你們
你们
Nǐ men
You
他們/她們/它們
他们/她们/它们
Tā men/tā men/tā men
They

Did you notice that there is no 您們 in Chinese?😉

 

3.「不」for the Opposite!

不 (bù), which means ‘no’ or ‘not’, is used to negate a verb. A kind reminder: 不 does not apply for all cases, there is another negative particle, 沒 (méi). 不 is placed before the verb, adjective, or preposition in a sentence.

Subject Negative Determiner Verb Object
學生。
学生。
shì xué shēng。
I am not a student.


4. 
「也」for Also/As Well/Too

Also/as well/too is expressed in Chinese as 也 (yě). As an adverb. 也 is written after the subject and before the verb. If there is a negative determiner, 也 is placed before the negative determiner.

Subject Also/As Well/Too Verb Object
學生。
学生。
shì xué shēng。
I am also a student.
Subject Also/As Well/Too Negative Determiner Verb Object
學生。
学生。
shì xué shēng。
I am not a student as well.


5. Asking Questions Using
「嗎」

Finally, you can use the question word 嗎 (ma) to ask almost any yes-no questions! You can convert your statement into a question, simply by placing it at the end of the sentence.

Subject Verb Object Question Word
學生 嗎?
学生 吗?
shì xué shēng ma?
Are you a student?

 

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